Thursday, July 6, 2017

Moorea, Society Islands


Moorea, Society Islands
June 3-6

I've been good about posting a blog for each place we have visited. If you're looking for the Tahiti post, there isn't one. After sailing the better part of 40+ hours, we came upon Tahiti at dawn. Tahiti greeted us with pointed green mountains protruding out of the ocean with a smell reminiscent of a deep fryer. As we skirted around the island to make our way across Papette to our marina we couldn't help but notice the smog drifting between Tahiti and Moorea. Not exactly what we were anticipating. Smog? Out here? Gross. Sailing closer to our destination we also noticed that the water had a slick to it, dirty, oily, water. The one and only picture I took of Tahiti is below. Not exactly the honeymooners paradise we had heard about. I truly hope that anyone coming to Tahiti flies into Papette and then is quickly transported to another spot on the island, assuming there's a gorgeous palm tree lined beach somewhere. We never saw any. The best part of Tahiti was sailing away from it towards Moorea.

Tahiti's much more attractive sister, Moorea!


 Sailing into Cooks Bay, Moorea is just what we were needing. Absolutely jaw dropping. I had read somewhere that Moorea was a great place to hike and was eager to lead the family up to The Belvedere, a lookout point with spectacular views. With snacks and water packed we headed out for a quick hike up to the point. Standing adjacent to pineapple fields, which smelled delicious, we could easily make out Cooks Bay, Mount Rotui and the Opunohu Valley below.

Rather than walk back the same way we came up, we decided it might be more adventurous to walk down the other side of the slope. Near the top of Belvedere we had met "Dog." Dog saw us and immediately ran down her driveway, out on to the street and began following us with a huge smile and a tail that wagged so fast she could have taken off just like a helicopter. We love animals and thought she would make a good tour guide, so we allowed her to accompany us on our hike.


Once over the slope we headed down into Opunou Valley where at the Opunohu Ranch we spotted horses next to over grown banyan trees.


Continuing further the valley opened up to flat pasture and we passed cows and other horses, Dog leading us the entire way.

"Do you think you know where we're going?"

Maybe it's because I had started to consult my map a few too many times, that the rest of the family was starting to doubt my hiking route.

"We're good. Just keep walking, we'll come to the main road and from there we can take a bus back."

By the time we hit the main road, 5 miles later, people were starting to get tired. Not Dog, she was still ready to go. Sitting on the bus stop bench waiting for the bus on a narrow road, "what are we going to do about this dog who followed us here? We can't just get on the bus and leave her here. She'll get hit by a car."  Phil offered to walk the dog back to the path we had just left in hopes that she would head back home, about 3 miles in the opposite direction. I watched as he walked her back, pointed his finger at her and was undoubtedly telling her to "stay."  Thirty seconds after he turned around and headed back to the bus stop, Dog followed. Now what?

Looking at the map again, I could see that it would be another 5 miles walk if we decided to forgo the bus and walk back to Cooks Bay. "Maybe we should just walk back and take her with us, there doesn't seem to be a bus coming anyways. It's only a couple miles."  With a reluctant family following, we started back on the thin winding road, with Dog still following. An hour later we spotted a place to grab an ice cream. Knowing how much farther we had to go, I quickly offered to buy the girls a treat. "I thought you said we only had a couple miles to go?"   I decided to fess up and admit we still had 3 miles to go. If looks could kill, I would have been murdered a thousand times over.

The last mile was spent exchanging complaints and watching Dog dart in front of oncoming traffic. Every time the stupid dog would run out from the street, I would close my eyes. There was no way I could watch this hound get hit by a car and she seemed oblivious to any danger. Poor Phil has a bum ankle from a rock climbing incident that left him with pins holding his ankle together after two different surgeries. His pimp limp (which he gets when his ankle starts to hurt) had turned into a full blown hobble. The type of hobble that would make anyone believe he has the peg leg of a pirate, only thing missing from his ensemble was a squawking parrot on his shoulder.

I had kept a pretty good poker face up until this point, although I was secretly dying. I finally admitted, "I swear, in the past 2 hours, both ostioperosis and arthritis have taken over my body. I'm numb from the waist down. There's about 2 pounds of f*#@ing gravel in each of my shoes, tearing up my feet."  Phil felt zero sympathy. "You and your damn hikes. This sucks! I'll need a wheelchair!"


The only positive aspect to our now 10 mile, four and a half hour hike was that the grocery store would be open (they close down every day between noon and 2pm). The four of us each limped into the grocery store, Emma grabbing fresh out of the oven baguettes, Jessica snatching up sodas, I grabbed chocolate stuffed croissants and Phil went for the large cans of local beer. We sat at a shaded picnic table devouring our snacks, Dog passed out, laying next to us.

" I can't believe we walked an extra 5 miles today, because of this damn dog."

Actually, we would have had to walk home anyways. Per usual, it was some sort of holiday and the buses were not running. The joke on the islands is that the French have holidays 5 days a week.

We attempted to make a get away since Dog was in a deep sleep. No such luck. As soon as we made an attempted escape, she woke up, and followed us to the dinghy dock. Last we saw Dog, she was still smiling and wagging her tail as we dinghied away from her, hoping she would somehow make it home. With only 20 days left on our visas, we are leaving today for Huahine.

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