FRENCH POLYNESIA
19 january - 11 february 2001

 



 

Could not be a more spectacular arrival, in the approach to the Tahiti airport in fact the airplane flew over the Tetiaroa atoll (owned by Marlon Brando) and then over Moorea the first island of my stay. After passed the customs and looked desolate the other passengers that withdrew the baggage I went to the baggage office to know something about my backpack that was lost between Milan and Paris; fortunately the employee gave me good news, they found the baggage  and will deliver me the following day to my lodging. Gone out of the airport I withdrew the pass for the flights through Polynesian Islands and then I went to the Air Moorea terminal to take the first available flight that in less than 10 minutes arrives to the yellow lizard. Sees the scary prices of the taxis, I went out of the airport to reach the Le Truck stop with the idea to reach Hauru Point, the zone with the most beautiful beaches where I had decided to lodge. After having attended for more than 1 hour with Iris & Christian, a Germans couple that in the meantime I met we decided to take a taxi that proposed us a passage for a reasonable price.
Reached the Moorea Camping I systematized my few things in my room; the camping is found on a very beautiful beach that is leaned out on the lagoon, considering that my custom was around some part of the world I had to postpone the bath so I made a walk. After a fast and expensive snack, I went to the diving center to book the some dives. I also had in program a tour of the island but a little bit for the time that I would have lost to withdraw the baggage, a little bit for the high prices I opted for the shark feeding tour organized by the Moorea Camping the following day. I swam in the turquoise waters with sharks and giant stingrays (the excursion was in absolute that one with the better relationship price/quality). I had to devote the afternoon to the recovery of my baggage considering that unlike what promised had not been redelivered to me but had been left to the Moorea airport.

In the early morning I reached the diving and in 10 minutes by boat we reached the Tareu Pass, there however I had to wait for 1 hour considering that the first dive was too deep for my level; after being approaches us a little more to the reef I had my first contact with the Polynesian sea; during the dive the dive master took a big scare considering that a big nervous moray had almost succeeded to pick her up to the neck.
In the afternoon I rented a bicycle with the idea to reach the belvedere point, from Hauru Point there are around 10 Km with a steep slope of 4 Km at the end; fortunately also being a temperature around 30 thanks to the wind the effort is not excessive to exception of the last line. From the belvedere there is a beautiful sight on the Cook & Opunohu bays moorea_belvedere.jpg (45168 byte), unfortunately together with me arrived a big group of tourist that started to make an infernal noise, so they spoiled the atmosphere. In the evening while I was preparing me the dinner there was a black-out in the whole island and so afterwards the dinner 'to light of candle' I went to sleep.

I was starting to take the Polynesian rhythms, therefore wake up very early to take advantage from the sun light; while I was having breakfast sat in front of the sea I saw to sprout in the calm water of the lagoon to a few meters from the shore the unmistakable fin of a shark while to a few meters some persons swam quietly, from what results me the sharks of lagoon are not dangerous, however makes a certain effect. 

In around 40 minutes of flight I reached Huahine arriving practically before departing, in fact the airplane left Moorea with wide advance, the hostess explained then that when all the passengers are on board it is a normal practice. To Huahine I lodged really in the center of the Fare village, the atmosphere is really Polynesian because the island is a little touristy. After a stroll for the village I jumped on a Le Truck that passed, it was full of tourist that returned on their cruise ship anchored in a bay and that I had already seen to Moorea; unloaded the tourists I discovered the run finished there considering that the driver continued for his house, fortunately with a passage of a local I succeeded in returning to Fare. The following morning after having waited the end of a rainstorm I went to the diving for a dive on the Fiti Pass where besides I saw 2 beautiful Eagle Ray sail above my head.

To Huahine I had the demonstration that traveling doesn't have age, in fact between the guests of the pension there was a 'grandmother' backpacker that after having gone to meet the sister in the Australs, for 2 months traveled with her backpack. 
Considering that the airplane for Raiatea departed in the late afternoon I programmed an excursion with a jeep, practically we crossed all the 2 islands (Huahine Nui & Iti) visiting the bays, the plantations of tropical fruit and the archaeological site.

Surely the thing that I appreciated more of Huahine was the calm and relaxed atmosphere huahine_spiaggia.jpg (55333 byte); I remember the poster I saw in my Pension with the schedules of the freighter-passengers ship that connects 3 days a week Papeete with Huahine, Raiatea and Bora Bora: the ship arrives when is here and leaves when is ready!!!! 

Arrived to Raiatea I found to wait for me the owner of the pension I booked, the island it is decidedly bigger then Huahine and practically without beaches. The next day I had to do an excursion to the falls in the interior of the island but because of a pain to the knee for a hit that I took on a  boat to Huahine I had to desist, I tried so to look for some other tours with boat or car but I didn't find nothing so I spent a day of relax.

Hardly climbed on the airplane to Bora Bora I immediately looked for a place on the left side that offers the better view during the landing but unfortunately all the places were already occupied from who it originated from Papeete so I had a partial vision from the opposite side of the window; the airport is found on a motu (a small island inside the lagoon) so to reach Bora Bora is necessary to cross a part of the lagoon with the Air Tahiti ferry. 
From the Vaitape dock I reached the Village Pauline, a very nice accommodation around 1 Km from the Matira beach (the most beautiful of the island). After having systematized the baggage I had the pleasure to meet Ele a nice girl from Sicily that had been to Bora Bora for a couple of months to prepare a thesis on the island and that has been a good guide. The Village Pauline is very nice but finds in an uncomfortable position, half way between Vaitape and Matira point; to buy some food so I asked in loan a bike to reach the supermarket next to Matira, after I took all the stuff I need I went to the cashier, but the bill that I received seemed me decidedly high also for the Polynesian standards so once gone out I tried to do again the accounts realizing that she had been made for me a small increase of 50%, so I came back immediately to take back the ill-gotten!!!!
In the evening I also met Sonia and her mother from Rome even them guests of the village; together with them and Mark a German guy, we decided to rent a car for the following day to make a tour of the island. Before going to the car rental we stopped to the church to assist to the function and to see the ladies with the typical white hats bora_chiesa.jpg (55125 byte); after having withdrawn the car we started the tour of the island stopping us to visit the varied Maraes (ceremonial sites) and the view points bora_vista.jpg (61111 byte), unfortunately the sky remained cloudy for the whole day (fortunately without rain) and so the varied landscapes have lost some magic. Before came back we went for a cocktail to the Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort, one of the most exclusive and expensive hotels of the island, we also visited the beautiful open water bungalows, really different from those where we lodged. 
The following morning I had 2 wonderful dive, one on the pass and one in the lagoon to swim with the beautiful manta rays.

Just above the most famous Bora Bora restaurant, the Bloody Mary, finds the tv-tower lookout, with a 20 minutes walk we reached in the afternoon, from there is enjoyed a really beautiful sight of the island.

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For the last day to Bora Bora I chose a lagoon tour with the classical shark feeding and the lunch on a motu; also being quite expensive is worth absolutely to do it, besides the meal of the sharks we made snorkeling on the beautiful corals garden swum with the rays, for the lunch we tasted typical Polynesian specialties, the raw fish in the coconut milk and the excellent barbecued Mai Mai; even the day was really beautiful making even more spectacular the colors of the lagoon.

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Copyright 2001 Giuseppe Ruperto. All rights reserved.