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Published: March 24th 2014
Love on the seas
This. Place. Is. AMAZING! When we hopped on the ferry boat to head here from Tahiti, we didn't know just how beautiful the island we were approaching would be. There she was, out of the water and clouds like heaven on Earth. Spiking her green and magnificent mountain tops into the air, piercing through a perfect halo of white fluffy clouds, floating there like a dream in the bluest water I've ever seen. So blue, it made you think the colors in the Crayola box crayons were dull and boring. This is like the story books tell us as children, dreaming of far away and exotic lands.
When we arrived, we had arranged a stay at the Polynesian (Tiahura) Dream Lodge, a private bungalow home on the lagoon on the West side of the island. Unfortunately, the services of this private bungalow were not so great, leaving us in the dust many times. We waited for over an hour at the ferry station for our transport to the home, and once we arrived, we never saw the management again, even the day we left. Our hot tub didn't heat correctly (it was cold water with jets and lights), but we
with Moorea Boat Tours
made the best of it anyways and snuggled up along side the lagoon, gazing at the perfect starry skies above us through the coconut trees. Because of the storms that had passed through the islands, the internet connection wasn't properly working. Though we were told it would be fixed, it never was. The TV connections weren't working properly either which was a bummer on the rainy days, but fortunately there are plenty of "rainy day activities" for honeymooners to come up with that don't involve TV.
The mosquitoes on this island were worse than the other one. Due to the humidity from the storms, the leaky moist roof above the patio, and the water front location, I was doomed. I still have scars all over my legs! Luckily, I was drenched in "Eau de KILL THOSE DAMN BUGS" and went to war with them (coming out victoriously by the end of the trip)!
We had our own private kayaks that we took to go just about anywhere. We only rented a car for a couple of days to get us to other parts of the islands that the kayaks wouldn't reach. At first, management was ok at our
Joel catches a good one
facility, helping us book our car rental and an AMAZING ATV tour. This tour took us through all of the mountains, rivers, pineapple fields, crop fields, cliff sides, and some of the most fun terrain to go off-roading on! Luckily my Honey Bun let me take the lead and he rode B* for my wild ride on rough terrain. I'm pretty sure he was terrified, but we won't ever really know if he peed his pants while I was driving, since I soaked us going full speed through mud and water.
When we rented our vehicle, we trekked around the whole island, searching for beach breaks. See, I've been off from athletics for the past 3-4 months. With the wedding planning, cold water season, and a hairline fractured femur from a horse riding incident at home, I needed to take some time off to heal and get things together for that giant wedding. A beach break would have given me the opportunity to boost my confidence and build up my strength. Unfortunately, Moorea is not that spot for such surfing. We ended up finding a giant cascade, but just as we began venturing towards it, the rain came pouring,
Joel and a bird of paradise
and the pathway up looked a bit terrifying.
The wild dogs on these islands were insane. They let them run astray everywhere, puppies and all. It's important not get caught in groups of them at night, and to know one word in Tahitian, "ESH!" This keeps them away from you at quite an honorable distance. We got one chance to try it out, and it worked well!
Management at the lodge had told us they would reserve us a spot at the BBQ luau performance at the neighboring "Intercontinental Resort". Due to weather, it was held inside, and due to poor communication on management's part, we had no reservation. Luckily, they weren't busy, and we got in anyhow. The food was pretty great with a giant selection of all you can eat Tahitian food! The performers were wonderful, especially with their fire dances. I even got pulled up on stage to dance with the men, and I think I did pretty well considering how the other tourists looked, hahaha! My dancing partner even gave Joel a nod of approval as he saw us pass by him at the end of the night on our way out. Nice to
Off Road Adventuring
Now I'm at the wheels!
know that Tahitians can appreciate a little blonde chick who tries to hula!
The rest of our stay was saved by the grace of two AMAZING human beings we befriended on this trip. Nani & Heifara run Moorea Boat tours, a family owned and operated business that takes visitors on magnificent tours of the waters of Moorea. The original founders of the whale swims that are world renown in Moorea, Nani & Heifara make it their life's mission to educate visitors on the natural habitats, behaviors, and graceful presence of these creatures and SO many more! Nani made sure to help us with our trip guidance, as we were neighboring their house, and spent lots of time with them outside of our tours we booked with them. Unfortunately due to poor seasonal timing, we weren't there for the proper whale swims. On our tours, we were taken to Haapiti, a world class surf spot with HEAVY waves. They seemed so manageable, until the current would drag you into the double over head barreling bowl that seemed impossible to get out of unless you caught a wave over the reef. I came out with zero waves but also zero reef
45 min with a knife and determination, Joel gets his time's worth.
rash or drowning incidents. However, the incredible white water (like stampeding horses through the waves *Nani*) took me for a good spin into the shallower reef and back on my way to the boat, which seemed to drift further and further away, even with each paddle. Joel got lots of good waves along with Heifara. It was an incredible time, despite my fail, yet honorable attempt.
