Cook’s Bay, French Polynesia
On our trip to Moorea we experienced several negative experiences but coupled with one amazing so we think it was all worth it. As ‘cheap backpackers’, French Polynesia is not the most accommodating, it is made for you to turn up with extreme happiness levels (i.e. Honeymoon) and be stuffed into your paradise hut over the sea to spend lots of money that you don’t really care about, because well, you’re on your honeymoon. To ‘regular people’ like ourselves a journey is filled with so much doubt and uncertainty that you’ll be wondering if you’ve just watched the end of Inception again.
Our feeling of boarding a ferry that was taking us to a more deserted island, after just landing on a small island in the middle of nowhere just a day ago was fairly weird, but on the ferry we got to see some Dolphins; in the sea of course, they were not passengers.
We boarded our ferry, but not before being able to gain information. The ticket office mentioned that the information office was upstairs, when you go upstairs there is nothing. Just a few arrows which seem to point you to a stand of leaflets, no maps. After we made our way off the ferry on to Moorea, that’s when the real confusion started. Not only was there no office, there were no people to ask or anyone that made any sense. Within around 5 minutes, everyone that was on board the ferry had been whisked away to leave us, clueless. After asking someone in a small information area/ticket office “is there any information you could give us and could we use this pay phone?”, her answer was simply “ugh” followed by “no information, across the road, card from petrol station”. So, we went across the road to find a card and surprise surprise, they didn’t even sell it. So we walked out of the petrol station, not knowing where to go, no map, nothing until just when we needed it on the trip, our angel saved us again with another great soul. Our great soul approached us in the road and asked if we needed help in English. He then guided us towards a car rental and within an hour we had everything sorted and was on the road, thank goodness.
With nothing but a roughly sketched version of the island, we started our drive around to try and see the sites, our first stop being a panoramic view of two bays. Only when you’ve seen this view you truly realise where you actually are. This is an island of so much beauty in its landscape and surrounding within the ocean. Jagged rocks meet with beautifully coloured flowers and Palm trees sway gently over the clear blue ocean. One of the most momentous visits throughout our whole trip came shortly afterwards as we pulled up to what I can only describe as a ‘Picnic Paradise’. With our rather warm cheese, salami and crisps we placed them upon a picnic table lodged firmly in the warm sand overlooking the sea. Only a few tables were upon this beach lined with a selection of Palm trees bending towards the water; a quiet paradise. The water was so clear, it was like looking through a calm swim through glass all nestled in a lagoon where in the distance, waves broke on the nearby coral. Our lunch was not the best, but it made for a perfect setting to summarise our trip to Tahiti; short, cheap and beautiful.
On our journey back we managed to encounter a man who decided, in the middle of the road, running toward our car was necessary, we wondered whether it was the man who was running backwards in New Zealand for a second.