Moorea – December 6, 2014
Pictures include: The scene of Moorea as we are anchored inside the reef, cottages from a resort over the water, and the ancient ceremonial alter from the polynesians before the Europeans came to island.
Also volcanic with huge peaks, Moorea is considered the “romance” island. Many films were made here about the South Pacific and one peak was filmed for a shot of “Bali High” in “South Pacific.” The highest peak is 4,000 feet. Island crops are vanilla, copra and coffee, but we also saw shrimp farms and Taro growing in marshy areas. Our morning island investigation took us on a ride to the top of several peaks for spectacular views. And, on the way down, we visited the sacred ceremonial area for the early Polynesians where their chiefs made sacrifices to the gods.
Back in the water, we snorkeled the reefs, but were disappointed at the destruction of them caused by their 2012 cyclone. However, coral is trying to rebuild in many areas. Fish were abundant and lots of dolphins played in the water as our boat came in. We learned that the dolphins play and rest in the lagoon during the day and then head for open waters in the night to feed. They are very entertaining. Our divers even got shots of them playing with different pieces of garbage in the water. We also swam and snorkeled from the beach where coral was just barely under our bellies as we swam into deeper waters.
In the evening we returned to Papeete (Tahiti) to refuel because this will be the last fueling until the Orion reaches the southern tip of Argentina the end of December getting ready for the Antarctica trips. However, we were lucky to arrive for the Papeete Christmas festival with an electric light parade, orchestra music and a spectacular fireworks display. Following fireworks, Tahitian dancers came on board to entertain us with song and dance. Of course they tried to teach us “Westerners”– stiff as we are–to move and dance. A wonderful evening in Tahiti!
The next day, Pearl Harbor Day, the ship returned to Makatea for divers to dive and some of the photographers who were not on the previous trip to walk on shore to investigate the wreckage from the abandoned phosphate mines. Alan and I chose to stay on board to work on reading, writing, and catching up on e-mails.