Moorea: Day 5

Another beautiful day in paradise.  

Monday we rented a car for the drive.  It\’s about 40 miles around the island with one main road.   Our first stop was the bay right next to the hotel that had a black-ish sand beach.

Then we drove up, up, up to Belvedere Lookout.  It was stunning!

At the bottom of the mountain there were these amazing trees with vines hanging down.

Then a quick stop for a coconut water for the kid!

 We passed this giant warrior statue and had to stop.  And so glad we did.

There was an amazing beach beyond but Quinn made a pit stop for a couple of dog friends.  

We decided to grab our snorkel gear and head out.   We saw lots of pairs of these angel fish.  

Quinn was great about finding these little shells with creatures inside.  Of course they went back down to the bottom of the ocean.

I love floating over coral heads like these and just watching fish life in action.  Beautiful little aqua fish congregated around this coral head.

 And a look towards the mountains.

One last look before we continue our adventure.

Our cab driver on the way in told us that this overlook was the most photographed spot in the world.  I\’m not sure about that but it was beautiful.  That is the Sofitel hotel below.

A view towards Tahiti.

The shape of the island of Mo\’orea.

Then a late lunch at Moorea Beach Club.

A much needed ice cold Tahitian beer.

Moorea: Day 4

On Sunday morning we were picked up at the hotel pier for a morning of snorkeling.  We were so happy to have only 8 people total on the boat.   Tom was our captain and guide.  

Our first stop was a sand bar where the sting rays and black tipped sharks like to congregate.  It might be because they are fed. 

So we were happy to have only 8 people on our boat but this location probably had about 100 people there when we were there.  It was still great!

The sting rays are like puppys and follow you around and bump into you.  When Tom, our captain, got into the boat for a minute this ray looked like it was trying to climb in with him.  

The sand bar has deep water on the one side so the sharks come in for food and then swim back into the deep.  It was a little unsettling. 

 After the sharks and rays we went to a spot between two motus (islands) to snorkel. 

We walked up the beach and drifted with the current back to the boat.  We didn\’t even have to wear fins. 

A look across the lagoon to Mo\’orea.  I was using the GoPro so there\’s a little distortion and water spots. 

Quinn found a coconut that Tom cracked open for him to drink the water and then cut it in a way so that we could nibble on all the coconut inside.  Yummy!

Then it was back to our hut for an afternoon swim. 

And sunset. 

Moorea: Day 3

Here are a couple of pictures I pulled off the internet that show the resort from above so you can get a better feel for the layout.  There was a long wooden walkway from the beach out to the OWB\’s.  Our OWB was the 6th from the very top right end.   You can kind of make out a larger circular hut in the middle about 6 huts from the beach.  That was the Crepe Restaurant — it was only open for dinner.

And here is an even higher view of the Hilton.  There is a bay on either side of the Hilton and you can see the reef that circles the island.  That reef keeps the current to a minimum so the water is super clear.

I woke up around 6 am so I went out to see the sunrise.

I was sitting out on the deck so I wouldn\’t wake the guys when I saw this guy fly by in the water.

I ran in and woke up Don because we might have a thing for Spotted Eagle Rays.  It\’s a sign of good things to come.

He stayed near our OWB for about 10 minutes feeding and circling, feeding and circling.  It was quite a beautiful sight.

A morning look towards the main hotel.

The hotel has kayaks and StandUpPaddleboards (SUPs) that are free to use.  Quinn was quite a natural on the SUP.   Quinn quoted his TKD master \”if you\’re good at taekwondo then you are good at everything\”.

Don had a little bit of a harder time staying upright but he got the hang of it.  Me, I photographed.

They said it was pretty exhausting to stand and paddle so they took some seated breaks.

A look at our OWB from the water.

There is a planted Coral Garden under the bungalow under the glass window in the floor.   It looks like there are many generations of fish on this coral head.

Quinn coming under the \”bridge\”.

It looks like he\’s catching a wave. 

We broke our family rule of never feeding wildlife!  We broke this rule over and over in Moorea.

One upstairs and one downstairs.

 Saturday was a busy day for us.  We decided to book a Discover Scuba dive with Quinn.  We booked it early in the week in case we wanted to go again.  Quinn with his instructor Phillipe.

I love the fish photobomb!

I was there too!

We were happy to have another dive in the books, but the scuba was just not very interesting so that was our only scuba of the week. 

A 7 second timelapse of the sunset.  None of the sunsets were very dramatic but I guarantee there are many more sunset photos to come. 

On Saturday night the Hilton does their Polynesian Night (Luau).  The food was really, really god but the actual performance was awkward and not so great.

Until they started the fire show on the beach.  This was one of Quinn\’s highlights.

We got back to our room and looked out to see all the stars and the Milky Way!  Unfortunately I did not bring a tripod so this was my best attempt at capturing it.

And Quinn has officially claimed that Moorea is better than St. John.  Don described it best by saying it\’s the best of St. John and Hawaii.  We were definitely falling in love with this little pacific island.

Moorea: Days 1 – 2

We were looking for a new adventure for our vacation this year.  Something relaxing but a different culture and experience.  A friend told me about her trip to Bora Bora and Moorea and that it was an 8 hour direct flight from LAX.  After a little research, it seemed just right. 

It\’s an overnight flight leaving LAX around midnight and arriving in Tahiti at 5 am. 

We were lucky to score a row with 4 seats for the three of us so Quinn was able to stretch out between us.  We all got a decent sleep.  We arrived in the dark.    It was very reminiscent of flying in to St. Thomas. 

We were able to breeze through customs, grab our luggage, catch a taxi to the ferry terminal and were on a 6:05 am ferry headed to Moorea.  It was about a 30 minute ferry ride at sunset with a full moon. 

That\’s the island we are headed for. 

It was a bit windy. 

Once on Moorea we caught a taxi to our hotel and arrived around 7 am.  The hotel puts a small continental breakfast for all the early arrivals and provides for towels and things to get us started. 

A dip in the pool 

Our first look at the Over Water Bungalows (OWB) from the beach.  

We had a swim in the pool and a swim in the ocean and then chilled in the shade. 

Check in is at 2 pm but they said it might be ready early so around 1:30 pm we were able to check in and our luggage was already in the room.  Room #100.  

There is glass on top of the coffee table that sits on top of a glass window so you can see below.   And of course Quinn\’s green blankie came with him. 

A look out to our upper deck that had 2 lounge chairs and a table and 2 chairs.  We had a great view towards the mountains and harbor. 

A look down to the lower deck.  There is a fresh water shower on the lower deck.  The water was the clearest we have ever seen.  It was about 4 feet deep around the deck and in most of the lagoon area.   The water temperature was about 80 degrees — refreshing!

A look out towards the harbor.  The lagoon had just the right amount of sand and coral heads.  It was like looking into an aquarium.  

The hotel brought us a welcome gift of a small bottle of champagne and some macaroons. 

Every day I was down on that lower deck around 5 pm to check out the sunset. 

It wasn\’t super dramatic but a peaceful descent. 

There are several lights under the bungalow so you could even look in the water at night. 

The room had a king size bed and a couch that converted into a bed.  It was a good size for our family of 3.  We crashed hard and slept really well. 

This is going to be a good week!