Its all downhill from here..
Day 33/138 2022/2023 Viking World Cruise. Moorea.
I had a horrible night last night. I couldn’t stop coughing, so of course, I didn’t get much sleep! Ugh. This cold is definitely nasty and unfortunately being in paradise is not the time to be sick.
We had ordered room service to our cabin for 7:15am this morning as I needed to be in the Star Theatre on deck 2 for 8 am to catch the tender to Moorea. I was up around 6am this morning watching as we sailed into Moorea, partly because I wanted to see the sail in and because I was coughing so much I couldn’t sleep.
Warning! There will be a lot of beautiful photos today so I’m sorry for my friends back in Canada reading this who are suffering with winter storm warnings and cold winter weather. I hope these photos brighten your day and give you hope that spring will be coming in 2 short months!
Overwater bungalow villas are the first thing I saw as I looked out from our balcony this morning as we sailed into Moorea.
Moorea is bigger than Bora Bora at 16 miles across and there are 2 small, nearly symmetrical bays on the north shore. I have some photos of that area later in the blog.
The island of Moorea was formed as a volcano 1.5 to 2.5 million years ago, the result of the Society hotspot in the mantle under the oceanic plate that formed the whole of the Society Archipelago, which Bora Bora, Moorea and Tahiti are a part of. Moorea has a small population of less than 20,000 inhabitants.
Don’t mind if I do have breakfast room service ‘Al fresco’ on the balcony overlooking beautiful, stunning Moorea!
I grabbed a quick bowl of corn flakes and half a piece of toast with peanut butter for my breakfast before I headed down to the Star Theatre for 8am. I was to be in Group 7 today for my tour, which was called ‘Moorea through a lens’.
A shot of the tender boats working overtime today to try to get everyone off the Neptune and into Moorea for their early morning tours. My tender finally left the Neptune at 8:40am and we headed for Bahia D’Opunohu or in English ‘Opunohu Bay’.
I met our guide Loraleigh, who escorted us to her truck in which we would be riding in the back. It definitely looked a bit ’rustic’ but hopefully it wouldn’t be too bumpy back there!
Ok. What am I getting myself into? Notice that our guide Lorelei does not wear shoes!
We drove about 5 minutes down the road from Opunohu Bay to a public beach called Ta’ahiamanu.
I can see the Viking Neptune!
There were 8 of us in the back of the truck, 4 with ‘real camera’s and the rest with Iphones or point and shoot cameras. Lorelei’s first lesson was composition and she took a photo with her Iphone and showed it to us to explain what she was trying to capture.
Now that’s a picture postcard image and probably my favourite shot from today. I had taken the photo initially with not enough space above the palm trees on the left to show the sky, and when I showed it to Lorelei, she suggested I take the shot again making sure I got the sky above the tree. How nice of these folks to be swimming so early in the morning on the public beach to make my postcard a travel worthy shot! Is this not the photo you dream of when you think of French Polynesia? Moorea today certainly was what I imagined French Polynesia to be. In fact, Arthur Frommer (yes that guy that has tons of travel books), declared in one of his travel guides that he considered Moorea to be the most beautiful Island in the World, so I guess it is all downhill for us from here on this cruise! Let’s hope that is not the case and we can still find beautiful Islands to visit as we continue our journey.
I turned around from taking the previous shot and saw that the sky was changing colour and we were definitely going to get a rain storm soon! The sand ledge in this photo adds some interest with its ‘leading lines’ as we say in photography lingo. Or in other words, your eye follows the line to what you are seeing. The line leads you into the photo. A photographer’s trick!
The colours of the water at Ta’ahiamanu beach were so beautiful; so many shades of green and turquoise. If only I had my bathing suit with me, I would have been all set to enjoy a wonderful day on the beach in beautiful Moorea!
We played around with some props in the foreground to add some interest to our photos.
We kicked this coconut to the shoreline to draw the eyes into the photo. I’ve got another perspective on this photo too.
I can’t decide which photo I like better. I think the second one. There is no right or wrong. Its definitely a personal choice.
We found some hibiscus flowers on the ground so the flower became the prop or foreground interest in this photo.
A little bit more framing using the tree branch to frame the bottom of the photo.
That storm was definitely looking ominous in the distance! We started back across the road to jump back into our pickup truck, but before we got to the truck I saw a very cool face on a tree branch.
Can you make out the face? Apparently seeing faces in everyday objects is called ‘Face pareidolia’. One of the fellow guests who was on the tour told me that. Who knew? I think this face looks kind of like a sloth face.
Can you see the resemblance? This photo is the sloth that I took in Cartagena.
