Stacy owns her own KIA cab and is proud of being an independent businesswoman, her own boss. After the shops had closed at noon in Papeete, I talked to the tourist office to see how much a cab would cost to go to Point Venus. I got a figure, walked to the cab stand and talked to Stacy. She said, “why limit yourself to Point Venus, we can go to the waterfalls, the blowhole and an overlook as well.”
Stacy speaks excellent English, her grandmother lives in Hawaii and she has spent a lot of time there. She points out that families are spread all across Polynesia. She also has family in New Zealand.
Point Venus and the bay it shelters are important sites in Tahitian history. Captain Cook set up his observatory here to measure the transit of Venus across the face of the sun in 1769. It was part of an effort to determine the distance between Earth and it’s sun. Observations were made at three points of the globe. A decade later Captain Bligh of the Bounty suffered his fate at the hands of Fletcher Christian in this bay and even later the London Mission Society established the first protestant church in Tahiti. Even though Tahiti is French it is prominently Protestant. The Tahitians have erected monuments to all three events which heap fulsome praise on Cook, Christian and the missionaries who helped Tahiti develop a written language but also did a lot to change the culture. With all these pro-British monuments I asked Stacy why everyone doesn’t speak English. She said, “Good Question.” The Polynesians didn’t have much say in who governed them but now, even though still French, they do control the monuments. The last time we were in Tahiti this park was closed for refurbishment.
Point Venus has a black volcanic sand beach and good surf so it was packed with people seeking relief from the city. It also has restaurants, trails and a place where kids can practice their soccer goal keeping.
After Point Venus we went to the three waterfalls. We only walked to one because of time. The story is that the chief had a beautiful daughter who he kept her well-guarded. But she did get to go out to gather medical herbs. She met a man, who turned out to be a wizard. He created the falls so they could hide behind the curtain of water and do whatever a beautiful girl and a wizard do.
The blowhole did not have enough storm surge to make it spectacular on this day but the sound of the waves entering the volcanic tube was deep and satisfying. And who doesn’t like a good overlook?
Stacy dropped us off at the ship. We had planned to go out later in the evening after a cultural show on board to visit Pepe’ete’s famous food trucks for dinner. We were in Tahiti until 5:30 AM before the short run to Moorea but fate had other plans for us.