Trip Start Sep 04, 2007
Trip End May 28, 2008

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Flag of French Polynesia  ,
Saturday, January 19, 2008

Moorea is a very small island, without a decent public transport system. A bus occasionally meets the ferry to take people to their hotels, and although I could find a bus, there were no drivers. I got talking to two Canadian couples who had just finished a cruise around several of the islands, and they decided to take a Taxi down to their resort and were kind enough to drop me at my pension on the way.

This pension was nice but really odd! The dormitory was in the attic with one end completely open for a fantastic view of the sea. Unfortunately it started to rain, and when the wind picked up it was blowing the rain across the beds. There were 3 of us in the room and we ended up moving everything as far away from the "window" as possible just to stay dry. It brought back memories of camping down in Patagonia! But it had a lovely sea view, and there were free kayaks and swimming around coral reefs just meters from my bed.

Like Tahiti, Moorea is surrounded by coral reefs which provide a wave break a few hundred meters from the shore. This results in a turquoise lagoon between the ocean and the island, which is great for swimming and diving.

Fortunately the weather improved and on the next day we got some sunshine! I rented a bike and decided to cycle around the island, only for the front gear change to break after about 10km, leaving me stuck in the lowest gear... and the rear derailleur needed the odd kick of encouragement to shift gear. My leatherman saved the day and I was able to lock the bike into a middle gear and completed the 60km ride.

The island really is beautiful with very few developments. Cook's Bay and the less developed Opunohu Bay were my favourite areas (this is where they filmed "The Bounty" with Mel Gibson). The larger resorts along the coast are famous for their stunning over the water bungalows. The Sheraton Moorea lagoon resort & spa was only a kilometer down the road from my pension, but a single night in one of their bungalows costs $1000... a bit beyond my budget!

I was now the only person staying in the pension and after my cycle ride I really wanted to eat dinner, only to be told by the owner that he wasn't opening the restaurant that night because it was only me.... that would have been ok, except there was no kitchen to use, no food nearby,  and no bus service. I walked 40 minutes along the coast and bumped into the Canadians who were out for dinner and invited me to join them for a very welcome drink. I then continued walking to find a decent pizza and managed to hitchhike part of the way home.

The next day was cloudy but it was still quite hot. I walked up to the viewpoint for a fantastic view of Opunohu Bay and Cook's Bay. During the walk I saw pineapple plantations - the fruit is used to make amazing fresh pineapple juice! I spent the rest of the time swimming & kayaking around the lagoon.

I really liked Moorea and would love to have seen the island with clear blue skies. But overall I found French Polynesia to be just too expensive for what it is.... I think the coasts of Brazil and Turkey are just as nice and a lot cheaper!
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