Saturday, 24 September 2016

9-2016 Tahiti, Moorea with Friends

Hi from Clare,                                                            Thursday 22nd September 2016

We took the boat into the Papeete City Marina, Tahiti for the arrival of our good friends Patrick and Cheryl who flew in from Australia on 12th September. Since then our life has been a blur with a flurry of activity quite uncharacteristic for us. Our friends arrived late at night and after receiving our requested goodies from Oz plus other gifts donated by Patrick and Cheryl our boat looked like present opening time on Christmas morning.
Tahitian Dancers and the Polynesian Festival

It was very hot in the marina but we stayed for another night so we could go to a dance spectacular at the Grand Theatre which was part of Festival Polynesia. The dance groups came from Tahiti, Polynesia, New Zealand, Easter Island and Hawaii. A very colourful and vibrant event with the dancers performing on stage and also up and down the aisles. This gave us a very close up view of their moves and beautiful costumes. The dancers perspired so much we decided to have a cool beer for them after the show. So off to the “local” in company with cruising friends Sue and Rob on 'Athanor' and Cathy and Woflgang on 'Plastik Plankton' for a cool drink and chat; a perfect finish to the evening.
Steve "rocking the dock"
Beer and the 1 metre long Pizas

The following day we went back to the Taina Marina anchorage for final provisioning and to enjoy some snorkelling in crystal clear water. As you can imagine Patrick and Cheryl having come from Australia's winter were very eager to experience 28 degree water and glorious sunshine. That night we were invited to a dock party by American friends Steve and Lili on 'Liward' whom we knew from the Polynesian Magellan radio net. Steve is a very accomplished musician and is well known for regularly 'rocking the dock' encouraging local musicians to join in. It seems now that whenever Steve is in town the word gets around and the locals arrive. It was Steve's 64th Birthday and he provided Beer and Pizza and hours of good music. It was a gorgeous evening with a warm breeze, a full moon, a star studded sky and good company.
Cooks Bay, Moorea
Bali Hai Resort, Cooks Bay
Dancers at the Bali Hai Resort
Our photo with the dancers

The following day we sailed twelve miles to Moorea and anchored in Cook's Bay named after Captain Cook of course. This beautiful bay is surrounded by huge mountains and tropical vegetation. We met up with cruising friends Mark and Cheryl on 'French Curve' whom up until now we had only spoken to on the radio net. They invited us to join them ashore that evening for a dance show at the Bali Hai Resort. This was held outdoors in the Resort's garden which was very pleasant on such a warm evening. The performers invited the people from the front row of the audience to join them in the dance. We were in the second row so thankfully were not called upon to entertain the crowd with our not so fluid hip shaking movements.
Stingray City
Black tipped Reef sharks patrolling Stingray City

We took the boat around to the Tiki Anchorage named such as there are some carved stone Tikis lying on the sea bed. We snorkelled on them but the only fascination they held for me was how they got there in the first place. The statues in themselves are a bit underwhelming. Our purpose for being at this anchorage was its proximity to Stingray City. This is a shallow area not far from the Intercontinental Hotel where daily tripper boats bring tourists to hand fed sardines to the Stingrays. Consequently they are very friendly and come quite close to you. Black tip sharks circle around in great numbers but hold no threat to the people in the water. It was a great experience to be there in their world.

Bikers Patrick, Cheryl, Andrew and Clare
A & C 
Cooks Bay from Belvedere Lookout

We hired motor cycles for a day and toured around the island of Moorea stopping at all the gazetted points of interest. Andrew did a great job dinking me around as I'm a nervous passenger. Good thing he had a helmet on and the wind in his face as this would have drowned out most of my expletives. I kept thinking of how much skin we would lose if we fell off but I am pleased to report there was no loss of skin or face. We enjoyed Belvedere lookout with spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and bays. Then Polynesian archaeological sites with ancient platforms (paepae) dwellings and sacred places. Further down the mountain was the Agricultural College which reputably sells the best ice cream made from local fruits. Andrew and I shared a scoop of vanilla and one of banana and Patrick and Cheryl shared a passion fruit sorbet, both products were outstanding. We later visited the Tropical Garden which apart from offering a stunning view of the bay, it is a working farm growing many tropical fruits, vegetables and flowering plants. It has a shop serving exotic fruit juices and selling their bottled jams and chutneys. A trip around the island wouldn't be complete without stopping at the distillery and sampling some local liquor and mixers. We purchased the local Tahiti Drink L' Exotique which is a rum and fruit juice mix which we will drink at our leisure. Best we do this when safely back on the boat.
Driveway to the Tropical Garden

Yesterday we went for a dive with Top Dive which operates out of the Intercontinental Hotel. The cost for a single dive was A$125 each and for that we expected Top Dive to take us to a good dive location. Our dive was inside the lagoon and we saw twenty three eagle rays and not much else. There were very few fish even though the Divemaster carried a chum box with him to attract the fish. The ocean floor was all sand and rubble with lifeless coral and the visibility poor. In contrast Patrick and Cheryl went snorkelling off the back of our boat this morning and saw six eagle rays, a turtle and plenty of colourful fish. This of course was free. I guess you can't win them all.
Intercontinental Hotel, Moorea
C & A diving in the lagoon
Squadron of Eagle Rays

We feel we have covered the island of Moorea from its highest lookout to the depths of its lagoon. Today we will have lunch out and take advantage of the Cafe's Wifi to send this Blog. This evening we will sail eighty odd miles to the island of Huahine and start another adventure.

Love Candy xx