Trip Start Jun 06, 2005
20Trip End May 31, 2006
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We flew from Los Angeles and landed in Papeete at 2 in the morning. Papeete is the capital of Tahiti and is very busy, built up and not what you would call paradise.
We waited at the airport 3 1/2 hours for daybreak and caught the local bus to the ferry port. Well I say the bus, they are actually called 'Le Truck' and are converted flat bed lorries painted in local style.
Did I mention how expensive French Polynesia is? $12 for 2 cans of Coke and a bag of crisps.... This was at the airport but it wasn't much cheaper in town.
We arrived in time for the 6:20 am ferry to Moorea. The 1 hour 15 minute journey was quite bad and Kelly watched me change color from pink to pale green with every dip, roll and rock of the boat but it was worth every minute for what lay ahead.
We disembarked and caught another 'truck' to Camping Chez Nelson, where we would spend the next 9 days. This was the cheapest place on the island and it showed. The communal kitchen was quite dirty as were the bathroom, but our fare was fine and cosy.
Camping Nelson comprised of a dorm block, 8 double rooms, 4 fares and plenty of room for tents. The best bit was the beach, the great snorkeling and the amazing turquoise sea being only 10 steps from our door.
There were a few backpackers around and made friends very easily and settled in quite quickly. The first three days were overcast and rained, but it was still warm enough to snorkel and explore the local area. On the fourth day the weather changed for the better and from then on we were treated to spectacular sunsets every night.
We made good friends with a German guy named Tim and a French guy named Christophe. They were both nutters with a great sense of humor.
Although most nights were spent drinking the local brew at the camp, the next few days we explored with Tim and Christophe.
We hired a 'Bugster' for the day and toured the island which has a road that is 67 km's long that circles the island.
We were late for a Sunday service at the local church so we listened to the fantastic voices from outside. The local kids loved having their picture taken and happily posed for us.
Moorea has 2 bays, Cooks Bay and Opunohu Bay. This is the view from the lookout at Cooks Bay. The huts you can see belong to the Intercontinental Hotel. $650 a night.......nice!!
The whole island is unspoilt as only locals can own the land so no commercial companies have any control.
The next day was the highlight of the trip. The four of us hired kayaks and paddled out to a sandbank where we swam with stingrays and black tipped reef sharks. The rays would come up to you and brush against your legs, they felt like velvet and were very graceful. The sharks were about 1 meter long and although it was initially scary we were soon chasing them to try to get a little closer. The most satisfying thing about this was that these were wild and could have left at any time. We wish we had an underwater camera as the pictures would have been fantastic.
The guy who we hired the kayaks from told us about a great snorkeling spot between two motu's (islands) around 1/4 mile swim from shore. There we had 3 hours of the best snorkeling ever in our lives!!
The rest of our time there was more of the same, great weather, great people and we were really sad when we had to pack to leave.
People had been arriving and leaving all week and for some it was the last stop on their trip and for others their first and now it was our time to leave.
So now we are at the airport were we have a 12 hour wait for our 4 am flight to the Cook Islands and you know we couldn't care less. Even though our ATM cards never worked and we have no cash, we know tomorrow will be another day in paradise.
So it's Au Revior from Tahiti and we'll update soon.
Where I stayed