Tag Archives: moorea

Day 14 – A Beach on a Motu

Friday was a beautiful day. We started with taking pictures of the sunrise, which meant a walk to the end of the pier at the resort and watching for the sun behind Mt. Rotui and some clouds, so it was not exactly the same as other sunrises we’ve watched, but it beat yesterday when there was nothing but cloud and rain.

We rented a kayak for our second attempt to cross the lagoon channel and get to the motus.  Success this time.  The kayak responded much nicer than the outrigger canoe.  It still took some work, but in general it was a much more positive experience.  Of the two motus, most of the property, meaning beaches, are privately owned, so we had to be careful where we landed.  We ended up on a not quite pristine white sand beach, instead pulling up on some rocks that had sand covered with pine needles.  That’s okay, we were there for the snorkelling more than the beach.

day14-motubeach

The snorkelling was good, but by this time we had figured out that our best experiences were by far in Bora Bora.  This was still fun, but after maybe an hour we had had enough.  After that time we still hadn’t seen any stingrays, but we had been out to where the lagoon meets the reef.  The current was very strong there, and the waves crashing into the reef meant that we couldn’t even think about trying to see what the water was like outside the reef.

After a break we decided to try to find some stingrays.  We had luck only because we creeped into a tour group who had a guy leading the tour that was feeding them.  We spent maybe 10 minutes with them, and had a chance to touch a couple.  They are very gentle creatures and it certainly put a smile on my face to swim with them.

We collected our kayak and headed across to the other motu that has a small restaurant on it, Coco Beach.  It was our best meal of the entire vacation to date.  I had shrimp in a curry sauce, and Sandi had grilled saumon in a vanilla sauce.  Included with each plate was rice, fried banana, pineapple, papaya and mango on a bed of butter lettuce.  Sandi’s pineapple was grilled.  We pretty much didn’t need to eat for the rest of the day after that!

We spent the rest of the day on the beach of Les Tipaniers after that, each of us having a nap.  It was very hot out, right into the evening.  The best place to try and cool off was the beach where there was a nice wind.

day14-tipaniersbeach

To close the evening we took pictures of the sunset, along with about 20-30 other people, and around 8:30 took an attempt at taking some pictures of the stars.  There has been enough light pollution everywhere we’ve been, be it from the moon or just lights along the beach, that there hasn’t been a good opportunity to see the stars or take photos.  While this was our best opportunity, it wasn’t ideal.  We probably would have been better off walking to a spot where there was little to no light to take pictures.

day14-sunset

All things considered however, another good day in French Polynesia.  Tomorrow we have more than half the day on Moorea before taking the ferry back to Tahiti to board our flight home.  We plan to rent a car and drive around the island.

Index of all posts of our French Polynesia trip October 2016

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Day 13 – Moorea 4×4 Tour

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.

Index of all posts of our French Polynesia trip October 2016

Day 12 – Bora Bora to Moorea

We were getting picked up for our airport transport at 10:10 this morning, but we missed out on the manta rays the other day, so we decided to give it another shot and arranged for an 7:30 pick-up by Vincent for a 2 hour outing.  We swam again for an hour but unfortunately no manta sighting.  He thought maybe they had gone somewhere to give birth, which causes them to change location for a short time.  However, the views in that area are great.  It’s quite deep but with huge coral reefs – very interesting to look at and lots of schools of fish going by.  My highlight (Sandi here) was 2 tiny little orange stripy fish, about 1 inch long at most, who stuck right by my mask for about 5 minutes.

We got back, had quick showers and were off on our travels to Moorea.  Bus to the ferry dock, boat to the airport, 45 minute flight and then about a half hour to our new place.

day12-airport

Cloudy day with a bit of rain.  We dropped our stuff in the room (hut) and went to get lunch before they stopped serving for the afternoon.  Then we took bikes to a roadside fruit stand and a little grocery store to get some supplies.  These bikes look newer than the ones we’ve had previously, but don’t even have hand brakes.  We had to get used to pedalling backwards to stop, like we haven’t done since our bikes had huge banana seats on them when we were 8 years old!

day12-bungalow

We had a quick snorkel here but it was nothing compared to yesterday.  There is quite a current out front and the water is cooler than Bora Bora.  There is a better spot that we plan to take a canoe to tomorrow.  The forecast isn’t great for tomorrow but better for Friday, so we plan to do some touring up some mountains (not on bikes with no gears!) to get the good views of the 2 main bays here.  Not sure yet if we’ll join a tour or rent a car.

Index of all posts of our French Polynesia trip October 2016