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Moorea … The Wild Side!

While Tahiti didn’t meet our expectations and quite frankly let us down, Moorea is everything we hoped for and more. After spending so long in the chaotic and filthy city of Papeete it’s time to move to a more relaxed and beautiful spot. Moorea is just twelve miles from Papeete but it’s a complete and total world apart.

We leave the Marina Taina anchorage around 0900 and are making our approach to Cook’s Bay before noon. Just before we reach the turn we see a couple of humpback whales playing off in the distance. I don’t know about anyone else but I simply can’t get enough of watching these magnificent creatures. We dilly dally a bit watching them but it’s time to get to the anchorage. We’re hoping to get the dink in the water and head to the Bali Hai for some afternoon cocktails.

IMG_0605As we come through the pass in the reef we see just a handful of boats in the harbor. On three sides of us the magnificent, lush, green mountains rise from the shore. The bay is as flat and calm as can be and the water, while clear, is greener than we expected but still very nice.

We find a nice little spot and drop the hook. Of course if you follow us, you know what comes next. Yep, the ceremonial, anchor down beer. They’ve had just enough time in our Engel’s freeze to be frosty cold with a thin layer of ice on top. Oh yeah!

Before long we drop the dink in the water and head to shore. This turns out to be a bit of a disappointment as it turns out the Bali Hai no longer exists. It’s been taken over by another company and they only serve breakfast and lunch. Oh well, there’s another resort on the water down the way so off we go.

IMG_0601We arrive at the dock at Hotel Kaveka and the place is deserted. There’s not a soul on the large, beautiful deck but there is music playing so we walk in. A nice Polynesian woman comes out and offers to get us a drink. She tells us they only serve dinner. That’s okay, we’ll just enjoy a Mai Tai. So, we have the entire deck all to ourselves. It is atop of the ultra clear water and we watch the colorful fish swim below. The weather is beautiful and life is amazing.

Cook’s Bay is a wonderful place to spend a few days. There’s a great grocery store there with lunchmeat, a treat we actually look forward to these days, and lots of great fresh meat and veggies. We spend two days there before heading to the next bay over, Opunohu Bay. It’s just an hour trip and we decide this time to anchor out at the mouth of the pass just inside the reef. Here is where the really beautiful water is and it’s perfect.

We anchor down in about fifteen feet of water and we are the only ones in this little piece of heaven. I’m so excited as on the east side of the pass there are dozens of boats. To the west, near the Intercontinental Resort there are another half dozen. We just happened to get this little piece of paradise all to ourselves. Ahhhh!

IMG_0668Of course if you’re a cruiser you know that solitude in places like this is hard to find and just when I think it’s all perfect a large catamaran comes right at us. It’s a charter boat and it’s full of French tourists. At first they drop their anchor right over top of ours. Dan calls them on the radio and advises they are on top of us so they move. There’s plenty of room in this spot for them to leave us a little privacy but instead they anchor about 75 feet off our port side. Granted that’s not “on top of us” but why anchor so close when there’s so much room? Oh well, there goes our peace and quiet but you know, you can’t have everything.

They are in the anchorage for less than a half an hour when the men on the boat decide they will relieve themselves off their starboard side. They just stand there looking over at us like it’s perfectly fine. You know, I really don’t care except that I don’t want to see these old guys with their junk hanging out. I let the first one go by without a word. I even let the second one go but by the time the third guy goes up there I stand on the side of Dazzler and just throw my hands in the air. He looks at me kind of funny and some woman on the boat smacks him and pulls him inside. Okay, maybe she’s got some sense. But, before long here comes another one of the guys. Seriously? I’m ready to get on the radio and say something but Dan just tells me to calm down. We can’t police the world. No, I can’t police them but I sure can tell them how disrespectful they are being. I don’t though. I just go below and try to ignore it.

Fortunately for us they take off early the next morning because if I had seen it go on again I was going to go over and say something. I know I’ve said it before and I’m sorry if I seem to be labeling the French but they all seem to be completely rude down here and I just can’t take it.

