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Tahiti & Moorea

<<< Sunday, April 10 - Woke up really early for our 4:45 AM ride to the airport, courtesy of taxi mom

- Flew to Vancouver, and then San Francisco. No problems with weather.

Took real advantage of the lounge in San Francisco with 2 margaritas and a few cookies.

- 8 hour flight from SFO in our pods to Papeete, Tahiti (PPT).

- Could definitely feel the heat and humidity upon arrival. Harry picked us up and took us to his place not far from the airport.

He gave us some tuna with curry sauce, a lentil salad, and a fruit bowl.

<<< Monday, April 11

- Walked down to the mall beside us and bought a SIM card (Vini) and a wide brimmed hat to keep the Tahitian sun off.

- Harry dropped us off at the ferry terminal. Took the ferry over to Moorea and picked up our rental car at Avis right across from the ferry terminal.

Everything went smoothly.

- Went for lunch at Moz Cafe. The smoothie could have been better.

- Checked into our Airbnb in Cook's Bay. Gorgeous view.

- Drove to the juice factory / rum distillery and had the world's fastest taste testing. Bought some Tahiti Drink and passion fruit rum.

And various juices (pineapple, banana).

- Went to the grocery store. Bought some fruit from the fruit stand.

- Enjoyed our view from the deck and went for dinner at the Hilton Toatea Creperie & Bar. When we arrived we were told we needed a reservation, so we made one for an hour from now. Walked along the boardwalk of overwater bungalows and looked at the fish lit up in the waters below.

- Came back to the creperie and were seated. Waited patiently for the sharks to show up, which they did. Our crepes and drinks took as long as we had expected, so we had plenty of time to sit and enjoy the sharks, and the occasional stingray.

<<< Tuesday, April 12

- Had breakfast on our patio

- Set out to hike to Arf Falls. We were almost there and the dirt/rocky road deterioated quickly. We decided to turn around after the car bottomed out, proably wasn't worth it for a medicore waterfall. In hindsight, it was probably a good decision as I'm not sure how enjoyable a hike would be in 31 degrees plus humidity. Decided to head to the beach.

- We stopped in at the Champion grocery store to attempt to find something we could take our valuables/car keys in while we went snorkelling. We bought dry bag and decided that putting the keys in a water bottle inside the dry bag would likely keep them dry. Not sure why we haven't come up with the solution sooner in all the times we've been to a beach but been afraid to go swimming because we didn't get our stuff stolen. Picked up a few other things including a 4' baguette.

- We headed to Temae beach. It had beautiful turquiose water and was near some overwater bungalows at the Sofitel beside it. We found a spot in the shade. Played Tri-Bond. Went for a snorkel, the current was quite strong so we floated towards the hotel and saw some interesting fish near some coral. Going back was more work. Felt like you were swimming in one of the exercise pools that pushes the water against you as you swim. Luckily, the water was shallow enough that you could also walk. Some some more coral and interesting fish back near the public beach.

- Played catch in the shallow water as there was some shade where Chris could stand.

- Headed back to relax on our deck and enjoy the views of Cooks Bay and drink some Tahiti Treat. A shy cat came to visit. He was happy to roll around in the grass around us but didn't really want to get too close.

- Had pizza from Allo Pizza. Stargazed.

<<< Wednesday, April 13

- Drove to Captain Taina's. Met Swan. Waited for the rest of our group to arrive. Boarded our glass bottom boat. Saw a few turtles through the bottom of the boat, and then jumped in the water to look for more. Held on to the rope as we were dragged through the lagoon. Saw 1 turtle.

- Left the protected lagoon and tried to go through the pass, but it started pouring rain. Dropped off a girl who wasn't having fun. The sky cleared up though, and we headed to the sculptures in the water. The coral was also pretty good here.

Moved on to the shark bank. Got out of the boat and hung out with the stingrays and blacktip sharks.

- Went for lunch and had a croque madame, minus the ham, and they were out of eggs, so it ended up being a very thin grilled cheese sandwich.

<<< Thursday, April 14

- Enjoyed the views of Cook's Bay until checkout time.

- Went to the grocery store and spilled a carton of milk. Filled up our water bottles at the refill station.

- Drove to the Tropical Garden. Drove up a very steep hill. Everything was fine until we went to turn into the parking lot, and someone was standing in our way. Losing momentum on the steepest part of the hill, our car stalled and we slowly started rolling backwards towards the edge of the hill. The brakes didn't seem to work. Back down the hill we went, coming very close to the trees on the side. Our only choice was to go back up, which was very difficult to do, restarting our manual car on such a steep incline, with the pressure of not being able to roll back at all.

- Walked around the garden, to the 'cascade', a tiny waterfall. And through the vanilla greenhouse.

- Ordered lunch, and took in the great view. A tiny cat visited us. Ordered 4 sorbets (1 and then 3). Colossal, coconut, banana, and mango. All were delicious.

- Checked into SNP Palms. (NW area of the island). Had a very thorough introduction of our bungalow (every cupboard, and even the toaster).

