For over 30 days we sailed aboard the MS Marina embarking in Tahiti and disembarking at Port Canaveral, Florida. It was yet another epic journey, but felt like three separate trips strung together. First there was the voyage across the Pacific, including four ports in French Polynesia, Pitcairn Island, Rapa Nui, better known as Easter Island, and ending in Lima, Peru. This first part of the journey took eighteen days.
The islands are beautiful and the distances vast: it took ten days to sail from the eastern edge of French Polynesia to Lima, across some of the most remote ocean in the world. We did not see another ship, aircraft, or even contrail for days at a time. Going ashore in Pitcairn Island, where the descendants of the HMS Bounty now reside, is nearly impossible as they only have a tiny dock. Instead, a majority of the 34 residents on the island took their longboat out to see us, while we circled around their small island.
Visiting Easter Island has been a dream of mine for many years, perhaps after reading Kon Tiki in high school. Unfortunately, the surf was so high that we were not able to launch our tenders and go ashore. Other than the seas, the weather that day was wonderful and the Captain circumnavigated the island as close as he dared. So, we at least got to see the quarry and a number of Moai.
While most of the passengers left the ship in Lima, there were a number that were continuing on for the next leg. Of that group, there were four couples, including ourselves, that would take a four-day overland trip to Machu Pichu and rejoin the ship in Ecuador. It was a challenging trip with many hours of flying, driving, riding trains, and climbing stairs/rocks/hills. Our base of operations was Cusco, where the altitude is over 11,000 feet. We never really had time to acclimate, so it was a bit tough to move around. The good news is that Machu Pichu is actually much lower (~8,000 feet) and you feel much better while you're there. After four days, we took two flights and a four hour bus ride through the poorest part of Ecuador to return to the ship.
The next part of the journey was along the South American coast, through the Panama Canal, along the Caribbean coast of Central America, stopping in: Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, Mexico, and on to Miami. After returning to the ship in Miami, we were told that due to a really strong storm in the Atlantic, our itinerary would have us stop in Port Canaveral the next day, to let the storm pass, skip our port call in Norfolk, and arrive in New York late the following day. Since we had an early flight out of New York, we opted to get off the ship in Port Canaveral and have a 30 minute drive home! Thus our epic journey came to a sudden end.
As always, we met lots of wonderful people along the way. Travel is very much a shared experience. And so I share these photos with all my viewers. I've divided the photos into two collections: South Pacific & Latin America
Stay tuned for another wonderful journey this summer.