Mid afternoon on the day the catamaran leaves we see a boat coming into the pass. It looks familiar so I turn on the electronics to see if they are showing up. Yep, I’m right. We know this boat. It’s our dear friends, Lutz & Gabi of SV SuAn. We are both so excited to see them headed our way. If we have to have neighbors, these are the kind we want to have here.

We invite them over for dinner. Dan makes spicy sausages and red beans & rice. Of course it is accompanied by his delicious Mai Tais. We all have a wonderful time catching up and enjoying each other’s company. That’s one of the great things about cruising. You can be walking down the road or anchored in an anchorage in some foreign country and all of the sudden you see a wonderful friend.

We decide that we’ll go snorkeling tomorrow where you can swim with the stingrays. There’s a spot out on the north end of Moorea out in front of the Intercontinental Hotel that they call “Stingray City”. Tour operators bring people out to swim with and feed the rays. Of course we don’t need to go with a tour. We’ll just hop in our dinghies and head over.

Lutz & Gabi of SV SuAn

The next morning we arise bright and early and head out to the coveted spot. Halfway there Lutz & Gabi have an issue with the motor on their dink. He was playing in our wake and accidentally swamped it. Ooops! So, we tow them back to their boat and wait while he fixes it. Less than a half hour later we are on the way again.


We make it to stingray city before it starts to get crowded with tourists. From the dink you can see the rays and a few black tip shark swimming about. We’re all eager to get in the water. It’s about chest deep so I’m standing next to the dink as Dan opens up a can of sardines. Of course these rays are trained to know food is coming and all of the sudden one comes swimming up behind me and literally comes out of the water and slides over my right shoulder. I wasn’t ready for that so I jumped a bit. Dan starts laughing at me. Then he puts some sardines in his hand and two rays come up and slide over top of it to eat the yummy treat.

These rays are like puppies. All they want is attention and food. Their wings feel a bit like sandpaper on the top but on the bottom they feel soft as silk. Of course there’s sand on their tops so I’m assuming that has something to do with it. They are so cool though with the way the wrap their wings around you as if to give you a hug.

The four of us are having a ball feeding them. When they come up to take the food out of your palm you feel a sucking motion. Of course we wear gloves because we’ve heard of some people who get pricked by their tiny teeth. Before you start asking why we would do this if there is a chance of being bitten, let me explain. Their teeth are set back inside their mouths and if you hold your hand out flat they will just suck the food off of it. Those whom I’ve read about that who got pricked were ones whose fingers got inside the mouth. As for us, none of us had this happen. That’s good too because the black tip sharks are swimming all around us and we all know that blood and sharks don’t mix.

Sharks & Ray

Speaking of the sharks I find it interesting that they keep a pretty good distance from us even though we are feeding the rays. Being the scavengers that they are you’d think they would get closer but they don’t. They swim in a circle around all of us.

As time goes on we spend almost and hour swimming and playing with these beautiful creatures. Finally Dan points toward a couple of the black tips and says they are closing in their circle around us. And, there are more than just the two or three we initially saw when entering the water. For safety sake he decides it’s time to move on so we all finish the feeding and get back in our dinks. Ironically at this time the local tour operators are out in full force. The water is so clear you can see all the rays and sharks clearly from above. There must be fifty or sixty people in the water by now. There are adults, children and even babies in water wings floating above the sharks. Now as an adult I know the risk I’m taking and can think logically to mitigate that risk but I’m not so sure I’d have put my baby in the water with sharks all around. Just saying.

~Underwater TikiWith our ray adventure over we head back toward the boats to find the spot where we can snorkel the underwater tikis. Lutz & Gabi had already done that when they came to Moorea for the PPJ party in June. It is pretty cool to see tikis underwater but none of us know their origin. So, after we snorkeled here a bit we hop in our dinks and get ready to go back to the boats when we see a tour boat dropping some tourists off. We stop and ask them about the tikis.

