James Norman Hall

One of the highlights of our visit to Papeete, Tahiti was a tour of the home of one of my favorite boyhood authors, James Norman Hall. Mr. Hall – along with Charles Nordhoff – wrote “Mutiny on the Bounty” , “Men Against the Sea” and “Pitcairn’s Island.” Cracking good reads, all of them.

James Norman Hall was also a World War 1 flying ace and a veteran of the trenches before that – although he was an American he initially enlisted in the British army posing as a Canadian. Later on he joined the Lafayette Escadrille and flew with Eddie Rickenbacker. Quite a guy.

Mr. Hall lived in Tahiti from 1920 until his death in 1951. His son Conrad Hall was a famous Hollywood cinematographer who won three Academy Awards.

Hall’s former home is still decorated as he would have liked it, although the display of all his medals and uniforms probably wouldn’t have met with his approval. There are also copies of the screenplays for the Bounty novels. He worked on those as well in the 1930s.

On our tour we visited Point Venus on Matavai Bay where Captain Cook and later the Bounty’s crew landed on Tahiti. Here is some of the black volcanic sand you see on the island beaches. Lots of land crabs around here as well.

And here is a view of Matavai Bay looking back toward Papeete.

French Polynesia being what it is, all the shops closed at noon on Saturday – in spite of the fact there was a whole cruise ship full of possible customers. The pearl stores stayed open for a while, as did this market near the ship. But that was it as far as shopping went. I guess they don’t need the business.


Published by Ray MacDonald

Ray MacDonald is a retired food scientist who lives in Almonte, ON.
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