We last visited Moorea in 1995, a few years after a major typhoon blew through the area. Despite the strength and devastation of the storm, the island was still beautiful and today, 17 years later, it has completely recovered and more picturesque than words can describe. The distance between Papeete and Moorea is a very short 13 miles – when we woke this morning, we were already anchored in Cook’s Bay. The Captain backed the ship in such a manner that our stern was facing Mt. Rotui, a stunning 1,500 foot mountain also known locally as ‘the needle’. Just adjacent to where we anchored was Opanohu Bay, the setting for most of the South Pacific scenes from the 1984 film The Bounty. The landscape looks something like the lower Swiss Alps refashioned in an extraordinary tropical setting. Breathtaking.
We left the ship at 9am and ‘tendered’ to shore. We immediately recognized the main road adjacent to the dock because we walked most of the island many years ago. Once again, we were on our own, and knew there was a resort nearby. The temperature was 85 and typical in the South Pacific, the humidity was so thick you could cut it with a knife but we were determined to walk. Two miles down the road, we came upon the Moorea Beachcomber Intercontinental Resort – a property featuring the bungalows on stilts that extend into the ocean. We walked through the open-air lobby, past the infinity pool and found two vacant beach lounges outside one of the bungalows. We ordered two ice cold beers and made ourselves at home. We had a wonderful time swimming in the lagoon – the water was crystal clear and very refreshing, but we had to wear sandals as the area was filled with sharp coral and numerous tropical fish. One fish in particular, was attracted to Cheryl – he initially started nibbling her leg in a sociable, curious manner, but eventually, he decided she tasted pretty good and bit her so hard & deep it actually drew blood! It was close to Noon by then and the temps continued rising so we started our long walk back to the pier to catch a ‘tender’ back to the ship.
Our sail away at 5:30 was spectacular with the sun starting to set on Mt. Rotui – the photo below doesn’t begin to capture the beauty but it was indeed a magnificent sight.
On to Bora Bora – about 120 miles west – another beautiful, but very small island here in the South Pacific. It’s so small that during our visit in 1995, we actually rode bicycles around the entire island!