South Pacific Islands
S O U T H∙P A C I F I C
T A H I T I , S A M O A , T O N G A , F I J I
It’s a rule that after you get married you need to head to an island in the middle of no-where with lush jungle and pristine waters. Well, we couldn’t make up our mind on the island, so we did one better… island hopping through the South Pacific.
When it rains, it pours. Literally. Yes, even on your honeymoon in Tahiti! Of course, we still made the most of our short time here.
On the main island, we checked out the food trucks where we tried poisson cru, chased some waterfalls and unimpressive blowholes, and visited the Papatee Market.
In an attempt to escape the rain, we took a ferry over to the beautiful island of Moorea. We weren't able to swim with the whales in Australia, so we hoped this could be our chance (try #2)!
The day started at a sand bar where we swam with stingrays and sharks! It was really cool being surrounded by them. Danny was a little more comfortable than Hailey though…
Next, our boat was in search of the humpback whales migrating South to Antarctica. The weather took a turn and the rain starting coming down. Unfortunately, it only got worse from here. Side-ways rain and massive swells. But we didn’t give up. We spent 8 hours circling the island keeping an eye out for that tell-tale spout of water.
We didn't see one whale throughout the entire day. We did see spinner dolphins though... Silver lining!
Next time we come to Tahiti, we'll skip the main island and go straight to Moorea and Bora Bora.
Luckily, we had better luck with the weather in Samoa. Our hotel was on the beach and we took advantage of the sun, swim-up pool bar, and Danny's need for relaxation (he usually can't stand the beach for more than 20 minutes). It didn't take long to realize the lifestyle in Samoa is very relaxed, so we fit right in.
After some R&R, we picked up our rental car and explored the island. The To Sua Ocean Trench was our favorite spot and we basically had the place to ourselves. There were nice gardens and falas around the trench and we ended up spending more time here than expected.
Our next few stops didn't work out as planned. After doing research on Samoa, we never read anything about having to pay to park at the beach or to see the waterfalls. Both attempts, a young kid came up to us asking for money. It was a little off putting and we didn't feel comfortable giving a five-year-old $10-$20, so we passed on these places.
To get to our next destination, Tonga, we first had to take a 20-minute flight to America Samoa. It was a ten seat plane, including the pilot! When we weighed our bags, we were also required to stand on the scale so they could strategically seat us on the plane. Hailey ended up sitting co-pilot and controlled the air conditioning on the flight.
When we landed it started to rain, so we were happy to be on the ground and get on our next plane that would take us to Tonga. However, we learned it would actually be the same, small aircraft, but a two hour flight this time - WHAT!? Hailey was terrified as she looked out the window to see the wings frozen with ice while Danny slept on the flight (how!?).
Two hours later, we landed safely in Tonga, phew!
Tonga. The moment has finally come - swimming with humpback whales. This was our final chance and we were scheduled for two full days. Both were successful and we had the time of our lives!!
Watching the whales breach from the boat, heightened the anticipation on our first day.
We had a little more excitement in the water. The first day we headed out with Deep Blue Diving, which is run by a local Tongan family.
At one point, the mama whale was sleeping, but the baby calf was awake and wanting to play. It followed our group for ten minutes, swimming around us and showing off.
It even gave Hailey a little ride - terrifying and exhilarating, she couldn't stop laughing, but was also so scared - even the calves are huge!
We stopped at an island for lunch and had some time to enjoy the beach. It was a nice break from the boat, as the waves were choppy. We couldn't have asked for a better experience in Tonga!
Our last stop in the South Pacific Islands was Fiji!
We hate to admit it, because we never do this, but we didn't leave our hotel for the four days we were there. We splurged and stayed at The Hilton where we had the true honeymoon experience. A room upgrade, massages, drinks at the beach, naps at the pool, and nice dinners at the property's restaurants.
I guess this means we'll just have to come back another time...