Friday, May 24, 2024

Making the most in Moorea!

 It was Sunday, and our last stop in Tahiti.  After yesterday's shopping disappointment, we weren't in a hurry to board the water shuttle to Moorea, thinking that there wouldn't be any opportunity to get anything there, and we hadn't booked any tours, so it would just be "free time on our own",  so we just mossied on out after breakfast to see what there was to see...

  Coming into the island, we could see that it was a small sweet looking one with a lovely cove.  I was surprised at how high the surrounding mountains were, some you couldn't even see the tops because of the clouds!  As with the other smaller island, everything was lush and green. 

As the water shuttle docked we could already hear the music, and it didn't take us long to realize that these island people were not taking Sunday off!  There were musicians playing island music along with lovely dancers to welcome us, and they had this place FILLED with vendor tables as far as the eye could see!  Beyond that were tour guides offering all lengths of tours from 2-4 hours around the island.  We asked several of the people selling items how long they would be there, and they all said "as long as you are here!" They were excited to see us and were so friendly and happy, it made our day.  We talked to a couple of tour guides and decided that a 2-hour tour would be the best for today - it covered enough of the areas I was interested in and gave us time to come back and enjoy the music and shopping, so that's what we did.  They were nice small vans that only held 6 people, which was perfect, so off we went.  

We learned a lot about this wonderful island from our guide.  Like Moorea is an island of volcanic origin, located 11 miles northwest of Papeete and has a circumference of 37 miles. Many people have described Moorea as the most beautiful place on earth. After a visit to Moorea and inspired by its beauty, author James Michener wrote “peaks which can never be forgotten...the jagged saw-edges that look like the spines of a forgotten dinosaur”. One of the features that is so striking about this island is the jagged peaks and spires that give the island its unique profile. Moorea's appearance is the result of volcanic activity hundreds of thousands of years ago.

The volcanic crater of Moorea is completely surrounded by a coral reef;  Geologists speculate that the northern rim of the volcano either fell into the sea or was blown away by a volcanic explosion, leaving the heart-shaped island of Moorea. The south rim of the volcano makes up the mountain range that protects the lush interior of the island known as the Opuhi plantation. This astounding range that makes up the south rim contains several named mountain peaks. Towering some 3,000 ft. above Opunohu Bay and Cooks Bay (named after Captain James Cook), Mt Rotui (2,949 ft.) resides at the center of the crater of the ancient volcano. The view of Rotui from Belvedere Point was spectacular.

After leaving the panoramic views of the Belvedere Lookout, we headed to the pineapple fields.  What an interesting place.  These were very different from what we've seen before in Hawaii, as they are grown just for their juice and not shipped out.  These plants were very thorny and the pineapples were much smaller than the kind you eat.  Our guide told us these plants only last about five years.  The field was huge and went further than we could see!  There is the Moorea Fruit Juice & Distillery Factory on the island that harvests local fruits from papaya, pineapple, star fruit, ginger coconut and grapefruit but it's closed on Sundays so we weren't able to go there. 
Some last views before we returned to the dock area...

 For a short (2 hour) tour, we saw a lot and really enjoyed ourselves!  We got back in plenty of time to take our time and browse through all the wonderful items the locals hand for sale.  There were a number of tables with Tahitian pearl jewelry, mostly black, which is what they are known for, but some gray and white as well.  Incredible prices!  I was really tempted, but just really don't need any more jewelry, and how many earrings can a lady wear with shorts anyway?  ;-).  I did get myself the t-shirt I wanted and added a (very small) piece of art work to our collection.  We listened for a bit more to the sweet musicians, then finally caught the water shuttle back to the ship reluctantly, knowing that this was our last island adventure...

As we bid Moorea goodbye, she gave us this one last gift...

...catching up from our cruise,  Marie

If you would like to see the rest of my photos, you can go to my Flickr account and it's under the Pacific Islands Album.


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