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The blue line is our path on the Moorea day trip on 9/26/14

The blue line is our path on the Moorea day trip on 9/26/14

As I mentioned last time, while we were on Moorea we took a 4X4 tour of the island. After seeing the photos and doing some research, this rapidly rose to the top of my “must do” list, particularly since the majority of tour time would be spent aboard ship. It was a good call. On our first morning we walked directly across the street to Alberts Tours and hopped into the open back of a Land Rover on facing benches where we would spend the next few hours bouncing around the island on sometimes dicey roads seeing the sights. First stop was the Hilton where we picked up 3 other couples for the morning: a retired couple from Michigan, newlyweds from New York and a young couple from Australia. (Interesting note: of the 6 people we picked up, 4 were chemical engineers.) The map above shows the path we took that day. We drove by Cook’s Bay and Opunohu Bay, drove to the top of Magic Mountain and the Belvedere, saw a bunch of agriculture, stopped at a pearl store and learned a whole bunch. Random fact: Captain Cook did not anchor in Cook’s Bay but in Opunoho Bay. So much for logic.

All in all we had a great day that was totally worth the investment in time and money. I took some beautiful pictures and spent an enjoyable morning with some interesting fellow travelers.

Patti says:

Yeah, it was a fun tour and we learned a lot. For instance, if you are prone to motion sickness, take Dramamine beforehand. This was a lesson learned the hard way. I was unable to enjoy the beautiful view from the Belvedere, the architectural site or the presentation on pearls. Fortunately I did not embarrass myself in front of all the tourists (or gross them out either) as the pearl shop had a conveniently located restroom.

The Paul Gauguin cruise ship anchored in Opunoho Bay, Moorea, 9/26/14

The Paul Gauguin cruise ship anchored in Opunoho Bay, Moorea, 9/26/14

View of the lagoon from Magic Mountain, Moorea, 9/26/14

View of the lagoon from Magic Mountain, Moorea, 9/26/14

View of a lagoon pass, Moorea, 9/26/14

View of a lagoon pass, Moorea, 9/26/14

View of the Agricultural Lycee (Agricultural School/Station), Moorea, 9/26/14

View of the Agricultural Lycee (Agricultural School/Station), Moorea, 9/26/14

Pineapple field, Moorea, 9/26/14

Pineapple field, Moorea, 9/26/14

Interior shot of lush land & beautiful mountains, Moorea, 9/26/14

Interior shot of lush land & beautiful mountains, Moorea, 9/26/14

Interior shot of lush land & beautiful mountains, Moorea, 9/26/14

Interior shot of lush land & beautiful mountains, Moorea, 9/26/14

The view from the Belvedere, Moorea, 9/26/14

The view from the Belvedere, Moorea, 9/26/14

When we finally determined that the bareboat cruise around the islands of French Polynesia was actually going to happen, we started researching the logistics of the issue. Patti eventually decided to talk to a travel agent (yup, there still is such a thing!) and we hooked up with Uschi at Crossroads Travel. We had several back and forth conversations where we discussed what we were doing (sailing with family & friends) and what the best way to execute would be. At one point Uschi said, “This is a bucket list trip, right? Then you need to spend some time ashore either before or after your sailing.” We gave that the thought process it deserved (about 20 seconds) and responded “OK!” And that is how we found ourselves at the Moorea Pearl Resort for three nights and, holy crap, was it ever the right decision.

Our (very) private pool, The Pearl Resort, Moorea, 9/25/14

Our (very) private pool, The Pearl Resort, Moorea, 9/25/14

One thing needs to be said up front: we are not usually “high end” travelers. It’s not like we scrimp on our comforts, but usually a clean room and decent meals meet our needs. That being the case, we can honestly state that a) the Pearl rocked and b) if we ever find our way to Moorea again we will be staying there again. The staff was exceptional, the facilities beyond comfortable (our room had a private pool!) and the meals delicious. There were enough recreational activities to satisfy the most energetic of guest (which was NOT us) and plenty to do on the island itself. We didn’t begin to touch the extent of the possibilities.