It turns out they aren’t ancient or anything like that. A local carved them some fifteen years or so ago. They were on the hillside and the church elders were unhappy with it because they said you can’t serve two Gods. So the carver took them out and dumped them in the bay. Now they are a tourist attraction and they help to generate income for the local tour operators. Now you have the rest of the story.

Yes, our day with the rays, sharks and tikis was a really awesome day. It might be one of my favorite days since we left Mexico. If you ever get a chance to swim with stingrays I highly recommend it. It was a wonderful experience and one we’ll never forget.

And, we made a short video of our day so if you’re interested, go to our YouTube page and watch it. CLICK HERE TO WATCH OUR VIDEO!

Until Next Time,

Jilly & Dan

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Daniel’s Bay, Nuka Hiva

Blog ViewWe arrived here in Daniel’s Bay on the island of Nuka Hiva. Yep, my honey has his own special place down here. It is just four miles from Taiohae Bay where we’ve been for the past week. It’s a nice little bay with rocky cliffs on one side and a semi-white sand beach on the other. So far there are just five boats here. It’s a nice change from where we were surrounded by fifty or sixty other boats in Taiohae Bay. We know all the others here with the exception of one French boat.

They tell us there are sharks here in this bay so no swimming. Ernie on SV Patience was fishing from his dink last night and said he saw four or five sharks chasing the fish he caught. And, he saw a Tiger shark. They are pretty territorial and can be aggressive. It’s okay, I don’t need to swim here. Plus we’ve had quite bit of rain this week which means all the run off from the mountains is making the water a bit murky. I’ll wait until we get to the Tuomotus where the water is crystal clear. If I’m going to be eaten I’d at least like to see it coming.

Apparently a few years ago they filmed an episode of Survivor here. Never watched it so I couldn’t tell ya anything about it. The waterfall here is said to be the 3rd tallest in the world however I can’t confirm that. I doubt we will hike all the way to it as you have to wade, waist deep through a murky pond filled with fresh water eels. They say they don’t bite but will rub against you and may nip at your legs. No thank you! I’ll pass on the eel experience.

I’ve read that you can hike about halfway there and see 60-70% of the falls so we may do that. I really want to see the ancient ruins along the way so we’ll see. SV Nightide and SV Patience are leaving tomorrow for the 4-5 Day trip to the Tuomotus. All of us are getting together for sundowners and nibbles on Nightide this afternoon. Like I’ve said before we really don’t feel like strangers in a strange land here as it seems we have friends around every corner.

Ed & Linda on SV One Fine Day are coming in as well. We’re becoming pretty good friends. I wish we could head to the Tuomotus with them this week but we have to wait for the generator so we’re stuck here for about two weeks. Of course there’s worse places to be stuck I guess.

This afternoon Dan is napping and I’m in the hammock looking for sharks. Hope I get to see a few….from the safety of the boat of course.

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

Blog CoconutToday is a new day and we are loving Daniel’s Bay. Yesterday we decided to go on a hike with Ed & Linda to the waterfall for the day. When we were getting ready to leave we saw a black tip shark come out of the water and grab a fish just about twenty feet from the boat. That was amazing as his whole body came out of the water while he chomped down on his prey!

We headed to the beach on the dink and realized we needed to add air to the dinghy wheels so had to head back to the boat. On the way we saw a five foot hammerhead shark swim right along side of the dinghy. OH WOW! THAT WAS AWESOME! My camera was in the waterproof case in Dan’s backpack so I didn’t get a pic but I’m hoping he’ll come back. We saw him again after we reached the boat. We also saw about a half dozen or so black tip sharks. None were very big but it was still awesome to see. Definitely no swimming here! LOL

