Just another day in Paradise

I landed in Mo’orea on Monday 21st in the middle of the afternoon after a forty minutes flight.

View from above

It was good to be back to the civilisation after over two weeks on small islands, finally I could use public transport. So I grabbed my bag, went outside the airport and took the first public bus available. It was an hour trip between Temae and Hauru point. By the time I arrived to camping Nelson it was close to 6pm, sunset time. I quickly go to the nearby shop to get food for the night and breakfast the next day, registered at the office, dropped my bag in the room and went to the beach for the sunset. The sunset was beautiful and turned out to be almost as good every evening. I quickly met with some guys from the camping, in particular Solene and Eric. Later on I got to know them a bit better while we had dinner. Solene is in her early twenties, from south of France (the mountain region), spending a week in Mo’orea, she is finishing a round the world trip and spent the last eight months in NZ. While Eric is in his early fifties, from Marseille, he has visited Tahiti since 1982 and plans to live here once he reached retirement age. As usual in the camping life, night came early and by nine thirty we were all in bed.

Sunset from camping Nelson in Mo’orea

The next morning I was chatting to Solene has she was spending the same amount of time on the island and told me she didn’t have much things planned. Then she tells me she has nothing much on this week other than spending today with her friends and they were planning to take her to the ray and shark feeding spot. Friends have been spending the last six months in Mo’orea. I told her I have also met a couple in Huahine that spent six months here, working as sailing instructor for a charity and are about to leave soon. Her eyes opened as she told me that her friends have been doing the same and their name were: Baboo and Barbie. Yes, her friends were the same guys I have met in Huahine and wanted to catch-up with; what a small world!!
I told her that I was supposed to call them when I arrived but didn’t do so yet as I thought they’d left already. So she convinced me to go with her today so we would give them a big surprise. As eleven o’clock arrived, we packed and made our way to the meeting point, the beach of ‘Les Tipaniers’. We got there on time and enjoyed the postcard-like view of the beach and pontoon. Solene then told me that Baboo and her have been friends for a long time, they know each other since junior high school, live close by but didn’t see each other for about two years. Around twenty past eleven, Baboo and Barbie arrived. You should have seen their face when they saw me. They were happy and smiling but also wondering how on earth I knew Solene. We chatted a bit then went further away on the beach. They put their gears on, I took my cam and off we went to see the rays and sharks. It was a small swim from the shore, maybe 5 minutes, but we had to cross the pass where the current was quite strong.

Les Tipaniers beach

Les Tipaniers beach

Tipanier’s pier

We listened to Baboo who has been there many times and know the spot. We crossed the pass and made it where the touristy boat where feeding the animals. After a short while the boat left and we were alone surrounded by the sea creatures. Solene wasn’t very confident as she is afraid of sharks especially. Baboo, Barbie and I were in our element. Even without food or baits, rays and sharks came around us, curious as they are. The lagoon was shallow so we could stand up on our feet and didn’t need to swim to admire the spectacle.

Ray infested lagoon

We played with rays, grabbed them and tried to follow the sharks, it was so much fun especially since we were all alone with them. They were in their natural habitats, pets for some because they are fed every day and very friendly but still wild as sharks didn’t come too close. It was quite amazing to picture yourself swimming and playing with sharks and rays in a relatively safe environment, in a fantastic lagoon and with gorgeous soaring mountains in the background. Despite being in French Polynesia for few weeks, I still hardly believe how beautiful this is. But I’m enjoying every bit of it.

We must have spent a good half an hour there before heading back to the shore. On the way back we had the current against us while crossing the pass we drifted a fair bit. When we hit the shallow part we had to walk a fair bit on the reef to get back to the beach. I avoided walking on sharp reef but swimming around, unlike Baboo and Solene, who got cut on the shin. As we arrived back to the beach Baboo spotted a mate he was previously working with. He then went to get a coconut, pull the outside off and gave us its precious juice. The coconuts here are nice, similar to the one found in OZ, but less sweet than my favourite ones: the one from Thailand.

Best tuna steak ever!

We chilled, had some light food and made our separate way. On our way back to the camping, as I was still hungry we stopped at the only roulotte available next to us ‘A l’heure du sud’. It has been recommended by Pierre from Huahine and it didn’t disappoint. We both took a tuna steak and this has been the best thing I had all week. Thick, grilled outside, still a bit raw inside and massive, a real feast. Back at the campsite we chilled, went for a swim and enjoyed another beautiful sunset. An early night followed.

Tomorrow, there is no plans yet but after such an amazing day I am not worried about what I will do. No need to stress when you are in Paradise.

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