Tahiti & Mo'orea, Society Islands, French Polynesia

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Oceania » French Polynesia » Moorea
December 2nd 2007
Published: July 13th 2015
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Having missed out on Nuie and Rarotonga where the sea was too high to get people onto tenders - although landing would have been possible - we arrived at Tahiti a day and a half early, on Sunday morning rather than Monday evening. However, we also had the promise of an extra stop at Bora-Bora, all being well. We were able to disembark very early - at about 8 am - and this being French, we had no problems with the cash machines. In fact, we had decided on the basis of both advice and documentation to spend the day on Mo'orea, a neighouring island where we wanted to hike. Mo'orea was formed as a volcano 1.5 to 2.5 million years ago, the result of a Society hot spot in the mantle under the oceanic plate that formed the whole of the Society Archipelago. The highest point is Mount Tohi'e'a, near the centre of the island. It dominates the vista and can be seen from Thaiti.

Mo'orea is one of the Windward Islands, 17 km (11 miles) northwest of Tahiti. Mo'orea means "yellow lizard" in Tahitian.
We had our Pacific francs and our round-trip ferry tickets by 8.20 so paid a brief visit to the Syndicate d'Initiative (Tourist Office) where we obtained good info on all French Polynesian islands from friendly, English-speaking staff. We boarded the ultra modern ferry just before 9.00 for the short 30 minute crossing. Being a Sunday, there were a few folk on it; some American tourists and a good number of French local residents, but not that many indigenous at the weekend. On arriving at the Vai'are Wharf in Vai'are Bay in Mo'orea we plotted our route; which we figured would take 2 hours - according to the Lonely Planet guide book - but it did say take a guide too!

The trip took over five hours, most of which was glorious and in virgin rain forest. And yes, it did rain, but in the jungle, you don't get wet; the tall trees take the hit. We had great views of stunning landscapes, came across a bamboo jungle, giant ferns and no end of different trees. The going was very hard at times with steep, slippery slopes both up and down and paths, once maintained, that had been degraded on the edge of steep slopes. Quite an experience, but M did get a bit messy having fallen half a dozen times! Especially as she was wearing white trousers!

Still, the downside was that by the time we got back to the ferry port all the stores were closed, it being a Sunday and we could only get water at the filling station. We did though get a beer on the ferry back to Pape'ete.

That evening we had an excellent Chinese meal at one of the hawker stands near the ship. However, the heavens opened and we only just avoided a serious soaking. All in all, a very good day after our ealier disappointments.

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