After waiting for hours we took the 10 minute flight in the afternoon and arrived on the island of Mo’orea. It was the afternoon of Christmas Eve and with the time difference to Europe everybody had already unwrapped the presents and was digesting the Christmas dinner back home.
We were picked up by the host at the airport and brought to a little bungalow in a very nice location in the midst of a garden with mountains in the background and only a short walk from the coast.
Instead of glass pane windows the bungalow had insect screens. These did not only let the pleasant breezes sweep through the bungalow, but also gave us the feeling of being in the middle of a nature park. We heard all kinds of bird and animal noises which was very unfamiliar at first. But soon we got used to them and even enjoyed being woken by bird noises in the morning.
However this open housing was also open to smaller animals and we found out quickly that we had to protect our food from ants. The first time we saw a little lizard in the bungalow Andy almost became deaf from Tini’s yell 😉 But we arranged with the lizards too and when one of them ran over Tini’s foot several days later she was merely startled.
Some time later we found out that Mo’ore’a actually means “yellow lizard” in Tahitian (Mo’o = lizard and Re’a = yellow) and we understood why Mo’orea was given its name…
Compared to Easter Island Mo’orea was first settled roughly 1000 years ago by Polynesians who arrived on canoes coming down from South Asia and were looking for islands to settle to.
Remembering how much fun we had exploring Easter Island by scooter, we rented a scooter to explore the parts of the island we could not reach by foot. Except for one encounter with some barking dogs that came running after the scooter and gave as a good scare, it was a lot of fun cruising around. We stopped at lookouts, beaches and little villages around the island and made sure to take our time. Still the entire route was only 93 kilometers…
Carrying our small GPS tracker we recorded our circling around the island by scooter. Here you can see an interactive Google map (if you wait for it to load you can zoom in on all parts of the trek; be careful when using the mouse wheel while the mouse cursor is located on the map!):
From above, the shape of the island vaguely resembles a heart, with its two nearly symmetrical bays opening to the north side of the island. As you can see the weather is not that blue-sky-perfect at this time of the year. However the few showers we got caught in only lasted a few minutes and really did feel like showers with the warm rain.
One of our first stops was Belvedere lookout in the middle of the island, from where we had a good view over the Ōpūnohu Bay (left) and Cook’s Bay (right):
Of course we also passed by some flowers that caught our attention on the way:
For lunch we found a little restaurant along the street and chose a platter with different fish dishes: On the right you can see Tahiti’s national dish called Poisson Cru (red tuna marinated in an aromatic blend of lime juice and coconut milk). Besides that we had some Sashimi and fried shrimp:
Although the sky was cloudy, it was pretty hot and we had to be careful to not get a sunburn. Especially around the beaches:
On the picture below you can see the island of Tahiti in the background. That’s where our 10 minute flight to Mo’orea started 🙂
On our ride we passed by dozens of beautiful views. Characteristic to most of them is the perfectly turquoise water with the reef in the background:
Looking inland one can see the volcanic nature of the island. When we arrived we were surprised that the island is so green:
And some more spots from along the way:
The local and most popular beer is Hinano which has been brewed on Tahiti close to Papeete since 1955. Its logo depicts an archetypal vahine (native female islander) which as Andy noticed at some point only has four toes.
Taste wise it is very light with a nice crispness and hardly any after taste making it just the right refreshing beer for the warm climate 🙂
The Christmas makeup of the can wishing “Joyeuses Fêtes!” were one of the few things reminding us that it was Christmas on Mo’orea…
Besides missing our families and friends for Christmas we spent some very relaxing days in Mo’orea.
Of course Tini did not have to go without a Christmas present either as she got a Tahitian black pearl from Andy!