It was very refreshing to see the green mountains of Moorea after a month in the flat Tuamotus. Like the other Society Islands, Moorea is surrounded by a reef which forms a lagoon around the island and so you have both the mountains and the clear blue water with coral grounds.
Being Tahiti’s little neighbour, the island is much more touristy than the Marquesas or the Tuamotus, and there is a considerable amount of traffic and many hotels, souvenir shops and restaurants, as well as larger supermarkets.
After two weeks eating coconuts in the South of Fakarava, where a tomato is worth gold and mangos don’t exist, I was craving for fresh fruits and veggetables. Luckily, Moorea is a large pinneaple producer, mango trees are everywhere, and we arrived at the beginning of the avocado season.
In Maharepa anchorage at the entrance of Cook’s bay, we reunited with Inga and Peter, and together we went off exploring the island’s mountains and valleys. In Vaianae, a beautiful valley in the South of Moorea, we met Tuke, a local producer of vanilla. He took us around his plantation explaining us how carefully he has to polinize the plants flower by flower when the time comes, and how he dries the vanilla when the fruit it is ready. He also gave us plenty of fruit from his plantation, and we felt like we were in the Marquesas again.
We sailed to Papeete, the capital of Tahiti and biggest city in French Polynesia, to do some medical checks and paperwork to apply for a New Zealand work visa. Although we were kind of psychologically prepared for it, the city and the traffic were a big shock. Papeete is everything but “peaton” friendly, and everyday we ended up nakered after running errands walking up and down along a stinky and noisy road.
After a week in the city, we were very happy to come back to Moorea. This time we anchored in the entrance of Oponohu bay, and I had an amazing time snorkelling with rays, they come so close that you can touch them!
Now we have to keep going West and after having said goodbye to some of our lucky boat friends who are staying for another season in French Polynesia, tonight we leave on a night passage to Huahine, probably our last stop in this magic country.