Mo’orea: Hyperbole is Not Enough

By Derek On July 5, 2015 Under Post


Travel mogul Arthur Frommer once called Mo’orea, “The most beautiful island in the world.” Cynics may be forgiven for wondering if this statement came on the heels of publishing his first guide to Tahiti and the Society Islands. However, we aren’t pushing any guides and we would have to agree with his comment. We spent ten days exploring Mo’orea and indeed, it is even more beautiful than Tahiti and might easily claim “The most beautiful island in the world” status in our view. And we have seen a lot of islands.


Situated just 15 miles to the west of Tahiti, Mo’orea floats dreamily above the horizon tempting all with a visit and appears in the background of some of our photos in the Tahiti post. A more beautiful place would be hard to imagine and probably impossible to find.


The 15th Annual Pacific Puddle Jump brought us there. This is a collection of yahoos and sailors who “migrate” across the Pacific on their boats, much like we are doing. Most come from the US and spend the winter on board in Mexico before heading west with the trade winds in spring. Others come through the Panama Canal and join the herd in the Marquesas. We sort of plummeted into the whole thing by leaving, strangely, from Seattle. The event is organized by west coast sailing magazine, Latitude 38, and culminates in festivities and traditional Polynesian competition in Cook’s Bay, Moorea in June and we were there.


Cook’s Bay is one of the two large bays that cut deeply into the green heart of Mo’orea. The other is Opunohu Bay (which Cook actually visited). The event began with cocktails and Tahitian dancing in Tahiti with a race to Mo’orea the next day. We skipped the racing, left Pape’ete early and were happily anchored in majestic Cook’s Bay to watch the 65 other cruising boats trundled in after us.


While I normally find rallies and large group events of any kind as enjoyable as anesthesia free oral surgery, we thought this would be fun for the children. And it was. Asmara joined a girl’s outrigger team and paddled furiously with the other nine-year olds. “ITA Team,” a name they conjured up from the combination of the three boats the girls came from: “Itusca” (Brazil), “Tinkerbell” (Holland), and “Asmara Sky,” placed second. I was recruited to race on the OCC (Ocean Cruising Club) team and likewise came in second.


There was feasting and other activities such as traditional coconut husking, rock lifting (yes, more entertaining than it sounds) and banana carrying races. Asmara again raced in the children’s banana relay and easily beat all the boys.


Fortunately all the fun and games were finished by the second day and the bay began to empty out. We stayed another week, anchored off “Club Bali Hai” just enjoying the peace, the quiet and the beautiful tropical scenery.  We spent our time sightseeing by car – in order to take in some more beaches.


And we went horseback riding as a family. It was the first time Adriana – and Ariel, for that matter – had ridden a horse.


Both put in an admirable showing as we rode quietly among pineapple plantations bursting forth from the rich red soil and through lush green hills that nestle at the feet of the towering almost vertical mountains behind. (We were able to ignore the blue shower caps they made us wear and focus on the scenery. I hope you, the reader, will be able to do the same).


We then made an easy five mile trip around the corner to Opunohu Bay which is so beautiful the French engraved the scene on the 100 franc coin.

coin - CopyThis is what we saw upon entering the bay from TGS Asmara Sky.


This was our last stop in the Windward Islands and we now sailed west 85 miles to the Leeward Islands of French Polynesia, one of which is the famous Bora Bora.


James Michener once said of Bora Bora that it was, “The most beautiful island in the world.” We will sail there and we will see.


1 Comment Add yours

  1. Geraldine
    July 16, 2015
    12:44 am #comment-1

    One of my favourite spot. Enjoy, kisses to the girls

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