We got in our truck to start a 15 minute drive to Eglise de la Sainte Famille Catholic Church which is located on the West Coast of Moorea. The rain had started in earnest, and we were having a torrential down pour as we hung on in the back of the loosely enclosed pick up truck. All was good on our drive, until the roof canvas started to leak in the middle of the truck and depending on which curve the truck was taking in the road, depended on who was getting wet from the rain dripping down from the roof. I started using the top of my Tilley hat to try and deflect the rain off my knees to the floor of the truck. It seemed to work as my legs stayed dry! Oh well! A little liquid sunshine in paradise never hurt anybody! I have a ‘Blackpack’ backpack which I use for my camera lens and the ‘Blackpack’ backpack is waterproof, and it also comes with a built in rain fly cover that pulls out of the bottom of the pack, so while we were driving in the pouring rain, I got the rain fly cover out to cover up my knapsack. I also brought with me an IBKUL foldable waterproof fanny pack rain jacket with a hood, so knowing we were going to be out exploring in the rain, I also put that on over my IBKUL SPF sun shirt today. There is nothing like being prepared for rain and not having it happen, but not being prepared, makes it a pretty miserable day. My shoes were also waterproof Canadian running shoes by Vessi and they also worked like a charm to keep my feet dry today!
Catholic Eglise de la Sainte Famille or Church of the Holy Family which is fashioned from coral and lime dating back to the late 19th century. The church located in Haapiti, which is the largest village on the remote West Coast of Moorea. The church is framed by lush coconut groves, with the jagged mountains rising steeply in the background. On the church grounds we also saw some native plants.
I forgot the name of this plant, but it is used in natural medicine in Moorea to relieve coughs and fevers.
Breadfruit. A staple of Moorean cuisine. Breadfruit contains considerable amounts of starch and is seldom eaten raw. It may be roasted, baked, boiled, fried or dried and ground into flour. Breadfruits are so big they can feed an entire family, so having a breadfruit tree close by, means no one ever goes hungry!
We left the West Coast of Moorea to drive up the mountain to the Belvedere Lookout where we could see both Opunohu Bay and Cook’s Bay (named after Captain James Cook).
Opunohu Bay on the left with Mt. Totui covered in fog from the rain we were having.
Cook’s Bay on the right of Mt. Totui.
If we had a better day for photos this is what the picture would have looked like.
Opunohu Bay to the left, Mt Totui in the middle and Cook’s Bay to the right. A truly stunning vista!
We stopped at a pineapple plantation for a photo op. We grow pineapples at our home in Florida, so seeing pineapples being cultivated was not a surprise for me.
A luscious tropical pineapple almost ready to be picked!
We also stopped at a beautiful river to see the lush vegetation leading up to the mountain in the background.
You could tell it was really raining today by how much water was on the lush foliage.
I think we have these plants as house plants indoors back home! These plants were growing everywhere on Moorea.
Such a delicate bloom!
We finished our day at Moorea’s only black sand beach.
Black sand beaches are created from eroded volcanic material such as lava, basalt rocks and other dark coloured rocks and minerals.
After we finished up at the black sand beach, we immediately headed back to Opunohu Bay. As I got out of the pick up truck in the rain, Richard was waiting for me under an awning. He had come to Moorea to take his included boat tour, only to find out that because of the rain, his tour was cancelled, so he had walked around the main street of Opunohu Bay finding a few tourist stores and a pearl store. I was glad he was waiting for me to grab my wet backpack from me, and we were able to get on the next tender to the ship.
After working on the blog this afternoon on our balcony, I decided to see the ship‘s doctor about my left ear, since it still hurts from the lack of equalization yesterday on our helmet aqua safari dive. The doctor took a quick look and also checked my throat and prescribed some Advil cold and sinus 3 times a day for 3 days with food, to help with my ear and sinus issues I’m having with this cold. Luckily my ear drum is intact as I was quite worried after the helmet dive, because I also got a slight nose bleed after doing the dive.
I was finally able to get the photos from the tour operator in Bora Bora, so I am very happy to be able to share them with you now.
Richard hanging onto the rope so he wouldn’t touch the coral.
The fish were very much in my face!
I quite liked this fish. The colours were stunning.
The friendly stingray that apparently comes around every time they do an aqua safari dive.
Kneeling next to the coral reef to see the living wonder.
Richard getting outside his comfort zone.
I’m glad we now have the pictures from our Aqua Safari in Bora Bora. It will be nice to look back at this once in a lifetime experience down the road when we remember this Viking Neptune World Cruise. I wish Richard had been able to go on the boat tour around Moorea today. It is the rainy season though and we have to be mindful of the activities we choose that they might get cancelled, depending on the weather. The included excursions in Moorea were either a bus tour or a boat tour. The bus tours went out of course, because they were covered buses, but not the boats. Oh well. Hopefully Richard can live vicariously through my photos of Moorea because we understand its all downhill from here in terms of beautiful Islands!
We are listening to the tender boats being pulled up as I finish up writing today’s blog. The Captain is changing our itinerary and instead of sailing the 10 nautical miles to Tahiti tomorrow, we are going to sail to Tahiti (Papeete) hopefully at 8pm tonight and will dock there overnight. It is exhausting having back to back port days, especially when I have a cold, am not sleeping well, and have had some pretty active excursions booked. Hopefully with the Advil cold and sinus as well as some cough drops from our friends Gene and Margaret (note to self…bring everything you need in case you get sick including cough syrup and cough drops) I will get a good night’s sleep tonight and can get ready for another big day in port tomorrow in Tahiti! Tahiti is bigger than Bora Bora and Moorea so maybe they even have a pharmacy!