We were docked for the day. Some went shopping; some stayed on board and grabbed a last bit of sun. Dinner was full of goodbyes, “let’s keep in touch”, and hugs around. We had final drinks at the Tropical Bar; some peeled off to hit the Papeete clubs. I packed.

While I packed, I thought about the ten magical days I had just drifted through. How to concisely tell about the Constellations pushing each other out of the way in the dark night sky, with no lights on the stern deck to dim your eyes to the miracle; the warm sun in the morning; the clear, particle free air, and the deep blue of the water? How to illuminate the camaraderie not to be found on the bigger cruise ships?

Perhaps, I can put it in a nugget. The ship you see here is the Paul Gauguin, one of the most luxurious ships afloat.

I’ve been fortunate to cruise aboard her twice (Do you call a ship named Paul her?), and both times were an opulent treat. She was in Cook’s Bay as we sailed past. As I took the photo, I thought if someone offered me to trade ships for the rest of the trip, I would refuse.

There is no place like Tahiti, and no vessel like Star Flyer. The sum adds up to way more than the whole.

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