Moorea is just a 40 minute ferry ride from Tahiti but our ship circled around in the ocean until morning. We anchored right here with these beautiful views and everyone got on one of the lifeboats for a ride to a small dock where the tour busses and trinket sellers were waiting for us.
One thousand workers take the ferry to and from Tahiti each day as Moorea doesn’t have much employment. We took a tour that circled the island and what few towns we saw were barely spots in the road. Again, I expected to see big glitzy hotels but the few we saw were low key. Some have closed down for lack of tourism. One of the problems is that these particular islands are so far from anywhere and the airfares are high, effecting tourism. We overheard someone on Bora Bora say that they need to have one cruise ship a month visit to support the island. Instead, about eight a year arrive.
The oldest church in Polynesia was built in 1820. Until last year, the church goers received wine during the service but the current minister discontinued that practice and substituted coconut juice. In protest, most of the congregation quit the church and built a new one where they get wine once again.
Our tour bus took us up a very winding road that was not wide enough for two vehicles to pass each other. The bus was constantly backing up down the steep road in order to pull over. This spot was called Belvedere and is a popular lookout point.
The whole island is mountainous other than a narrow strip along the coast. Because of a barrier reef around the island, the water is very calm along the shore with houses being built right to the edge. There are 12 natural openings in the reef that were caused by the fresh water from rivers flowing into the ocean. It was through one of these opening that our ship was able to anchor in a bay.
The road to Belvedere
I’m sure everyone has seen pictures of these huts out in the water. This was the only complex we saw on Moorea but there were several on Bora Bora. A group of people on the ship rented one for the day on the latter. A lady I talked to said the floors in each room were glass so that you could see the fish in the water below.
There are quite a few sail boats and some very large yachts in the coves. Our tour guide said that Bill Gates visits the island each year on his yacht.
Moorea had such beautifully colored ocean water that changed every few miles.
If my memory is correct (no internet to research facts) it is 240 miles to Bora Bora from Tahiti. We were scheduled for another circle island tour but after standing in the heat and humidity for 1/2 hour + another 1/2 hour that the bus was late, I didn’t feel too well and took a boat back to the ship. Steve went alone and later said it was the right decision that I left because the bus was open air and it became even hotter. The tour wasn’t that good as there are very few places for busses to pull over and let people out. The guide rushed the tour and cut it 1/2 hour short so as to be on time for the next group. Of course the bus had time to pull over at a trinket shop for the longest stop of the tour. This also happened on Moorea and it was very frustrating to drive right by interesting places only to stop at a shop for 25 minutes. I’m sure the tour guides get a kick back from the shops. We refuse to tip tour guides that make these kinds of stops. There are enough shops at the docks that we don’t have to stop at another one.
We had gone over to the island early and walked around the main town of Vaitape which reminded me of many very small Mexican villages.
Fabric for sale. I bought a top made out of a colorful material.
Steve took this picture on the bus trip around the island.
When I looked at Steve’s pictures and saw this one I really wondered what the interest was. Once I cropped it, the crabs were visible. Steve said the islanders have crab patches were they throw down hibiscus leaves which the crabs feed on and take down into their holes. After two weeks the crabs are big enough to eat.
Pretty little church on this mountainous island. Steve liked Moorea better than Bora Bora but we both came to the conclusion that one week on either would be too much for us as we don’t do water sports and that is about all there is. However, the views are some of the most spectacular we have ever seen.
Our Indonesian cabin steward wasn’t too impressed with Bora Bora and just shrugged. When I told her Steve calls it Boring Boring she cracked up and said she was going to tell her friends.
View from the ship
Bora Bora is ringed with many tiny islands
Off to Fiji