Sunning ourselves in the South pacific

Trip Start Jul 27, 2004
Trip End Dec 13, 2006

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Flag of French Polynesia  ,
Wednesday, August 31, 2005

After a five hour flight from Easter Island we landed in Papeete airport, Tahiti at around 11pm. To save money we slept (well, sort of..) in the airport for a few hours and then got the local bus into town. After a quick breakfast stop at the market (pain au chocolat.. just like France!) we hopped onto a catamaran to the nearby island of Moorea which is a gorgeous island of green mountains surrounded by the clearest turquoise water you have ever seen - picture postcard scenery! The whole island is surrounded by a reef which creates a gorgeous shallow water lagoon and we stayed at Chez Nelson where we had a room with balcony just 10 yards from the beach. The first couple of days just had to be spent lazing & enjoying the sunshine - after all we have had a very hard year!! The next day we went out on a boat along the coast and got great views of the coastline, the mountains, the lagoon and the 'over-water bungalows' of the Moorea Sheraton Hotel.. maybe we will stay there next time ???!!! We did two dives in the lagoon with Wolfy, Kate, Karen, Adrian & Peter and had an amazing time.. the water was crystal clear and as well as seeing beautiful coral, turtles and a huge moray eel we also saw lots of sharks. At one point there were 8 black-tipped reef sharks swimming all around us in every direction we looked.. we also saw a Grey reef shark and we were glad there was only one of him because he was a monster (about 8 feet long, hungry looking and way too close!). In the afternoon Mandy did more snorkelling in the lagoon where there were lots of Stingrays that you could stroke as they swam past in the shallow water. On the following day we hired bikes and rode around the coast and then up to Belvedere point where there are great views of the island. We then rode as far as Cooks Bay before circling back to where we were staying for some more well-earned beach time. After four nights on Moorea it was time to take the ferry back to the mainland where we had a great chinese meal by the waterfront. We then spent another night in the airport at Papeete to avoid Tahiti's astronomical accomodation costs - makes sense when you have to check in for your flight at 5am anyway!! We would have loved more time in these islands but they eat the budget.. especially when you can buy 'luxuries' like Pate, Brie & French bread which we haven't had for ages !!!! An amazing place to visit though with the clearest water we have ever seen and a beautiful place to spend a few days relaxing or diving. Today we flew to New Zealand with 'Air Tahiti Nui' - possibly the best airline we have been on so far... even if it did take us away from these beautiful South Pacific Islands.
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