This is my photo journal from a recent adventure to French Polynesia with my best of friends. I made this mostly for our own personal memoir, but I also hope we can inspire others who see it to travel more, explore life’s boundaries, and spend more time with loved ones.
I love the effect travel has had on my life and am very grateful that we’ve been able to make it a tradition : Tahiti Adventure 1 /// Tahiti Adventure 2 /// Tahiti Adventure 3 /// Tahiti Adventure 4 /// ..and now Tahiti Adventure 5.
I’m much more visual than analytical so there’s really not much information besides my images. If you have any questions or would just like to get in contact, here is my best info: Garrett Gee
Here is a movie I made as a special keepsake to help us remember the adventure:
The adventure began in cold cold Utah where we road tripp’d it through Vegas to Los Angeles where we hung out for the evening with my family that lives there before flying out of LAX.
So they call the boat that takes you between the cruise and the islands a Tender. We called it a Tinder. At least I did. #idontswipe
We biked around Bora Bora. Excuse me.. we cruised :)
The end of this path leads to, perhaps, most possibly, quite certainly, my favorite spot on the planet. Since my first time there 3 yrs ago : https://vimeo.com/11223377
Branson showing off for this girl in Bora Bora.
So this pool was amazing. It had crystal clear water that was warm like a bath, it had a sandy bottom, and is called the Pacific Ocean ;)
Our first dive in Bora Bora. It is a 35-50 ft dive which is relatively shallow compared to the others, but I love it. The shallow depth keeps the lighting bright and the colorful fish and coral vibrant.
So Bora Bora kind of looks like Neverland. Or perhaps Neverland kind of looks like Bora Bora.
Most every island in French Polynesia looks and feels like an abandoned island (in the very best way). You feel like you’ve just arrived to your private escape that has yet to be touched by common man.
Jessica just chilling in the “deep end”. She could have walked another 100 yards before the water level would even reach her belly button.
If you could see my face better you would see fear. If you could hear my heart thumping.. again, fear. There is something about diving into 100+ ft deep water where all you can see around you in every direction is blue. It terrifies yet excites me at the same time. I’m not sure if I keep my eyes wide open to lookout for sharks or to take in all the beautiful blue. Either way, I live for moments like this. Here’s a bit of video footage from this moment:
Seriously, one of the hardest things for me is to stay in the boat as we cruise through these gorgeous waters. They just look so friendly, colorful, and even tasty. I imagine a taste like daiquiri ice. I just want to dive in face first with my mouth wide open. Seriously.
This is my favorite travel companion. Which is convenient since we’re heavenly married.
This is one of my personal favorite shots from the trip. I love how it shows everything from the sky, to the water surface, and then even the bubbles from the scuba divers that are below the shot.
On the island of Fakarava, Branson and I stayed on board while the “double mint twins” (the nickname our wives were given by other passengers) went for a duo dive together.
I wake up for every sunrise (5am ish) and stay up for every sunset (8pm ish). That doesn’t sound like much but after day after day of hard play, the thing that gets my exhausted body out of bed are breathtaking views like these.
Who would I be without Jessica? Just another messi-haired Filipino :/
Greetings from Bora Bora! Here’s a 1 minute glimpse into life on the heavenly island of Bora Bora:
I really love the way this shot turned out. I was experimenting with some new camera equipment. A new Canon 7D and an SPL Underwater Housing kit. This shot was taken near a private motu in Tahaa. We shot both still images as well as video : http://youtu.be/qIIQPD0yMHw
Have you ever heard of a green flash? Have you ever seen one? How about a unicorn? Me neither. Almost every day ended with us enjoying the sun set. Just as the sun was about to take its final peak over the water line, we would stare carefully waiting to see a rumored “green flash”.
The water off the near side of this dock measured maybe 3 ft deep. Off the far side it quickly dropped into deep blue nothingness.
Jess is at her giddiest when she sees dolphins. This pic was taken as the ms/ Paul Gauguin was entering the channel into the atoll of Rangiroa. About a dozen bottle nose dolphins came up along-side, riding the ship’s wake, jumping out of the water right below our balconies!!!
A long way up. A long way down.
Up top, it’s the sun deck of the Paul Gauguin, a favorite gathering place. I’ve had the blessed opportunity to experience a wide variety of cruise lines. Paul Gauguin is my favorite. It is big enough to have the perks and benefits of most any luxury cruise liner, but it is small enough to have an intimate and relaxing atmosphere. By the end of the cruise, it seemed like every passenger was a familiar face and a new friend. This was our third time on board. We we’re pleasantly astounded when each and every crew member remembered our faces, our names, and even our baby girl back home, Dorothy Seven! Customer service at its very finest.
Just grateful to be..
Shelly being awesome Shelly..
Sharks scare me every time. Every time. But after a certain amount of time in the water with them I’m able to really see and appreciate how beautiful and amazing they are.
