Cloudy and rainy to start our first full day on Moorea. The rain lasted off and on through the morning so we just had a lazy start to the day. Sitting around finally got to us, so put a plan together for an activity. Let’s call it Plan A. We have access to free outrigger canoes at Les Tipaniers, and there are two small motus across from the resort that are reputed to have the best snorkelling in Moorea, so we decided to use the canoe to get to the motus for the middle part of the day. Oh, and there’s a bit of a current between where we were and where we wanted to go.
Paddling that canoe was an exercise in frustration with the current. It wouldn’t take three strokes and we’d almost be being pushed in a complete 360. The trick was to try and get the nose of the canoe directly into the current. Far easier said than done. Finally though, we reached the point where we were told we could cross the deeper section of the lagoon. We were warned to watch for boats as there is a fair amount of traffic, and I could see one in the distance, but we started across anyway. The boat ended up being a police boat, and ended up throwing a fairly large wake that we didn’t navigate as well as we could have (see details above!). What happened next was straight out of a sit-com.
We rode the first wave okay, but the second one was larger and the angle of the canoe put enough stress on the outrigger that it broke, swamping the canoe and putting both of us into the lagoon. I think the three guys on the police boat had a bit of a chuckle, but they very nicely came back and helped us out of the water, and towed the canoe back to the resort. When Sandi went to report the incident she was told the canoes were fairly new, but that the current is a problem for many guests.
Okay, so Plan B. We decided to rent a car and drive around the island. One of the top things I wanted to do on Moorea is to go to a lookout point between the two bays on the North of the island, called the Belvedere. I originally thought that was some kind of formal name, but it turns out that it is a common term and there is a belvedere on many of the islands. Sandi got rental information on a couple of different options, so we talked about it, decided on one, and she headed back to confirm the rental. No dice – all cars from all agencies were already rented for the day. One would think that they might mention that when giving information about rates, but maybe that’s just me.
So Plan C. We decided to see if we could join a 4×4 tour for the afternoon. Good news finally, there was room on one! But not the one we’d originally decided on. The one we ended up on was maybe a little less formal than some of the polished tours around here shall we say. The comment from the lady at the front desk when Sandi asked if this tour included the stops that the one we wanted did was, “they all do the same stuff” with a bit of a shrug. I guess there’s only so much to see and do on a small island.
And we agreed before checking on plan C was that Plan D would be to just sit and drink all the rest of the day.
I am happy to report that the 4×4 tour was great. We shared it with a retired couple from the south of France who could speak a bit of English. The young lady running the tour was Tahitian, and did a good job sharing information about the various spots we stopped. The tour included, in this order:
- Magic Mountain
- Belvedere lookout
- Marae Temples
- Pineapple Farm
- Manutea juice and spirits factory
- Moorea Tropical Garden
The highlights were Magic Mountain and the Moorea Tropical Garden. The Belvedere was good too, but it wasn’t a spectacularly sunny day, so that took something away for me. The pineapple farm was cool too.
The evening concluded with a very nice meal at the restaurant at Les Tipaniers.