French Polynesia – Moorea and Bora Bora

IA ORANA (yo-rah-nah)! We have landed in the paradise of the Pacific Ocean (and world?!): French Polynesia, a collection of islands in, what feels as, the middle of nowhere. This is where Disney’s movie Moana takes place, We love Moana!

After, what must be, the shortest flight on earth (10min), we landed on the island Moorea and arrived at our overwater bungalow, facing out the ocean. Silence, serenity and peace. Wave after wave colliding with the island’s Mutu, a reef surrounding almost each individual island in French Polynesia. Here, we could record our own “Oceans sounds” playlist with ease if we wanted to. That’s the feeling we got. Go ahead and listen to ocean sounds while reading this post to get in the right mood 🙂 First day, we relaxed around our bungalow and recovered from long travelling days.

One impressive tan!

Sunset.

Could you find a better place for yoga? I doubt it.

A semi-failed island sightseeing on moped, driving in rain for 2-3hrs, made us looking forward to tomorrows boat excursion to snorkel and see sting rays, and we prayed for good weather. This time, our prayers were answered! Sun was shining and the sky was blue. We had a small boat of eight excited passengers.

Can you see the upward facing woman and monkey playing piano?

A refreshing stop with tropical punch and papaya with freshly grated coconut (a coconut Viktor had only just learnt opened in the traditional way using a three-armed branch), enjoying the views over Moorea’s mountains, and we were ready to explore the world underneath. Not before long, a sea turtle swam passed us, and minutes later, a large family of playfull dolphins joined us. WOW! Next stop, snorkelling between two islands filled with coconut trees. Minna swam away like a pro, while Viktor struggled to get all equipment in place (which gave Minna a big laugh!).

Opening coconuts, 95% technique…

Sea turtle.

A playful dolphin.

We had worked up quite an appetite after fighting the strong underwater current, so the skipper lit up the barbecue with coconut shells and set up a picnic table in the shallow water. An incredible buffet was prepared with swordfish ceviche, fresh fruit, grilled tuna & chicken etc. Needless to say it was amazing. However, we had company… A bunch of sting rays had joined us. Like water stray dogs begging for food, munching away swordfish nibbles from our hands. Weak hearted tourist are apparently an easy prey. Satisfied, we continued to another snorkelling stop to see reef sharks and our full day trip was complete, and just as we headed home, the sun disappeared and it started to rain. How lucky we were today!

Sea princess.

BBQ on the boat.

Please sir, may I have some more?

Sea squad.

Lunchtime with the friendly passengers. Easily the best food we’ve had in Polynesia so far.

Reef shark. Viktor had to fight him off several times!

New island, new home. Bora Bora! A jungle bungalow instead of an overwater bungalow. Lizards instead of fishes. Jungle sounds instead of ocean waves. Plants around us instead of water and coral. And still, only a five minute walk down to nearest water. Our balcony with great view over the bay and mountain was perfect for both breakfast and sunsets.

Hello Bora Bora!The path to our bungalow passes through several Polynesian statues and art sculptures.

Don’t get lost in the jungle!

In the tree tops of our host’s artistic house.

The first day was spent cycling on the flat road that circles the island. We stopped at a quiet beach and alternated swimming with reading and sunbathing. And we wondered if life had ever been so relaxed. A visit to the mini market for some more breakfast supplements, mango shopping from a local old lady and lunch before we were back in our jungle sanctuary. Our kind host helped us book a table at one of the fish restaurants by the bay, and we put on our nicest clothes after trying out the very unique shower, proudly standing in our outdoor bathroom, where water flows from a jar held by a woman statue.

First dinner at our balcony, with view the lagoon and Mount Otemanu & Mount Pahia.

Viktor trying out our outdoor shower.

The following days, we had two half-day adventures planned beneath the surface. First up, and first time for Viktor, scuba diving. A friendly 50-year old Frenchmen guided us from beginning to end. Highlight on this trip was by far encountering a sea turtle. It was amazing swimming next to it for a couple of minutes. A moment we will never forget. Next morning, same routine. Picked up by a boat, drive to some fancy five star hotel alá four seasons and collect some more passengers before heading out to the marine wildlife. We got to see manta rays, eagle rays and fish in almost in all shapes, sizes and colours (Including “Nemo”). Truly amazing! A couple of hours of recovery at the beach on the way home was well deserved before heading out for pina coladas and grilled fish.

At this point, Viktor started to get a hang of how to snorkel.

Mermaid.

Walrus.

One of many fishes.