So what did we do with our three days on Moorea? Well, we took a 4×4 tour of the interior (more on this in the next post) during which I took a ton of beautiful shots, had a lovely sunset dinner at the Moorea Beach Cafe (yum!), spent a lazy morning under the big shade tree next to the Pearl’s infinity pool and wandered through the nearby village of Maharepa. A true highlight, not just of our time on Moorea but of the entire trip. was our dinner with Dr. Michael Poole and his lovely wife Mareva.

Before we left Florida we mentioned to some friends that we were going to Moorea. They said, “Oh, we have a friend there.” Turns out that our friend’s college roommate became a marine biologist, moved to Moorea many years before and is now the expert in French Polynesia on humpback whales and spinner dolphins. He offers eco-tours where he takes folks out to actually see the whales and is well known as the premier guy for this type of thing, so much so that Patti had already heard of him before we discovered this “small world” link. Although, due to circumstances out of anybody’s control, we couldn’t take the tour, Michael and Mareva picked us up at the Pearl, took us to the Hilton Resort where he gave a talk, and then we went out for a great meal and excellent conversation. One of my biggest regrets from the trip is that I took zero photos of this wonderful couple. Oh well, yet another reason to return.

After three days we flew to Raiatea and hooked up with our shipmates at the Hawaiki Nui Hotel, where we received an upgrade to an overwater bungalow! It was a beautiful experience to lie in bed and watch the sun rise over the Pacific. We had an interesting dinner with the entire crew, enjoyed a cocktail or two and got ready to board the boat!

Next time: inland on Moorea.

The Pearl Resort poolside, Moorea, 9/25/14

The Pearl Resort poolside, Moorea, 9/25/14

Patti chilling by the pool, The Pearl Resort, Moorea, 9/27/14

Patti chilling by the pool, The Pearl Resort, Moorea, 9/27/14

An over water bungalow, The Pearl Resort, Moorea, 9/27/14

An overwater bungalow, The Pearl Resort, Moorea, 9/27/14

Over water bungalows, The Hawaiki Hotel, Raiatea, 9/28/14

Overwater bungalows, The Hawaiki Hotel, Raiatea, 9/28/14

The Admiral & Captain on our deck, The Hawaiki Nui Hotel, Raiatea, 9/28/14

The Admiral & Captain on our bungalow deck, The Hawaiki Nui Hotel, Raiatea, 9/28/14

Poolside at the Hawaiki Hotel, Raiatea, 9/28/14

Poolside at the Hawaiki Hotel, Raiatea, 9/28/14

Sunrise over Huahine, Raiatea, 9/29/14

Sunrise over Huahine (in the distance) from our bungalow, Raiatea, 9/29/14

OK, so we’re back in the states and just now starting to get readjusted. Almost three weeks in the South Pacific, two of them on the 55′ catamaran Curie, combined with a 6-hour time difference, have altered our reality in a way that forces us to take some time to readjust to our “normal” day-to-day existence. We made new friends, saw incredible sights and ate some great food. We visited six islands, did some powerful sailing, and had a few adventures (including removing a flopping fish from our bed after it jumped through a small porthole). Oh, and I took a couple of photos while we were there, too. I have only just started going through them (simply moving them onto the computer and backing them up took a better part of a day), but I’ve got people, including Patti, telling me to start posting. This is just a quick, random selection of the many great shots…you can expect to see many more over the next few weeks.

