After spending our first night on the boat at the marina in Tahiti, it was time to set sail. Moorea was a mere 3 hours away on low winds, and its shape as we approached was glorious. The steep green peaks rising over the calmed deep blue waters of Cook’s Bay and Opunohu Bay were a sight I won’t forget. We anchored at Opunohu and jumped on our dinghy to get to the motus (small islets formed on the reef) off Hauru Point.
We landed on the motu Tiahura, after a 45 min dinghy ride and a small incident with our motor ‘touching’ the corals. The water was transparent and warm, and there were several small boats anchored on the shallows, with locals and day trippers enjoying themselves. We snorkeled for a bit, saw lots of colorful fish and a couple of sting rays. But the days were short and we hadn’t been particularly efficient in the morning, so we didn’t have time for much more before heading to shore to arrange our diving for the following day. It was an exciting first day of sailing that left us wanting more.
The next morning we were picked up by the dive masters directly on our catamaran, which was very convenient. We headed to a nearby site called Eden Park; unfortunately we couldn’t get an operator to take us to the famous sites like Tiki Point or Taotoi Pass. Still, our site offered some epic encounters: first a playful turtle, then a few small reef sharks, and finally some large lemon sharks. One day we’ll come back to French Polynesia to dive the shark wall in Fakarava.
The diving boat dropped us off at the beach by the Intercontinental Hotel, were we split into smaller groups. Our friends joined island tours or rented cars, while Elena and I chose to start exploring on foot. Walking west, we were rewarded by the discovery of an absolutely perfect beach, all for ourselves. A thin strip of soft sand covered by palm trees, giving access to a turquoise lagoon. We devoured our picnic lunch, tanned standing in the shallows and swam against the current in the deep pass, until getting exhausted.
We still wanted to check out some of the other parts of the island, so we walked back to the populated area and enquired about cars, motorbikes and taxis. All sounded unreasonably expensive, and instead we decided to try our luck hitchhiking. Great decision! We quickly met a local guy, Gustavo, who agreed to drive us around the island for $20, a fraction of what we would have paid for any touristy option. The highlight of our ride, apart from trying to communicate with Gustavo, was the Belvedere (lookout) in the middle of the island. Stunning views of the cliffs and the two perfect bays we had sailed. A perfect ending to a perfect day.
PS: Credit of some of these pictures goes to Elena, as always, and the rest of the Colibri II crew: Brett, Erica, Fabien, Hayk, Kevin, Mike, Ramon and Trey.