A Travellerspoint blog

French Polynesia

Moorea

We wandered a bit then picked up a taxi for a drive around the island.

sunny 25 °C

We closed the dance floor last night and planned on a laid be pack start, but when I awoke to such a beautiful site and the tenders already going I wanted to go to. I went to get tender tickets but ran into Tankia and she said she would just put us on a tender when we were ready. I don't really feel sorry for jumping the queue.

We wandered for a bit. Hid a geocache for future cruisers and then stood outside a Catholic Church listening to the wonderful singing. Sigh.

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We were thinking about renting kayaks or going to a beach, but we had a lot of sun the day before. Albert's tour seem to be the big company, but they are all big buses or boats. Then we heard a quiet voice offering tours for a small van for six or eight. We decided this was our driver and it was only minutes until we had six people. I think we went with six as one of the fellows was quite big and would have made eight a tight squeeze.

Edgar Allen Poe was our driver. Okay, maybe not, but he finally admitted his real name was Edgar. We managed to see a lot even though it is Sunday and the Juice factory was closed. The views were amazing. We saw Cooks bay where Mel Gibson's Bounty was filmed. We saw Bali Hi where some of South Pacific was filmed.

The island population is about double that of Bora Bora which is 9,000. I think Bora Bora wins hands down for the water, but I think Moorea wins for dramatic valleys and peaks. It rains about ten feet per year here making it much greener. The beaches here require surf shoes because of the stone fish except perhaps at the Sofitel Hotel beach. Their beach hits rent at up two $2000 a night yet we saw some nice places that rent for so out 10 a night. Okay, they were not over the water with glass floors.

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There was time to do another tour, but we are sitting on our balcony watching the beautiful scenery and the ship is swing back and forth giving us a changing view.

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Posted by Mari Anne 19:18 Archived in French Polynesia Comments (0)

Bora Bora

Snorkel adventure!!!!

sunny 28 °C

I do not have enough words to describe today's wonderful day. The island is more what you would expect from a tropical paradise. We were booked on a snorkelling adventure. We were picked up by speed boat, eight of us and we headed across the bay. The colours of the water change from spot to spot with so many amazing shades of blue, it is unbelievable. We are flying on this boat and we settle ourselves at the front and let the warm wind whip our hair around.

Our first stop is about 20 minutes away at the edge of the reef. We are snorkeled up and we must follow Manuelle as he guides us through channels in the reef. I have seen more in five minutes than I have ever seen before. The lips of the clams are turquoise, then some royal blue, some green, lavender, and other shades.

DSCN0199.jpgWe see the hidey hole of an octopus, but he does not come out to play with us today. There is a sea cucumber the size so a large bolster pillow for the couch. We see a poisonous crown of thorns! The water is so clear....we are thrilled. He leads us through another channel and we must go single file and stay close to the surface. We have not seen a soul since we left.

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Stop two is the other side of the lagoon where we left the ship. We are alone here for a good bit while we snorkel. The challenge is to find a manta ray and follow it. I just get to the deeper water and there are two below me. The larger one leaves and the smaller one circles around beneath me. It heads away and it follow. Soon the are two, then three and then four circling around. They are huge and graceful. It is truley amazing.

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Stop three is more crowded but there is room to spread out. We have a chunk of bread that the fish smell and aggressively go after it. Some of their nips on my hands actually hurt, sort of, well not really, but they can't be ignored. There are so many fish and so many colours. We are warned not to put our feet down to protect the coral, but also to protect ourselves from the stone fish.

We take a very bumpy spin out into open ocean looking for whales, but the season is early and nothing is spotted. Time to head in. 8-(

We stop for a bite at a local cafe, the Aloe Cafe, to grab some internet that comes free with the food. The food was not seasoned at all, but dad was thrilled to eat Mahi Mahi and had a local beer.

Posted by Mari Anne 19:18 Archived in French Polynesia Comments (0)

Papeete

We wandered around before joining a group on an around the Island tour.

sunny 26 °C

We got off the ship early and walked along the sea wall as far as we were able. We snagged one geocache and passed on the other two. One had not been found in a while and the other was placed in front of a property with three barking dogs. Most people have not enjoyed that one or just left it once the dogs start.

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My first Impression is that the water has a slight green tint rather than pure blue. Papeete is a city, small compared to ours but big here. It is fairly clean right here, but gently rustic. Sidewalks, roads and pathways are higgly-piggly. There are major trees growing in the center of the sidewalks some so big you must step off the sidewalks to get around. There is a major road that runs just a bit in from the coast line. There are crosswalks, they have painted lines, but no lights. We did find one place to cross with a traffic light, other than that you are on you own.

Paul Gauguin brought Tahiti to the worlds attentions with his paintings of this place. There is a memorial for Bligh, a War memorial, an interesting Pearl Museum and an interesting mix of Colonial, modern and traditional Tahitian. There are the ruins of what must have been a beautiful building that burned near the waterfront.

We joined the group who had two vans booked. When we got to our vehicle it turned out to be one 45 passenger van with others on board. William the owner was not there and the guide was apologetic, but was only the guide. The circle tour started off with the attitude that we would have a good time anyway. Lisette our guide was good! The second strike for the bus company was there was no mic so those at the back could not hear what Lisette had to say.

At one point the bus stopped as nine (we counted them) gendarmes on motor bikes went by. Lisette was puzzled about this. Part way around the island we learned why. The were doing random checks on drivers and our bus was one of the victims. Our driver passed the screening, but Lisette was concerned for a while.

We stopped at a micro tiny botanical garden where we bought fresh coconut milk, then had our shells cracked open to scoop out the soft yummy insides.

Another stop was the grotto which was pretty cool. The ferns hung from the roof and water dripped constantly. Lisette said the water was cold, but it was pretty warm to us.

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We also stopped at an incredibly tall waterfall. Right now it was not too wide as there was no rain but it is something like 900 feet tall. At that stop the bus next to us burst a hose. We ended up taking along 22 of them. It was very cosy. We also stopped at a view point. Because of the delays we were at the view point for sunset. See, there is always a good side.

Posted by Mari Anne 19:18 Archived in French Polynesia Tagged bus waterfall excursion drive grotto tahiti Comments (0)

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