After 2 fantastic days in Bora Bora, we arrived in Moorea, the last island that we would be visiting on our Paul Gauguin Cruise of the Society Islands in the French Polynesia. Moorea is noticeably much more rugged and mountainous than the other islands that we visited during this cruise, but is one the largest with a total size of approximately 134 sq km and a population of just over 16,000. It boasts beautiful white sand beaches and lush tropical vegetation that makes the island the perfect destination for exploring on land or in the water.
After our buffet breakfast in La Veranda (shown in previous blogs), we had a little time before our shore excursion in the afternoon, so we headed to the top 2 decks to take in the beauty of Moorea:
It was now time to take the Tender Boat to the dock in Moorea fro our shore excursion. With the beauty of Moorea, just taking to Tender Boat was a sightseeing adventure:
As usual, we had a wide range of activities to choose from in regards to a shore excursion in Morrea (I will list them all below). We chose “Morrea by Catajet” – the description reads in part: “Get an up=-close look at Tahiti’s idyllic beauty from above and below sea level during this catajet and snorkeling adventure in Moorea…you will explore the beauty of the tropical fish an coral formations…you will have an opportunity to play with stingrays.” I want you to remember the “tropical fish” part of that description as you scroll through the photos below…
We arrived at the dock and took another small boat to the location for our catajet tour:
Some of the people on our cruise were here for the Waverunner adventure:
But we were looking forward to the catajets. The catajet seats 2 people side by side and also provided a box for storage:
We spent some time following our guide around the waters of Moorea as he took us to different areas of interest. These catajets could actually move a pretty good rate:
With our exploring of the island complete it was time to do a little snorkeling among the “tropical fish” and play with stingrays. We could already see the stingrays as we arrived:
They were definitely friendly and we were also able to pet and feed them as well:
But what about those tropical fish? Well, they arrived pretty quickly after the stingrays were starting to receive their snacks from us. I guess these fish were hoping to have a little snack as well…
And here they are:
Yup… Sharks! The tropical fish were sharks. No, we were not told that there would be sharks, or that we would be in the water with them, or that the guides would be holding handfuls of food while feeding the stingrays (or as I mentioned to the guide…. chumming the water). In fact, we did not really encounter any other fish of note on this catajet tour. But once my shock wore off (as well as those of the other members of our group), it was a fantastic experience.
The one facing me in this photo ended swimming right past me with mere inches in between:
I talked to the guide afterwards about the sharks and he explained, that these were Blacktip Reef Sharks and (here is where it gets a bit sad) for decades groups like ours have come by multiple times a day and these sharks have, for lack of better term, become somewhat domesticated. A quick search on Wikipedia to read about them provided this “Timid and skittish, the blacktip reef shark is difficult to approach and seldom poses a danger to humans unless roused by food.” Causes me to question chumming the water again, but… I totally felt safe while in the water with them. However, I do feel that there should be mention of the sharks in the description of the excursion or from the guides prior to instructing us to get in the water. It was however, an amazing experience.
Once our excursion was completed, we returned to ship and enjoyed the drink of the day by the pool while talking with many of the friends we had made over the past few days.
We had reserved a table at Le Grill (located on the pool deck) for dinner this evening and as our friends parted to leave for their respective dinner locations, we stayed poolside and took it a gorgeous sunset over Moorea:
I must say, the dinner at Le Grill stands out to me as my favourite dinner of the entire cruise. With the lighting, being outside with Moorea surrounding us on a perfect evening of weather, and of course the food. This is the dinner was truly special:
After dinner, we had made plans to meet some friends at the piano bar prior to going to that nights show in the Grand Salon. While at the piano bar, we were also entertained by Les Gauguines with an impromptu performance in the hall:
The show in the Grand Salon was “Te Mau Mama No Fa’Ato’Ai To’A”. It was a great interactive show incorporating culture, songs, music and dance of French Polynesia:
We had a very eventful, and what I feel to be the one of the best days of our cruise in Moorea.
Again, there was no shortage at all in the choices for shore excursions in Moorea:
- A Day at the Beach
- Island Drive and Belvedere
- Stingrays and Snorkeling by Nautilus Semi-submersible
- Dolphin Watching Expedition
- Moorea by clear Kayak
- Fast paced Belvedere by E-bike
- Slow paced Belvedere and Pineapple Valley by E-bike
- Lagoon Discovery with Snorkeling
- Waverunner Adventure
- Trail of the Ancients with Mark Eddowes
- Aito Off Road Safari
- AquaBlue – Underwater Walk (Helmet Dive)
- Sunset Sail
- Botanical & Agricultural Walk
- Capture Moorea – Photo Adventure
- Catamaran Sail & Snorkel
- Hike to the Three Coconut Trail of Moorea
- Moorea by Catajet
- BBQ on Motu and Snorkeling
- ATV Guided Tour
- Deep Sea Fishing
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