Relaxing pre-cruise at the Moorea Pearl Resort, Moorea, 9/27/14

Relaxing pre-cruise at the Moorea Pearl Resort, Moorea, 9/27/14

Opunohu Bay on the left, Cook's Bay on the right, Mt. Rotui in the center, Moorea,  9/26/14

Opunohu Bay on the left, Cook’s Bay on the right, Mt. Rotui in the center, Moorea, 9/26/14

One of many paddlers we saw, Off the coast of Huahine, 9/29/14

One of many paddlers we saw, Taha’a, 9/29/14

Early morning sunrise, Off Huahine, 10/2/14

Early morning double rainbow, Huahine, 10/2/14

A Marae in the Mata'ire'a Archeological site on Huahine, 10/2/14

A Marae in the Mata’ire’a Archeological site on Huahine, 10/2/14

Sunset over Bora Bora as seen from Tahaa, 10/10/14

Sunset over Bora Bora as seen from Raiatea, 10/10/14

The full moon rises over Mt.  Otemanu, Bora Bora, 10/5/14

The full moon rises over Mt. Otemanu, Bora Bora, 10/5/14

Preparing to cook the fish, Off Raiatea, 10/10/14

Preparing to grill fish, Raiatea, 10/10/14

We're docked, packing, and heading towards Florida via Papeete, Los Angeles and Orlando. I have a ton of photos, but not much bandwidth. Here's a couple to show off before we get home.

After dinner activities

Bora Bora

 

 

We haven't even left yet and we want to come back to Moorea. We've toured the island in a 4X4, snorkled in the lagoon (my first time in the Pacific!), lay about the pool, shopped and had a wonderful meal with some friends of friends that are now our friends too. I'm going to cut this short since we're off to see a traditional Polynesian dance followed by a rock concert, both about 150' from our bungalow. Tomorrow it's off to Raiatea to meet up with our shipmates. For now I'll let the photos do the talking.

Dinner at the Moorea Beach Cafe, 9/25/14

Opunohu Bay, Moorea, 9/26/14

Opunohu Bay on the left, Cook's Bay on the right, from the Belvedere Lookout, Moorea, 9/26/14

Moorea, 9/27/14

Interior of Moorea, 9/26/14

 

 

So we survived the flights from Orlando to LAX and from LAX to Papeete (overnight) and the lengthy (7 minute) flight from Papeete to Moorea and, as I type this, we're in our “transit” room at the Moorea Pearl Resort waiting on either a) our permanent room to be ready or b) 12:00 to roll around so we can eat! We're exhausted, more than a bit punch drunk, and WAY excited to be at this beautiful location. We'll post more, but this will get us started.

 

Moorea as we came in...our resort is, I think, in the middle distance, 9/25/14

 

An over water bungalow at the Pearl, 9/25/14

 

Poolside at the Pearl, 9/25/14

 

I know, I know, it’s been too long since I posted. The main purpose of this blog is relating our travel adventures and showing some pretty pictures and we just haven’t been doing much of either this summer. That’s about to change, and in a big way. Tomorrow we depart for almost 3 weeks of journeying about the islands of French Polynesia: Tahiti, Bora Bora, Moorea, etc. We’ll be spending a few nights at the Pearl Resort on the island of Moorea seeing the sights before heading to Raiatea where we’ll board a 55′ catamaran for two weeks of sailing with family and friends! To say we’re excited is the understatement of at least the decade.

I will be trying to post when able, but internet access (at least access capable of uploading my posts) will be … spotty. This, of course, is an attraction for me, since three weeks with no work email and no cell coverage is seen as a feature rather than a bug. Although I WILL be monitoring, as best I can, the Orioles path to the World Series.

For some obligatory photos, here are some shots I took the other night of a 2 month old lion cub (and a couple of his future roomies). For background, see here. He’s as cute as a button and still able to be around people. That will change, of course, but before it does I hope to get over there with my “real” camera (these are all from my iPhone in low light, so the quality isn’t very good) and get some better shots. After Tahiti, of course!

Mims, FL, 9/14/14

Mims, FL, 9/14/14

 

Mims, FL, 9/14/14

Mims, FL, 9/14/14

Mims, FL, 9/14/14

Mims, FL, 9/14/14

Mims, FL, 9/14/14

Mims, FL, 9/14/14

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