Having fun in Mo’Orea

Early Friday afternoon we headed over to James and Mary’s water bungalow for our final get together.   This was supposed to be a quick visit as they had to leave very early the following morning but, despite good intentions, we ended up staying out quite late and were also joined by their neighbours Bob and Anna.   At one point Richard even returned to Morphie to get more supplies and put anchor lights on.  Was a really good evening!   Shame they had to leave us, but I know we’ll see each other again some day. 

Oh yes, and remember the picture of me surrounded by giant ferns on our day out in Mo’Orea?   Well what we didn’t know at the time was that they are poisonous….and I got contact rashes on both of my arms.    My right arm is feeling a lot better now – thanks to James and Mary’s medical knowledge and potions – but still looks pretty awful even after 10 days!      

Saturday morning we were up at a reasonable hour and got on with preparations for the final varnish coat.  Finally, around 2pm, we had finished.   We will need to do the whole rail again in a few months but the keepers will definitely protect the wood for now….and the eyebrow and under the rail will probably be OK for the rest of the season.   During the afternoon it decided to rain quite hard but, luckily, the varnish had dried enough that it didn’t get ruined so remains nice and shiny.    The rest of the day we spent on board just chilling out.

Sunday morning and we decided to have a lazy start.    We did the laundry and generally just mooched around and had a quiet day.    We were upset to receive an update that our friend’s boat which hit the reef in Huahine had been deemed unrepairable and they are now going to have to pay to get her off, to be made safe in terms of pollutants/hazards, and then sunk 13 miles away in international waters.   They are not insured and this is their home so our hearts goes out to them – after paying heavily for this final act (think in the region of US $75k) they then need to relocate the family and start again.   What an absolute nightmare situation to be in.

Monday morning we were up early and walked to the supermarket feeling like poor relatives as no one walks anywhere here, unless they are hiking into the hills.  We needed to restock our beer supplies as the last few social evenings had made a dent in our provisions.   We walked for about 30 minutes to the supermarket which was surprisingly big and well stocked.  

We enjoyed the views of the bay from the road and Richard decided I had to recreate the shape of one of the mountains which the locals think is a woman looking up to god….not sure it was a great likeness LOL.  When we arrived we also spotted a nearby dinghy dock attached to a snack bar – doh!!!   That could have made a bit of a difference….

We staggered back heavily laden towards the hotel….returned to Morphie and put everything away.    Later on we took ourselves off for lunch at the hotel – where we were joined by Bob and Anna – and then went to the pool for a final bobbing session before an early night.

Tuesday morning we were up very early as we had decided to go back to the supermarket and get more supplies – so stopped at the nearby dinghy dock, had breakfast pastries in the attached snack bar and met this cute little puppy who we would have happily adopted!   

We picked up more beer and soft drink supplies plus some fresh bread and a roast chicken for tea.   By 10 am we had picked up and worked our way out through the reef saying goodbye to the spectacular anchorage of Cook’s Bay.  

The wind was on the nose when we got out through the cut and there with a big swell running but we were only going five miles around the corner into Opunohu Bay…so we just motored.    We spotted the channel markers – surprised that they were inside the cut and not marking the entrance – and made our way into the anchorage opposite the public beach.   

The water was a beautiful blue and it was great to be able to anchor on sand in only 25 feet of water.    Richard made the most of it and snorkelled the anchor to check the set and cleaned the hull whilst he was there….I got ourselves organised and reinstalled our canvas etc.   This bay is huge and even a cruise ship doesn’t take up too much room LOL.

Later on we headed out in dink towards the Moorea Beach Resort and Spa – a Hilton hotel – and we were amazed at the coral heads showing through the azure blue water as black marks.   

We had to reverse and do a few 180s to find our way through but eventually arrived.   We had a look around the resort and had a cold beer……nice looking place, however, after five years of cruising we’re not sure that this type of holiday would suit us anymore…..

We returned to Morphie, dinked across to the beach, and had a nice bobbing session in the sea whilst watching the light fade on a stormy night.  

Wednesday morning we were up early and worked our way around Morphie in the dink – I did the stainless cleaning whilst Richard worked on removing the salt from her hull.    Was a hard day’s work but she sure looked lovely – the ‘patches’ are water reflecting on the shiny hull by the way.  Still some stainless work to be done but it was nice to give Morphie some care and attention. 

Later in the afternoon we took dink out for a run through a narrow channel.   We passed the Intercontinental Hotel nearly running around near their confusing reef markers, and finally reached our destination.   This is a shallow sandy area where tour boats feed stingrays and sharks each day and we wanted to see if it is was feasible for us to do the trip independently.  It was a long way – almost 4 miles – but a nice trip nevertheless.   We returned to Morphie and had a quiet night on board.   During the evening we found an internet hotspot and purchased some online time but the speed was appalling and we barely got our emails sorted in the hour that we were connected.  Grrrr….

Thursday morning and we were up early, got some tuna out of the freezer, and took off in dink towards Stingray City.   We dropped our anchor and almost immediately dink was being assaulted by these huge stingrays  who had come to check out the food on offer.  

Richard fed a few of them by hand as they climbed up the side of the dinghy and then he jumped in, wearing his mask and snorkel, for a closer look. Well, it was like an attack force!!!   They surrounded him and climbed all over him….eventually he threw the tuna away to get them to leave him alone LOL.   Oh yes, and they feel like velvet…not slimy at all.

In the meantime I took advantage of the action elsewhere to get in the water….and found myself surrounded by sharks instead.    Was a fantastic experience and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.   Interestingly we found the stingrays more threatening than the sharks once we were in the water….

On the way back to Morphie we marvelled at the clarity of the water – absolutely stunning.  

We got back on board, cleaned up and had breakfast, and talked about what to do next.  Well….the beautiful isolation of this anchorage is great….but there are no services whatsoever.  Not even a place to go ashore really other than beaching dink.   So we decided to pick up anchor and return to Cook’s Bay.

We arrived back around 1.15 pm and dropped the hook opposite the Bali Hai Hotel.  We caught up with the internet and then Richard took himself off to the gas station for more petrol while I started downloading photos.  

Later on we headed across to the hotel and sat on the veranda for a couple of cold ones – from our supplies as the bar shuts here at 2pm – and then wandered down the street to a restaurant we had spotted a previous day.   The food was surprisingly good and we enjoyed this lovely end to what had been a great day.

This morning, Friday, and we are going to do more shopping and hopefully some pool bobbing later.   Providing the weather gods are kind to us we plan to leave Mo’Orea late Saturday afternoon for an overnight passage of about 80 miles to Huahine.   In view of what happened to our friends we will be staying a long way offshore and will be extra cautious until we are certain of our entry point through the reef to our destination.   Obviously the tracker will be active so you can keep up with our progress. 

Bye for now