Just remixing something that has heretofore been mixed : https://vimeo.com/11223377
About to swim with the sharks of Moorea.
The Double Mint Twins, Jessica and Shelly enjoying the sun in Fakarava.
Alright, let me do my best to explain one of my favorite moments in life. I absolutely love taking people to swim with sharks for their first time. More specifically, I love the part when the boat comes to a stop, the person knows they are moments from getting in the water, and they see their first big dark moving shadow..their first shark!
“Jess, the lighting is really amazing right now. Just keep chatting while I take 100 photos.”
Soaking it in. Literally, soaking it all in. #spf50
The Paul Gauguin in Moorea.
Watching the sun set as we sail away from Bora Bora.
French Polynesia is such that the Paul Gauguin cruise ship doesn’t have a port to dock at each island. Rather, it will drop anchor in the bay or off the shore. I love it. Every stop you are constantly surround by “post-card-esque” backdrops.
Just a picture of my future home. The one you see there with the awesome front yard, back yard, side yard, under yard.. ;)
People kept asking us if we were on our honeymoons together. They thought Shelly and Jessica were twin sisters on their honeymoons together with their new husbands. Or they thought that I was a local Tahitian and that’s how we were able to travel French Polynesia so much. Little did they know.. Little did they know.. #mormons #marriedyoung #havekids #havecompanies #havesavings #imhalfwhitetoo
In Rangiroa we went on a drift dive. It was our first drift dive. We just floated with the powerful current. It took us through a channel that was filled with thousands of fish, sharks, dolphins, rays, and everything of the sort. Have you seen the movie Finding Nemo where they catch the EAC (Eastern Australian Current) “highway” ..yea.. just like that.
“Sky diving” into another world.
Black tip sharks of Moorea.
Every night at dinner it was a game to see how late Shelly could stay awake. I think this pic was taken between our appetizing soup and our refresher sorbet.
Shelly about to demonstrate gymnastics on a stand up paddle board in Moorea.
Jessica looking intently for her bottle nosed dolphins of Rangiroa.
Shelly and Branson off to their first ever scuba dive. They got certified just weeks before the trip. Fortunately their first dive was in the warm crystal waters of Bora Bora. Unfortunately their first dive was in the warm crystal waters of Bora Bora. #toughtobeat
How incredible is it that a place like this really does exist. Above the surface you have these beautiful towering peaks of green vegetation. Below the surface are canyons and hills of coral, sharks, turtles, and other wildlife.
Waiting for our boat in Bora Bora. Hoping it doesn’t come anytime soon so I can play in this gorgeous water.
Our last dive of the trip was in Moorea. Everyone was able to dive but me. I had waken up sick and even though I choked down spoonfuls of freshly diced raw garlic, I was too sick to dive. Luckily, I was still able to join them in the water, I just stayed at the surface to avoid too much pressure on my sick sick head. It ended up being quite the blessing in disguise. Because my new SPL Water Housing (pictured above) can only go to 35 ft deep I hadn’t been able to take it on any dives thus far. So this time, I just chilled up top with my camera. I wasn’t sure how much I’d see, but I think God decided to bless my sick soul. I was surrounded by sharks and fish the entire time and I even saw some turtles, dolphins, and a 6ft barracuda!
Yoga in the front. Paul Gauguin in the back.
Shelly and Branson calling over the sharks like they’re puppies. #atfirstiwasafriadiwaspetrified
Tahiti is the new black.
One time a few trips back, together with Captain Morgan, we buried a hidden treasure. A bottle filled with secret messages of priceless information. Once again, we visited and uncovered that treasure for our 3rd time. As is tradition, we added to it and reburied it for future explorers to discover. #apirateslifeforme
Mermaids in Tahaa.
The stars aligned for this shot. Literally. I was trying to get a picture of the boat and the beautiful backdrop when all of a sudden an amazing black tip shark swam right into the shot.
One of my favorite things about traveling with the Hadfields is just how nutzo they are as well about health. They eat clean and they exercise like maddd. Everyday, no matter our location or itinerary, we were able to workout at least once (outside of our days’ activities of swimming, kayaking, diving, cycling, etc).
Cool moms :)
We’re already working hard to fill our Adventure Fund Jar for Tahiti Adventure 6!
Every trip is different. I’m not sure what I’ll put together for Tahiti Adventure 6 but if you think you may be interested be sure and stay in touch somehow and I’ll keep you posted as details come together : Keep in touch!
Really though, traveling isn’t easy. It’s expensive. It’s time consuming. It interrupts important things like jobs, and plans, and routines. Many people don’t want that sort of interruption in their lives. Especially at a young age. To travel takes hard work, savings, and then even on top of that, frugal creativity. But for me, it all begins with mindset. It is my personal opinion that when the WANT gets stronger, the HOW gets easier.
Tahiti Adventure 5 was very special. Something I will never forget. Thank you Jessica. Thank you Branson. Thank you Shelly.
So, where to next?