We made it back to shore and then had to walk a trail that snakes along the bay here to get to the village. The village is absolutely stunning. We’re still amazed as we travel through these places at how manicured the grounds are around these villages. As we arrived in the village we saw a few people harvesting coconuts. They harvest them and then dry them for copra which is used to make coconut oil and other coconut products. It’s their big export here. The guy sitting on the ground was named Teiki. He was a pretty scary looking dude. You can tell he’s lived here his whole life. I’m guessing he’s probably about thirty or so. He is covered in Marquesan tattoos. Even half of his face is tatted up. And his hair is shaved back about halfway on his head. He has some big ol’ muscles too. His two front teeth are ground down to look like fangs and he’s got a strange look in his eyes. Of all the islanders we’ve seen, he looks most like he could be a cannibal. He was super nice but still a little scary. His wife, Kua, was very sweet. She asked if we wanted any fruit and then started taking orders from us. We ordered some mangos, pamplemouse, limes, oranges and we even asked for a coconut. I’m going to make macaroons for us. Yummy! Kau also told us to stop back by their house after our hike and she’d have some ice cold, fresh juices and ice cream for us.

We had to go out toward the beach to pay their uncle, Paul, to allow us to go to the falls. His home isn’t much but the view is amazing! They charge $10 USD per person to hike the trail. The money they collect helps their small community of Hakaui and it was completely worth it. Walking through the village and then the jungle was lovely. We even Blog Waterhad to cross the river a few times. The water was about knee deep but it felt amazing! It was really cold and we were really hot. Along the way we ran across ancient ruins, tikis and other unique things. We never made it to the falls as us old folks just started losing steam. Linda has issues with RA so we decided once we reached the large opening where we could see part of the falls we would go back. Even at that we hiked almost two hours into the jungle.

Blog Waterfall2

~Blog EdBack in the village we stopped at Teiki’s home where his wife, Kau, made us fresh juice. Ed, Linda & I had pamplemouse and Dan had this yummy mango drink that was thick and ice cold. It was like they froze the mango then blended it. Dan & I each had a little ice cream as well. He had coconut and I had banana mango. She makes it fresh. Their home is very traditional Marquesan. The only closed in room is the kitchen and it doesn’t have a door. It just opens to the outside. They have a huge stand alone freezer so they obvioulsy get power. Didn’t see solar panels so I’m thinking it’s hydroelectric power like the other islands. There is a roof that covers the entire place and they sleep in tiny tents on the stone floor outside. They have a large picnic table under roof and they will make dinners for you there for a price. It’s sort of like we did in Fatu Hiva. They had a grill made of half a metal drum and on it they had a pig head boiling in a pot! YUCKY! It is amazing how little these people have yet they are all so happy and smiling. The photo of Ed sitting down is “inside” of their home. I use the word inside but as you can see…inside for them is still outside. Teiki came back to the house while we were there. He and Kau speak pretty good English. He started rearranging his spear guns and I felt a little uneasy. He had four of them and there were four of us…Were they feeding us food to make us more tasty??? Of course I’m joking and they were nothing short of gracious hosts. He even made certain to tell us not to eat the fish in the next anchorage as it has ciguatera. That’s something reef fish get and is common down here. You never eat reef fish in Polynesia without talking to the locals first. Pelagic fish like tuna, wahoo and mahi are always safe and that’s what we like anyway.

Blog D & JOf course we paid for the drinks, fruit and ice cream. We toted a whole slew bang of fruits back to the boat. The mangos here are different than in Florida. They are really sweet and a slightly different texture. I’ve never been a mango fan but these are starting to grow on me. Don’t tell Dan because I told him I would never like them.

Blog with ED & LinLast night we went to Ed & Linda’s boat for sundowners and she ended up making dinner for us as well. We had a really nice time. We do so enjoy hanging out with them. They are really good people and lots of fun!

Today we’ve been working on projects. Dan opened the coconut and got all the meat out and shredded it. I’ve dried it and tomorrow will be making macaroons. Tonight Ed & Linda are coming over here for dinner. Looking forward to another nice evening with them.

We’ll be leaving tomorrow to head north around the island. There’s another bay that is supposed to be the most awesome bay in all of the Marquesas. Well, you know, can’t pass that up.

Until Next Time,