Daily Ramblings - September 24-28, 2008

Wednesday and Thursday, September 24th and 25th - The trip from the Fakarava, Tuamotu to Moorea, Tahiti was 24 hours of rock ‘n roll.  Outside of a few card games and several movies there was little activity on board.  But the approach to Moorea was stunning.  Sharp eroded volcanic spires stand majestically before Opunohu Bay where we anchored.  Tucked in neatly amongst the lava mountains and protected by a coral reef that surrounds the island, we found paradise.

Less than 17,000 people inhabit Moorea – ignoring the over 200,000 tourists that visit each year.  As Mr. Blanc – the head of tourism for Moorea informed us, there are 52 % women, 45% men and 3 % half and half that call Moorea home.  He was generous in giving us an island tour that focused on the agricultural institute.  We learned about pineapples, avocados, papaya…every tropical fruit you can image as well as the exotic flowers they cultivate.

Mr. Blanc’s cell phone rang during our lunch at the oldest resort on the island, informing us that humpback whales had been spotted.

We raced back to the boat, jumped in our dingy and soon were side-by-side three huge whales. They are amazingly huge.

Friday, September 26th - Kirk and Pat Watson, TJ and Lisa Johnson,  JR Russell and Val Smith, and Martin Murray and Hazel Slowey boarded and promise to be entertaining travel companions for this week.

It was an eventful first day beginning by snorkeling with the sting rays.  They would swim right up to you and even snuggle up, obviously hoping for food.  As we were entertained by the rays, black tip shark circled and occasionally swam amongst us.  We moved to a second sight of far deeper water, possibly 50 feet, and snorkeled with the sharks again.  It was fantastic.  Most of us have a phobia yet here we were swimming with them not a few feet away from us.

That evening we boated through a coral passage to an atoll for an evening of Tahitian music, dancing and native food.  It was an incredible evening of local hospitality, culture and fun.  The food is cooked in a pit in the ground for 3 ½ hours…pig, taro, plantains, chopped chicken with greens…it was a special experience.  Including the physical dancing of the young Tahitians and hypnotic music of the musicians and singers.

Saturday, September 27th - Rudolph joined us for whale watching.  With a special listening device we lowered into the sea, we could hear the humpbacks singing and chattering.  Then we pursued them in the direction of their music. We saw several, including one breaching the surface in flight – but quite a distance from us.

Sunday, September 28th - We parked on a private beach with our water toys and veg’d.  The snorkeling was exceptional.

Tonight Molly is breaking in her sun deck kitchen.  Along with Kirk and Pat, Molly is cooking curry chicken with all of the condiments.  It smells extraordinary.

Following dinner we pull up anchor and head for Huahine.