- Went for dinner at Casa Vincenzo. Great wood fired pizza. Came out very quickly. Pesto based pizzs with mozzarella, straciatella, confit tomatoes, and hazelnuts.

<<< Friday, April 15

- Got up early to beat the heat and the crowds. Drove to Belvedere Lookout to start our hike to Three Pines. Lots of roots and rocks but nice and shady.

Made it to the viewpoint, complete with a friendly rooster and a swing with views overlooking both Cooks Bay and Opunohu Bay.

Stopped and bought some passion fruit and mangos on the way back from a roadside stand.

Had lunch on our porch and cooled off from the hike.

Went to Hibiscus Hotel and snorkeled along the beach in front of it. Would rank it 4th out of the 4 times we snorkeled, but the water was nice and warm.

Walked from our place to the Holy Steak. Had a nice steak, some macaroni and cheese, and tuna.

<<< Saturday, April 16

- Another early start to hike up Magic Mountain. We walked up the steep way to the viewpoint and then back down the more gradual way. Back at the botton we got a fruit plate that was included in our hiking/parking fee and also ordered a couple of smoothies. They were much better than the ones we had the first day.

- Back to SNP Palms to relax and eat some lunch.

- We took drive around the west side of the island. On the way back we tried to find an access point to Painapo beach. Ended up parking in a grassy lot and going in the water to snorkel there. We saw lots of coral and quite a few interesting fish. Chris said he enjoyed it the most of our snorkelling so far.

- That evening we boarded a catamaran called "Taboo" for a sunset cruise. It was raining when we started and 8 of us crowded under the covered area in the middle of the boat. We went to Cooks Bay then headed through the pass into the ocean where our captain put the sails up and we had a cocktail. It started to clear up and we were able to move to netting on the front of the boat. we had a nice view of the sunset.

- Just when got back to the shore it started pouring rain again. We drove back home and made spaghetti for dinner.

<<< Sunday, April 17

- Went to Typ Notic to either get a transfer to Coco Beach, or a kayak. Kayak was the only option, but we had to come back at 11 AM.

In the mean time we relaxed and it may have been for the best because it started raining.

Went back and got our kayak and I wasn't taking any chances getting sunburned like I did in the Philippines. This time I was well prepared, with jogging pants, hoodie, a hat, and gloves, in the 32 degree heat.

Paddled over to Cocoa Beach. Struggled to stay in a straight line against the current. Parked our kayak and were greeted by some local dogs that were guarding their beach.

Snorkeled between the two motus for a bit. Saw one shark and lots of fish and coral. No stingrays though.

Relaxed on the beach in front of Tipaniers. Went and tried to watch the sunset in front of Hibiscus, But we were a little late as the sun had already set. But there were still plenty of beautiful pink colors in the sky. We also were able to star gaze at the same time.

Back to Casa Vincenzo for dinner. Didn't get to sit in the garden. Personal fan helped cool us down. Had pizza and pasta this time. Didn't like the pizza we chose this time quite as much as the special from last time.

<<< Monday, April 18

- Got up early again to try and beat the heat, and this time we hiked Three Coconuts, the sister hike to Three Pines. It was good until the very end. The switchbacks, which would have been fine under normal conditions, were pretty taxing in the vicious Tahitian heat and humidity. By the end we were drenched in sweat. Some nice views though, as you could see both north and south, mountains and ocean at the same time.

Made the mistake of trying to do an 'add on' 2km loop, but turned back after 500 metres when we realized the 'trail' was very dense.

- Tried to go for ginger sorbet (again) at the Agricultural School but it was closed (again). So instead we went for ice cream at a place on the main road. The taro flavour was interesting.

- Came back and relaxed for a bit. Went for lunch at A L'Heure Du Sud. Good burgers (chicken and fish). Friendly owner, who had a son that moved to Sherbrooke, Quebec.

- Played some games, went to Opahua Beach to watch the sunset. Made it in time this time. Definitely a louder beach, still pretty busy over Easter. Nice colors though.

- Stopped at a small pirate themed crepe place in Cook's Bay and picked up a chocolate / banana crepe.

- Took our virtual covid test online. The practitioner watched us take the test (allegedly, we couldn't tell) with her dog barking nonstop in the background. And then took our word for it as we had to take a picture of the result and upload it.

<<< Tuesday, April 19

- Back to Tip Nautic to rent a paddle board. Paddled out to where the stingrays and blacktip sharks hang out. Very clear calm water today (no wind) and were able to see very deep into the ocean which was interesting.

- Back to SNP to pack up, and the owner gave us each a shell necklace as we departed.

- Went to Snack Mahana for lunch. Huge shady tree. A stingray swam past. Large meals (poisson cru, the national dish).

- Took the ferry back to Tahiti. Karina picked us up and took us to her place high up on the hill of Papeete. Swam in the pool while waiting to depart for the airport. Beautiful sunset from the balcony with a view of Moorea. A lot of noisy birds, the first time we've really heard birds (other than roosters) in Tahiti.