Moorea - The most jagged spectacular mountains!

Trip Start Jan 04, 2011
Trip End Mar 23, 2011

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Flag of French Polynesia  , Society Islands,
Friday, March 11, 2011

Tsunami-alert aside, our time in French Polynesia has been really nice so far. We spent an evening on the island of Tahiti in the capital city of Papeete.  The city itself was much quieter at night I thought it would be... OK, almost deserted!  But we did head out and tour a little bit.  Definitely the most European of any place we've been to on this trip.  And finally a destination where we can cross the street without confusion as to which way to look (it's the only right-side drive place on our trip). The next day we hopped on a ferry to Moorea.  Sitting on the top deck to get the full effect of the impressive approach to Moorea. Though you wont find wide sandy beaches on this island, you will find a stunning "Bali Hai" type island.  It is by far the most impressive tropical island I've ever seen.  The mountains shoot up straight from the ocean and are topped by very jagged sharp peaks so much so that they refer to these peaks as "Shark's tooth" peaks.  The island is also ringed by a beautiful lagoon with once again lovely turquoise water.  In addition, there are 2 sharp bays that provide an almost 360 degree panorama of these jagged peaks.  

Given French Polynesia is our last destination on this trip (save California), we had decided to splurge somewhat and are staying in a fairly comfy resort hotel.  It is one of a few resorts in Moorea with over water bungalows (though we are not staying in one, we're in the cheapy wing of the resort hotel - though still very nice).  The hotel is right on the beach/lagoon and has a beautiful infinity pool right on the beach.  Also has a nice dock from which to watch the spectacular South Pacific sunsets.  After diving off the dock in the late afternoon and swimming in the clearest water yet (surrounded by a wide variety of friendly fish), we lay on the deck in wet swimsuits and watched the sun go down, producing the most spectacular sunset yet on our trip.  It's actually hard for me to believe I'm finally in French Polynesia - a dream since childhood.  The sunset brings on views of endless jagged mountain ridges up the coastline, coconut palm silhouettes hanging over the coast as far as the eye can see and the sky erupting into a song and dance of vibrant colours!  What's different about these South Pacific islands from anywhere in the Mediterranean or the Caribbean is the shape of the mountains and the presence of these very defined and ultra calm beautifully-coloured lagoons.

Activity-wise, we've been taking it fairly easy.  Rented a car for 1 day to drive around the whole island.  We've snorkelled in water that has been even clearer than Aitutaki's Lagoon, though have no underwater pics as my underwater camera case broke! :-(  Other than that, just lying on the beach or at the pool reading some magazines (en francais - no English to be found anywhere) and alternating dips in the pool and lagoon.

As for food, we've been very lucky finding really nice out of the way non-touristy places to eat.  Tonight we just walked a few minutes down the road from our hotel to a "roulotte" and had the best meal yet.  Local grilled Mahi Mahi.  For lunch we've found a cafe that makes great lunches and coffees, not to mention amazing pastries and fresh fruit juices.  We've also indulged in the many delicious local tropical fruits. There are frequent little stands set up by locals selling bananas (smaller and tastier than we know them), rambutans (like lychees but with a furry exterior), mangos, fresh coconut (yum), pineapples, longans (again similar to lychees),etc... 

Tomorrow we finally get to Bora Bora - THE island of my dreams since the start of time!  Better recharge the camera battery ;-)  Hopefully 5 days in the ultimate paradise.  I'll let you know if it meets expectations at the end of it!
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