Although there were a few scattered clouds, the weather was a marked improvement on the weather we had experienced on Tahiti Nua. Even looking at it from afar, the water was a beautiful turquoise and the whole vista measured up well to its postcard image.
At the Windjammer Café, we met up for breakfast with the other couples – Sandy and Mick, Nerida and Chris, Lynda and Bruce, and Kerrie and Murray at 8.30am. The tenders, small boats that ferry people to places where the ship can’t dock, had already started taking passengers to the island. When we arrived on the island, Mick sourced out a tour for us, saving $10 each as a group of ten. For $30 each therefore, we were taken by boat to a smaller island where the bay was quite pretty, though the sea bed was rough. Reef shoes were not an option for us, as we had been travelling around the world, but they would have made life more comfortable. I had runners on because I thought there may be some walking, little realising that I would have to climb out of the boat into the water and walk tentatively through rough rocks to get to the beach.
Those of us with white bands on our wrists were provided with water and pineapple (ananas in French). Others who had paid a lot more also had a barbecue lunch. There was a much smaller boat that took you out to swim with stingrays and sharks. Unfortunately, this boat only took about 14-18 people at a time, so by the time Dutchy and I had a turn it was three trips in. It took about 15 minutes to get out there, and then we clambered out of the boat into the sea. We were surprised when we touched the stingrays, safe because they are a breed without barbs. Their grey skin was sort of slimy but not gooey, almost velvety, and the small black-tipped reef sharks were beige and not dangerous, although we didn’t get close enough to touch them, or to want to! Goggles and snorkels were provided, but after all this scare with the norovirus, I opted to just wear my swimming goggles, which were good enough. After about 15 minutes we headed back to the cove, but missed the next boat back to the wharf, to the chagrin of my empty belly. Lunch time should have already been and gone. As we climbed out of the smaller boat into the water, one of my legs got stuck and I just about did the splits, or more likely a groin injury. My balance wading through the water trying to avoid the rocks was somewhat compromised.
By the time we returned to the little wharf and bought Dutchy his new pale blue short-sleeved shirt commemorating his visit to Moorea, and then taken the tender back to the ship, I couldn’t wait any longer. I raced up to the Park Café to have a delicious quesadilla, made all the more tasty by my hunger as it was almost 2.30pm. Still, I didn’t overeat as is often the case when over-hungry.
Exhausted and a little sunburned, I had a ¾ hour nap but made it to the gym before dinner and an early night, happy with the experience on the island.