1-28-2013 Day 24 Moorea, French Polynesia

Early this morning we arrived in Moorea, one of the most beautiful P1020296islands I’ve ever seen.  It is where many movies are made because of its sheer beauty and striking landscape.  Most of the south Pacific scenes from the 1984 movie The Bounty were filmed on Opunohua Bay here on this island.  The island is very green and lush, but very early this morning as we sailed in under this cloudy, somewhat hazy sky, it seemed almost eerie.

There are two major bays, and we docked in Cook’s Bay and tendered into the other bay, Opunohua (which is where Capt. Cook landed.)  Because of the reef and very shallow waters, it is tricky navigating into either bay and the captain has to thread a very fine needle.  It was interesting to watch him slowly make his way from the openP1000744 water into this bay.  Mt. Rotui is the striking mountain that separates Cook’s Bay from adjacent Opunohua Bay.

Doug and I each took different excursions today.  Because of the beauty of the island, Doug decided to take a ship’s photography tour.  He traveled in a 4×4 vehicle through the interior of the island, winding its way up the mountainside.  He went all over the island with a guide and took many wonderful pictures.  Here are a few:

P1000661 Overlooking the bay 

P1000752Mt. Rotui rising to 1,500 feet

P1000747From the top looking down into the bay

While Doug saw the island from land, I chose to experience it through the beautiful, clear, turquoise waters surrounding it.  I went with an independent tour (a member of Cruise Critic organized it.) 

We were welcomed to the island in a most Polynesian way! P1020335

Throughout the 3 Polynesian islands we visited, we saw both men and women in their native attire – and most with elaborate tattoos all over their bodies. 

 

We boarded a small boat that took us to our first snorkel stop where we DSCN0098saw lots and lots of sting rays and some black tipped sharks.  The sting rays gather here in hoards because the tour boat guides feed them.  There were lots of smaller boats here and thus lots of people.

After this stop, we continued on around the island to the lagoon where we would have more time to snorkel and also have our BBQ lunch.  It was a pretty area with a soft sandy beach.  However, there was a veryP1020395 strong current so it made it hard to snorkel even though we could stand up in the water.  The best thing we found to do was walk about 100 yards up the beach close to the reef, then out into the water there.  We would then float down on our tummies and pass over the many coral spots beneath us.  It was hard to take good pictures since we were moving along at a fairly good clip. 

I did mDSCN0144anage to put my feet down at this one spot where some friends showed me some sea cucumbers and a clam.  Most of the was camouflaged except for the dark blue zigzag area where its opening was.  It was a beautiful shade of dark blue.  You can see it where the hand is pointing!

We were ready for lunch after all that snorkeling.  We had chicken and steak which we watched being cooked out on a grill along with rice and a cold pasta salad.  They had a great fruit punch – you could also have it spiked with rum. 

One last time in the water before taking off, our guide said he would get some stingrays to come around so we could feed them.  But he told us “don’t pee in the water because then they won’t come.”  I had never heard that before but it’s good to know if you don’t want stingrays hanging around you!  With a little food, we had five huge stingrays swimming all around us, on us, through us, etc.  I was able to touch one without and they do feel so soft, almost like velvet.  I made the mistake of trying to touch him under his head and he thought I hadDSCN0244 food.  I felt this strong sucking sensation (and was glad they don’t have teeth!) and when he stopped, realizing I was not food, I actually checked my hand to make sure all my fingers were still there.  Won’t be doing that again!  Including a picture even though it’s out of focus (did not reset my underwater lens) just to capture the moment.

On the way back to our tender, I took lots and lots of landscape pictures and water pictures.  I don’t want to forget how turquoise and beautiful this water is – even though the pictures don’t do it justice.  I’ve never seen anything like it except in this part of the Pacific.  The Caribbean is a close second, but not as clear or the same color of blue. 

Back on board the ship, Doug and I had dinner with Barb & Charlie plus another couple we have met on the ship, Lynn & Terry.  We had a “trial” dinner to see if we might not begin a new dining arrangement with a new table of six.  It was such a fun dinner with lots of lively conversation – so it looks like we’ll be changing our dining table soon.

We were both too tired to want to go to the ship’s evening entertainment or the movie, so we crashed early tonight – before 9:30 p.m.  I chalk it up to all that great outdoor activity today! 

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