A week in the land of warm welcomes, dream waves and endless adventure
By Tyler Fox
It was the last day of our vacation and all eyes were on the big Tahitian man named Milton. As we bobbed in his small tin boat on an aquamarine lagoon, he recounted to us the legend of mighty warrior Pai. “BOOOOM!” and “CRSSSSHHH!” were some of the sounds he bellowed out over the South Pacific, punctuating a storyline told in broken English, French and Tahitian. When the epic tale was over, our host looked around at us wide-eyed Westerners. Unanimously, we clapped and cheered, and a cheek-to-cheek grin lit up Milton’s face as he pushed on the throttle and our boat sped further down the rugged coast.
Tahiti is paradise. Upon arriving at our little boogaloo we were greeted with a double rainbow and mesmerizing mountain spires that rose up from the tranquil, turquoise lagoons below. We explored its warm waters and discovered schools of technicolor tropical fish. We swam with blacktip reef sharks and spotted eagle rays, and I came face to face with a very frightening giant moray eel. One afternoon, while we were out on kayaks, we witnessed a mother humpback whale nurse her newborn calf to the surface to breathe. On land, we hiked to a freshwater cave and nervously swam out into the shallow darkness. We learned how to shuck coconuts and feasted on the meat inside. To top it all off, I got to surf Teahupo’o, my childhood dream wave.
Although we were completely awed by the nature that surrounded us, what made the trip truly special was the warmth and generosity of the people we met. The Tahitians are big, happy people, smiling and laughing at all times—always quick with a wave and an “ia orana” (yo-rah-nah, or “hello”) when passing by. “Maururu” (mah-roo-roo), which means “thank you,” seemed to us to be their favorite word, and exemplifies the culture’s general outlook on life. We made friends with a Brazilian couple and spent an afternoon drinking local brew and dreaming of ways to buy property on the island. That evening we watched the sunset turn the sky from orange to pink to lavender. Life moves slowly in Tahiti, but our week in paradise flew by in the blink of eye.
With that, we extend a big, warm-hearted maururu to all of our new friends. See you next year!