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Published: June 26th 2017
Geo: -17.5327, -149.838
Today the local organising committee had arranged for officials to have a day trip to Moorea, an island about 30 minutes by ferry from Tahiti. This is a volcanic island with majestic green peaks rising sharply skywards. We walked to the Ferry Terminal and departed at 9-15am. The ferry was a large one with comfortable seats and a capacity for vehicles as well. The trip over was fairly smooth and we had a quiche each for breakfast on board.
On arrival there were two buses waiting for us and they took us first to a Viewpoint overlooking the Sofitel Resort. The sandy white beach was beautiful and the bures stood over the shallow water of the lagoon. Stunning. We then continued along the coast around two bays in which Cook had first anchored in 1777. The next stop was at a factory/shop where they process fruits into drinks, some of which are alcoholic. The barman lined up the small glasses for tasting. We first had a fruit juice mix which was 8% alcohol and which was quite refreshing, then liqueurs made from banana and another of ginger (this was described as Pacific viagara!!) and then a Vanilla Cream which was
more to my taste. However, we passed on buying any.
From here it was a steep winding drive to the Belvedere, a scenic lookout in the mountains. The bus took up most of the road and kept beeping as we went around corners. At the top the view was breathtaking. We could see the two bays and the vegetation on all sides. The surrounding peaks were craggy and sharp but covered in flat-topped trees and undergrowth. Our attention was also caught by a rooster strutting around protecting his territory and his family. There was a hen with five small chickens in the grass at the edge of the cliff.
On the way down we encountered another bus on the way up. There was much backing and manipulation and we passed each other with only about 2 or 3 centimetres between us. In fact some of the officials on our bus shook hands with the people on the other one!!
We were then driven back to the beach near the Sofitel.. This was a beautiful expanse of white sand with a shallow light green coloured lagoon, surrounded by a reef over which the waves were crashing.. We changed and swam in the warm water.
The current was quite strong so we had to keep walking against it so as not to drift further along the beach. However, it was an idyllic spot. Our friends from Tahiti then set up a table and provided us with a lunch of make your own baguettes with ham, chicken , tomatoes, cheese, lettuce and condiments, washed down with water or soft drink.Lovely! We stayed there for a couple of hours enjoying the sun, the sand and the stillness of the water.
Then it was back to the ferry and return to the main island where we got ready to attend the Closing Ceremony. This was held in the gardens of the Town Hall of Pirae, a suburb of Papeete. This is a magnificent building with large gardens not far from the track. The usual speeches were made but the ceremony was made very poignant by the presence of the parents and little daughter of Lesley Cantwell, the NZ walker who collapsed with a brain aneurism after her event (no connection) and died this afternoon. She was only 26. A prayer was offered for her and her family. After the thank yous and presentations for the Athletes of the meet
we were served a tasty meal of Chinese food and icecream for dessert. Then some of the teams put on their "cultural acts". The islanders had great local dancers to call on but the Aussies ended up singing "We are One" very badly!!
We "oldies" were then able to return to the hotel for an early night. It had been four days of activity and a couple of late nights so I was very grateful to turn off the light about 10-30pm in anticipation of a good night's sleep! I am getting old!!
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