Next, we drift snorkeled the Motus with the MOST INCREDIBLE water I'd dove in. Joel and I had kayaked over to the same spot from our house a day or so before, so the familiar setting gave us a comfortable chance to get up close and personal with the sea life. We saw every type of fish you can imagine including flounders, parrot fish, Moray eels, angel fish, and more! We even had a few chances to get really up close and personal with black tip sharks and giant sting rays! All while immersed in the bluest waters on Earth.
Because I didn't get a chance to catch many waves (even the break out front of our home had me a bit worried, with the 3 ft of water separating us from
the reef below, and the on-shore winds pushing the waves down on top of us), Heifara and Nani took us out for a joy ride behind the boat, scurfing! This is where we are towed behind the boat on our boards, using the wake of the boat to play upon. Joel of course showed me up, as always!
We went to several amazing places to eat while on the island. Nani took us for an amazing treat of a place called, "Tropical Gardens'. The woman who owns this facility grows all of her own organic EVERYTHING. From fruits, vanilla, tiare flowers, and even her own bees for honey! Not only is she keeping it organic, but she is also helping our environment, especially with bee keeping! The food was traditional Tahitian food. It was DIVINE! Next, we tried out a recommended spot called, "Chez Fifi". Fifi specialized in crepes, which were absolutely amazing! The crepes were so fresh, along with the fruit toppings. I ordered a Shrimp Marseilles that was OFF THE CHARTS and explosive in taste! It was the best I've ever had. Then we ventured over to a pizza joint, "Pizza Daniel" with Nani & Heifara that
Joel gets come air behind the boat
used real brick ovens to create the most wonderful hand tossed pizza. The service was FAST, and even though my French is rusty from the times I lived over seas, I was able to enjoy some great conversations with the owners, who found creative and fun ways to communicate, along with the help from our amazing guides. I forgot to mention, the ferry boat in Tahiti has an amazing place to eat up stairs as you wait. Their fish is perfectly fresh, just as anywhere on this island. It wasn't anywhere as brilliant as the amazing Snack Mahana in Moorea though. Snack Mahana is a visually deceiving little place. Situated on the side of the road through Opanahu-bay, Snack Mahana boasts a PERFECT ocean view behind their small building front. With coconut palms, wood tables, a PERFECT ocean breeze, and the freshest fish on either island. I enjoyed their Poisson Cru Aue Lait du Coco. This is a dish of raw tuna soaked in coconut milk and special ingredients such as green onions, lime, and ginger. Paired with a white wine and followed by a chocolate dessert, I was in HEAVEN.
Because of our long stay on the island,
Face to face encounters with Moorea Boat Tours
we made sure we bought groceries in the market as well. Along with groceries, we discovered some Tahitian favorites such as Hinano beer, Tahiti Drink, & Monoi oils made with real Tiare flowers. We even stopped to check out a local loose pearl shop, "Woody's Pearls", and got ourselves a few little oceanic gems. I even got to play a hand carved harp he had made for his daughter, along with some of his hand carved and BEAUTIFUL ukuleles. At the lodge, we were accompanied by a wonderful little house cat that I very much fell in love with. I couldn't remember her French name, so I went ahead and called her MiMi, which is what she sounded like as she meowed. She slept with us every night and kept me great company as I missed my own pets back home. Joel agreed we had a special little connection going on, as she followed me everywhere, and sat next to us at the dinner table in her own chair, politely joining us for our dinner conversations. While home and surrounded by coconut trees, we decided to venture into the art of "coconut husking". Joel's first attempt with a green one
Swinging in Style
Hammock action on the boat at Haapiti
and a pocket knife took him about 45 min and the water in this thing was ENDLESS. Then after a few tips, I was able to puncture one open with a sharp rock and some banging in about 10 min (with Joel's help husking it apart). However, I punctured the nut too, leading in a coconut water shower for Joel. Eventually, Heifara and Nani tipped us off on how the real locals do it. Their favorite method, "give it to the dog to chew on", which usually takes a few days. 😉
Our last night in Moorea, we had a final dinner on the water side at a WONDERFUL little hotel, "Fenua Mata'i'oa", privately owned by a beautiful couple. The owner's husband is a four star chef from France, who knows how to cook up an amazing meal that was to DIE for. His wife, manager, and owner of the facility, Eileen (a native to Moorea) made for a wonderful hostess. So welcoming and inviting, she made up a beautiful setting for us with flowers, adornments, and water side seating, to fully be immersed in romance. We plan to make our next stay with them when we return for
Heifara Gets a Big One
Haapiti was going off!
whale season in two Winters. 😊
Special thank you to Nani & Heifara of Moorea Boat Tours for making our trip so special!!!!! Anyone who is visits Moorea MUST book their tours with them! They are absolutely are the BEST! Tell them Michelle & Joel sent you! 😉
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