25 Jun Tahiti and Moorea
We have been super busy with sisters Wig, Maude and brother-in-law Johns visit. They arrived on June 16 and brought us lots of supplies! We are finding it works well for our visitors to bring us things from the states. We made a list, shopped online, along with ordering a few boat supplies from vendors, and had them shipped to Maude & John. When YOU come to visit, we hope you will bring some needed goodies also 🙂
Maude, John, Wig rented a car at the airport which enabled us to explore the whole island of Tahiti. We spent one day driving around Tahiti nui and Tahiti iti. Dick had been interested in going to the Musee Gauguin, when we arrived it was closed for construction (with 4 people guarding the gate?). However, next door we were able to explore a beautiful botanical garden, created in 1919 by an American adventurer and ecologist, Harrison Smith. As we started to walk the grounds we felt a little sprinkle. We continued our tour and before we knew it, it was pouring! We were able to duck under some big trees to stay a little dryer. We found a pond with awesome lilies and lily pads.
The rain continued on our drive down to Teahupoo (world famous surf spot, unfortunately the surf was not happening) and on up the east coast of Tahiti nui. We turned off at a waterfall sign (Les troiscascades de faarumai). They had created a beautiful little park with a bridge heading up the trail. The waterfall was amazing with all the day’s rain and the wind generated by the falling water whipped it all about. It was dramatic and exciting.
We climbed back into the car and continued our drive up the east coast and we came upon a popular surf spot “Papenoo” with about 50 surfers out in the water enjoying the North swell. We took a short stop and continued on to Point Venus, that has history with Captain Cook and also houses Tahiti’s only lighthouse. The rain had stopped and we were able to enjoy this beautiful park, and see a marvelous Tahitian sunset with Moorea in the distance.
One afternoon we went to a great beach, “Plage publique Vaiava” with awesome snorkeling (located at Kilometer marker “PK 18″). From the beach the shallow reef stretches quite a ways out to the surf line and deep water. As you swim through the shallow reef, imagine small canyons between the coral, that you meander your way through. We enjoyed it so much we went back another day.
One day we decided to venture into the middle of Tahiti. We drove along a dirt road with puddles and more puddles and more puddles. We weren’t quite sure if we were doing the right thing, when we saw a small sedan going the other way. (We were in a SUV type vehicle.) As we made our way up the road we turned around a corner and saw some road workers who were in the middle of the road. They directed us up over a single lane bridge and below we saw a river running over the road with painted pillars that indicate water depth and when it is unsafe to cross.
We were driving thru beautiful green terrain, trees, shrubs, flowers all around. High mountain peaks above all covered in vegetation. The road signs were unreadable, as they were covered in lichen. We eventually made made our way up a hill and at the top we could see a dam with an elaborate debris clearing mechanism. Next to it was another crossing with the painted pillars and the road disappeared. We stopped the car and walked down to where the river was running over the road, we found a sign that informed us that they were letting out water for 10 days. The road ahead had turned into a spillway and was covered in about 18” of water. The amazing thing was we saw a small truck drive right across it!
As we loaded back into the vehicle we pulled over to adjust something and looked to our right and found a Marae (ancient religious site). So exciting, as we were not expecting it. It had several levels and as we climbed up into it, we started being attacked by mosquitos and more mosquitos. Once we piled back in the car we had a mosquito killing session (as they had followed us). When we got back to the main road we realized our journey had not really taken us very far at all, but it was fun exploring.
We are currently in Moorea, we cruised/ raced over from Tahiti to Moorea on Saturday with about 40 other boats (Tahiti-Moorea Rendezvous for Pacific Puddle jumpers). They offered some Tahitian meals and we were able to enjoy 3 different shows with native dancing, drumming, and singing. Yesterday, they had outrigger canoe races. We participated and got 2nd in our heat so we got to paddle in a second race. It was fun for all of us to see and learn more about the culture. We will head back to Papeete on Wednesday to drop of our visitors. Dick and I will probably stay a few days and then head off to see the remainder of French Polynesia, including Bora Bora.