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Published: September 4th 2011
Around 5:45 p.m. the sun starts to fall. I like to find myself sitting on our top deck looking west. The backdrop is of Moorea, an island outside of Tahiti and the sun perfectly and precisely descends through the mountain peaks cascading its bright rays across the crystal waters and the heat warms my skin.
Our need to explore is at a heightened level more so than others. Almost like a drug. The more we get it the more we want it. When it’s been awhile a need rises inside you and it must be fulfilled. So off to Moorea we go.
We packed our crew car once again with the basic necessities, clothes and liquor. Drove to the ferry, boarded and awaited the adventure ahead. As our ferry cruised across the bays from Papetee to Moorea dolphins welcomed us in by jumping through our wake and riding our waves. A good prophecy I reckon.
Although the terrain is similar to Tahiti, the feeling is immediately different. A slower pace is at hand and the soul of an island is existent. We cruise along the coast on the only road we see. Images of simplistic homes, schools and
towns speckle the shoreline. Our first stop a tattoo convention.
Polynesians are known for their tattoos. The artwork is indigenous to the culture. A usual suspect would have a turtle, shark or stingray surrounded in tribal drawings. This convention had the top 10 best tattoo artists of the South Pacific. Each artist had their own table and was performing their trade as we waltzed around the room. One specific table caught our eye as the artist was using the traditional ways to engrave the skin. He had a hammer type tool and he would pound a needle into the persons skin. This would result in small dots – mosaicking their way into the final piece of art. Unanimously we decided we wanted Polynesian tattoo’s, but agreed such decisions should be made over less alcohol and at a later date.
We continued our trek around the island – passing Cooks Bay the infamous photo spot and onwards to where we would eat lunch. The restaurant of choice was placed on the edge of the water. A few plastic tables were set up and the menu written on a chalkboard. We ordered a few bottles of Rosé, vanilla Mahi Mahi
and Possion-Cru, all of which was freshly caught the morning of and to our delight some of the best food we have ever had. The service was slow, 3 hours to eat lunch but we enjoyed every minute. The 5 of us sat their trading stories of past lives and future plans not caring as the clock hands slide by.
We stayed the rest of the afternoon at “Mark’s place” the only hostel type accommodation on the island. As we approached our hut – every memory of being a kid and wanting to live in a tree came to life. We were staying in our own adult style tree house. An open-air kitchen and bathroom on the first floor lead us upstairs to our studio-style 4 bunk sleeping area. As the afternoon buzz wore off we made sundowners, listened to the boys play guitar and watched the sun fade behind the hills.
We spent the night around a fire listening to a local Tahitian band play. Our Bosun brought his guitar and djembe to the circle and in his glory played along to the beats. The Tahitian fire dancers concluded the night and we scurried back to our
tree house for an airy night of sleep.
Our wishes to sleep in were not honored. The jungle-like safari outside our screens had us up around 5:30 a.m. The combination of dogs, roosters, crickets and other unknown noises were enough to edge off the hangover and perk us up for another full day or exploration.
Our unplanned journey started at a beach where stingrays mix with black tip sharks under a feeding frenzy about a ½ mile off the shore. The locals bring tourists out by dinghy and throw food into the water. The sharks and stingray swim around you, frisking your skin and brushing your feet. The stingrays feel like oily rubber and think anything in your hand is food. Although they were calm and friendly – something about Steve Irwin put an edge on us all. But once again an amazing experience in nature.
From here we took a canoe ride from island to atoll. We ate a fresh lunch, gave each other back rubs and then blissfully passed out on the beach for an afternoon nap. No buildings around, no cars, no noise; just plain and simple natural beauty.
Moorea’s landscape, splendor and
overall feeling won us over. We left the island planning when we could come back. We were told the islands surrounding Tahiti get better and better and I look forward to seeing it true.
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