Trip Start Jan 13, 2010
Trip End Feb 10, 2010

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Flag of French Polynesia  ,
Friday, January 29, 2010

The day after we were in Papeete, we sailed to Moorea, the next island in the French Polynesian chain.  I have lost my cheat sheet on Moorea, so I will not be able to tell you much of its history or other details... you will have to use Google for that unfortunately.  I will tell you that it is thought that one of the rugged peaks on Moorea was the inspiration for Bali H'ai from the movie South Pacific.  That is the claim made by our tour guide in Moorea...of course the tour guide in Bora Bora made the same claim about that island so who can be sure??  Moorea was far more attractive to me than Papeete.  It is much more laid back island, without the commercial centers found in Papeete.

Mom and I went on a snorkeling adventure, swimming with stingrays and black tipped sharks.  I have never experienced anything like the stingrays.  They are fabulous creatures with absolutely no agression towards humans.  In fact, they swim right up to you and brush their velvety wings around you.  I spent an hour running my hands over their bodies and practically hugging the stingrays.  I will never forget that experience.  The stingrays look so sentient.  They have eyes on the sides of their heads and seem to look right into your eyes when you are stroking them.  The tour guides bring people to this certain spot each day and feed the stingrays so they have a positive association with the people who swim with them. The tops of their heads and back (down the center) feel a little like sandpaper - just slightly rought.  What I call their "wings" and their underbellies are velvety soft and feel wonderful to the touch. Their tails, however, have very sharp "prickle" of some sort and you do not want to touch them.  I accidentally brushed against a tail and I still have the cuts days later. When I realized that the cuts were bleedly slightly and I was in the water with black tipped sharks I had a moment of disquiet, but soon realized that the sharks were much more interested in the hunks of fish the guides were tossing than in my mere scratches!  Thankfully!

The weather in Moorea was not the best for us.  It rained a lot and the water did not look as bright blue as it probably usually does since the sun was not out very often that day.  We had a break in the rain just in time for the stingray adventure, but spent the 30 minute boat ride back to the pier in a stinging downpour. There were lots of folks complaining that day, but I did not whine a bit.  I figured I was not at work, not cooking, not cleaning, and not taking care of anybody or could have rained all day every day and I would be happy!  Until next time...
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