Moorea is yet another beautiful island surrounded by a lagoon. There are 2 large bays on the north side of the island, Opunohu Bay on the left and Cook's Bay on the right.
The Paul Gaughin anchors alternately between the two. This time we were in Cook's Bay.
Since we had such good luck on Roratonga finding our own tour guide, we decided to do the same here. We ended up with Caroline, who took 4 of us on a great tour of the interior of the island. And it was less than half the cost of the tours through the ship.
We first went to a pineapple plantation. I have really gotten hooked on fresh pineapple on the ship.
She then showed us the "Pierced Mountain," Mouaputa.
The hole was formed when the demi-god Pai tossed his magic spear from Tahiti to prevent Rotui (the mountain) from being carried off to the island of Raiatea by the god of thieves known as Hiro. (Got that?)
Then we went up to the Belvedere Overlook. The movie shows a 360-degree pan, and it starts and stops at the large peak Mt. Mouaroa, which the tour guides like to call "Bali Hai."
In case you missed it in the video, that's our ship in Cook's Bay.
Caroline then led us on a short hike up to another lookout. These trees are Tahitian mape chestnut trees. Their trunks are fascinating.
We then went to see a couple of ruins from the 13th century called marae. Here Caroline demonstrates how the rocks sticking up are really ancient backs of chairs.
These inland tribes abandoned their land and moved to the coast when missionaries arrived in the early 1800s.
Then we stopped at a vanilla farm that also sold various fruit jams and jellies and gave us free samples.
They had a gorgeous location overlooking Opunohu Bay.
Our last stop was a real killer. We stopped at the Fruit Juice Factory where we got free samples of distilled fruits. Wow! They were really strong. When they got to the one that was 40% alcohol, I stumbled back to the truck.
But I did love this bottle with the pineapple inside.
Made it back to the tender dock.
And spent the afternoon recovering from a great tour.
That night was Polynesian night on the ship. They brought aboard some locals to show us how to make leis and heis (the wreaths on their heads.)
I managed to score a hei. I must look pitiful with my bandaged-up hand....
Some of you have asked whether I took home any black pearls. This necklace was my only purchase. It's a black pearl on a shell that looks like a flower. It's not silver, just looks it because of the flash. It wasn't very expensive, but I really like it.
Dinner was a real Polynesian treat.
Peter, the guy on the left, is the ship's pianist who plays in the piano bar. But he's also a great singer. In fact I think he's better than Michael. He did a show of Elton John songs the first night that was terrific, but I didn't have my camera along. He's fairly new on the ship, so hopefully they will add more of his shows.
And of course Les Gauguines were there to entertain us.
The evening show was up on the top deck. A local dance troup, Tiare Tarona Nui, put on a great show. The video is over a minute long, a record for me, but I really liked the song and the little guy in the middle.