Meditations on Moorea


One traveler rediscovers the beauty and culture of the South Pacific.

By Amy Roe

“I shut my eyes in order to see.”
― Paul Gauguin

Not long ago, a rare traveling exhibition of Gauguin’s paintings came to an art museum near my home in Seattle. When my husband and I went to see it, the vivid colors, pastoral landscapes, and portraits of majestic women reminded me that the French Post-Impressionist painted Tahiti both with his eyes and his imagination. More than merely documenting Tahiti, Gauguin, an outsider, interpreted it.

I can relate. For as long as I can remember, I have been obsessed with French Polynesia. Before I was married, I lived in Fort Lauderdale and frequented the Mai-Kai, a sprawling Polynesian-themed restaurant with flickering torches, tikis, and waterfalls, a weekly floor show of dancers, and a dining room named Moorea, after the Tahitian island.

In the Mai-Kai’s dimly lit lounge, I nursed cocktails festooned with purple Phalaenopsis orchids and dreamed of setting foot on the real Moorea. But what was it that I really dreamed of, when I dreamed of this faraway island? Years later, when my husband and I traveled to Tahiti for our honeymoon, I was determined to find out.

This is an excerpt only. To read this article in its entirety, pick up the current issue of Porthole Cruise Magazine.

Let us know your comments!

Porthole Cruise and Travel Magazine is a leading cruise and travel publication covering cruise news, ship reviews, the cruise lifestyle and more.