Sat April 25 – Beautiful Moorea, Dodgy Weather

Moorea is an incredibly scenic island.  It is volcanic in origin, so there are very steep and jagged cliffs and mountains covering most of the island.  They jut up dramatically into the sky and are covered with lush green vegetation, including some very interesting trees that we’ve never seen before – with very wide and lacy foliage.  The palm trees here are also unlike any I’ve seen before.  They are incredibly tall and thin, very straight trunks, with all their leaves centered at the top.  So you can look completely through a field of tall thin trunks but if you were to look down on it, it would seem to be dense vegetation.

The scenery is most reminiscent of Hawaii, Kaui in particular, but much smaller in scale, and perhaps with fewer flowering trees and bushes.

There is a weather system going through right now – I’m suspicious it followed us from Hamilton Island, because it is the same unusually windy weather!  Made it difficult to do too much today so we decided to rent a car in the afternoon and drive around the island.

There is only one road on the island, and it follows the coast exactly all the way round – it takes two hours to drive whole thing. The interior mountain scenery is dramatic and very lush.  And the beaches around the coastline are very pretty.  It seems that all the residents live along the coastline with the north/east sides of the island containing most of the population (and tourist activity) and the south/west sides much more isolated and undeveloped.

There is a coral reef that completely surrounds the island, which leads to calm and very turquoise waters all the way round.  There is not much surfing here unless you can get out beyond the reef.  It is amazing some of the little shacks that people live in, that are about 5 ft. from the water’s edge, so we assume no-one is worried about tsunamis or other large wave action!

There is a fruit juice factory but not much other industry that we could see, other than a variety of small businesses looking for tourist trade.

We are very comfortable in our ocean-top bungalow, despite the strong winds. It’s such a gorgeous long view to sit and look at, and then it’s so much fun to just walk out the patio doors onto to the deck and jump into the ocean! It’s nicely located so we can pretend we are somewhere completely isolated until we walk out the back door towards the resort to avail ourselves of the facilities (and food!)

PS – adding a note a couple of days later, because I forgot to mention that the hotel presented a Polynesian Feast this night, with a seafood buffet, Polynesian music and Polynesian dancing!  All outside on the beach.  The buffet was very extensive with all sorts of seafood including sushi and sashimi.  The music was basically ukulele and drums with traditional songs in the Polynesian language.  The dancing was actually really amazing.  It is absolutely gender specific, with the women doing very sensuous movements of hips and arms and the men doing very assertive masculine stamping of feet and taking up of space.  To see them together really highlights the different bodily structures of men and women! They finished off with their famous fire dancing which was also very visually arresting.  Fun evening.


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