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                    MOOREA, Society Islands

 

Cooks Bay

July 14 
Finally we made a break for beautiful Moorea and anchored a few days in Cook's Bay, which is much more the perceived vision of the South Pacific than Tahiti.

The spire of Mont Mouaputa stands majestically at the head of the bay, famous for the backdrop in the film South Pacific.
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The Island by Scooter

We rented a scooter and circumnavigated Moorea. It is a magnificent island with steep green mountains and turquoise water below. There are lush, jungle gardens along the way with only occasional groups of shops to mar the beauty.


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From Belvedere Point, there was a fabulous view of the anchorage at Cook's Bay and also the anchorage next to it, Opunohu, where we spent a few days anchored before we left for Bora Bora.

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Hike to Waterfall  

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Along the way we stopped to take a hike to the waterfall. That proved to be a good excuse for a hike, as the waterfall was far from spectacular and was mostly dried up, but it was a good destination point.

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The road runs the perimeter of the island, where people live scattered along the shoreline. Not as much of the white sandy beach as I expected but we did find a few areas that weren't gobbled up by a hotel. And everywhere that magical palette of turquoise and blue that looked illuminated by underwater lights. We took advantage of the amenities of a 5 star resort and had a cold (and pricey) drink shore side.

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In keeping with the Polynesian flavour, the hotels have adopted the format of thatched roof cottages over the lagoon, rather than high-rise hotel buildings. We were quoted $1000 US per night at one of these resorts!  

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Just as we were finishing our island tour, we met up with Billabong, Island, Sonata and Waking Dream who had also rented scooters for the day.

That evening, we got together with Solstice on Ascension and Gord and Doug jammed together for a while.

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The sailing cruiseship "Windsong" seemed to anchor almost everywhere we went.

Busy Bay of Opunohu

July 16

We moved the boat to an anchorage just inside the reef in the adjoining Bay of Opunohu which was very beautiful but a little more busy than what we had been use to. There was a local school of sailing dinghies all around on most days, very colorful but you had to watch out, as one bonked into the side of our boat one day.

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Swimming with the Sting Rays

Although there was great snorkeling near the  boat, we took the long dinghy ride to visit the area where you can swim with the stingrays. There was an area that the stingrays were so friendly (as a result of being fed by the hotel) that they would literally crawl all over you in waist deep water. It was a little disconcerting at first when we also saw sharks VERY close. Apparently, they were also used to being fed!

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Luckily Marv and Donna (Endless) arrived in time to come with us because our dinghy engine quit and they had to tow us. But the experience with the rays was amazing.  

Since there was only a couple of days left on our visas, and we needed to get our bond money back, we had to leave this little paradise and move on. We had already been delayed a day because of a squall that came up and it was just too nasty out there. We had hoped to make a stop in Huahine on the way to Bora Bora. 

Turning Back

Finally the next evening, we pulled anchor and headed out into the moonless night with Marv and Donna on Endless. Immediately we realized that the autopilot was not working. For 2 hours we tried to get the Windvane to steer the boat with no luck. The winds and seas were building more and more the further we got from land, so we made the decision to turn around and head back to the anchorage. It was hard finding our way through the reef in the dark but we managed, with the help of all our friends in the anchorage who guided us with radio and lights. Marv and Donna continued on, so we decided  to meet up with them later in Huahine.

 

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