June 9, 2015. Moorea
In the middle of the night, the light of Tahiti appeared on the horizon, from a far distance It looked weird, how can we see the island from 40 nautical miles? We were tired being up all day and nights, sleeping only couple hours here and there. As we sailed closer to Tahiti we had to be more alert. Tahiti has the biggest port in the French Polynesia and not mentioned the fishing boats out in the middle of the night.
With our slow speed it felt an eternity to pass Tahiti and finally to get closer to Moorea.
As we waited for the sunrise to help us to navigate through the coral reefs to get into Baies de Cook in Moorea the engine did not want to start. without engine power we were useless. Slowly started drifting westward until we solved the battery problem. Took about half an hour to roar up the Yanmar again, but at this time we drifted away from Cook bay. However on our beam a breathtaking bay called Baie d’Opunohu with its turquoise water, palm trees on the shore and the impressive bulk of Mont Tohieva along the spire of Mont Mouaroa behind the bay. This bay is not just famous of being the one of the most photographed bay in the world, but also the backdrop in the film version of “South Pacific”.
We dropped anchor behind the reefs, where the white sandy bottom was clearly visible and the shore was a short dingy ride. As soon as we finished washing the boat from the heavy sea salt, a friendly neighbour introduced himself. We learned a lot from him about the area since he and his family is a permanent picture of the bay. They have been anchoring there for couple years. They sailed out of St Petersburg about 10 years ago and since they live-aboard. As soon as he found out that I have a Hungarian background, he pointed to the sailboat behind us. The Hungarian flag was flying on her stern. What a small world. They left Europe almost a year ago on a self build 38 feet sailboat “Dora” it took him 7 Years to build his boat in his backyard. What a wonderful family.
Not to far from us the luxurious Polynesian style bungalows were standing in the turquoise water, surrounded with colourful corals. It was so inviting that we had to take a dingy ride there. It turned out that, that was the Hilton Moorea Resort. After couple of month of sailing I was starving for that kind of luxury and for a delicious mojito. Fortunately the happy hour started at 4pm so the timing could not been better. Also, they had a Polynesian night with live entertainment that night and a mouth watering lam was rotating on an open fire barbecue, so going back to the boat for dinner would have been a terrible mistake. The show stared right after dinner and about hour and a half latter it finished with the fire show on the beach. I just love the Polynesian culture.
The following morning started like every morning on the anchorage right after I got out of bed, I was diving into the water for a refreshing swim around the boat. Followed by my favourite Panama Joe coffee. While I was sipping on my hot coffee, I remembered of Max the Russian neighbour’s comment about feeding the Sting rays nearby. This place was a half an hour dingy ride towards the Intercontinental Resort. As we arrived there I just could not believe in my eyes. Hundreds of sharks and sting rays were swimming in a crystal clear water. it was scary at first sight, fortunately some locals were in the water playing and feeding the Rays with fish by hand. We joined them shortly after and that was one of the most fun ever. We were laughing, screening like children, when the sting rays were swimming up to our neck after they took a peace of fish from my hand while the Sharks were circling around us peacefully. We left some fish for them as well but it was only given to them from the dingy, it was exciting to see the way the sharks were fighting for our fish. It was a perfect and unforgettable afternoon.