ATV raiders

Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Moorea, Society Islands, French Polynesia
Wednesday March 26

We weren't due to sail for Moorea (or Mo’orea) until 9am but at some time after 8 I looked out the doors and realised that we were moving . It’s only an hour fast ferry ride from Papeete to the port of Vaiare but for us it was nearly three hours around to our anchorage in Cook’s Bay.

It was/is spectacular. Truly gorgeous. Those rugged peaks you see in every picture of Tahiti, palm trees along the shore and that amazing azure water. Wow!

I’d booked a 3.5 hour ATV Raid Adventure for the early afternoon so there was no rush to take the tender ashore. So we just wandered around up on deck 12 and tried to soak it all in. It is just too beautiful for words. All I could think of was that Bora Bora is going to have to be amazing to top this. And we hadn’t been to Huahine either!     

We went across to the shore on the coolest tender either of us have been on. It was like a fancy launch – beautiful seats, polished timber, even aircon!! Why would we have expected anything else?

A taxi pulled up and asked if I was Pete and off we went to ATV Moorea (www .atvmooreatours.pf/atvus/‎). Their office/depot is right across the road from the Intercontinental. We were met by one of the owners Karine, and Guillaume who took us out on the tour. There were two three couples so four ATVs in total. We’ve never sat on one so it was a whole new experience for both of us. Al wasn’t really interested in driving so it was all me for the nearly five hours that followed.

The first 15 minutes or so was on the road but just after turning up towards Belvedere we headed off road. It was heaps of fun. I suppose an hour into the tour one of the ATVs wouldn’t start – the key had snapped off in the ignition in the off position. I think by the sounds of things they might have been on a hospitality comp as she worked on the activities desk at the Sofitel Moorea. So they dropped out. Down to three we went further off road and then up to the Belvedere lookout where we could look down to Cook’s and Opunolu Bays. The view was spectacular.

After going back down into the valley and doing some fast dirt riding something started to go wrong with Guillaume’s ATV . I was behind it and could see one of the rear wheels literally bouncing up and down making a horrible metallic 'something’s going to break’ noise before even more horrible grinding and banging brought his to a stop as well. It was going nowhere. He decided we could tow it with ours so with a few fairly thin straps and me on the broken bike we set off for the road where Karine would meet us with another ATV for Guillaume to continue the trip. Going downhill I was scared of crashing in to Guillaume and Al and going up that the strap would break. Eventually it did. When I got stuck in a creek. Al and I helped push the towing ATV up out of the creek and we finally made it to the road. Then the heavens opened and we took shelter under a tree.

Eventually Karine turned up and after many apologies we resumed the tour. We finished by driving up the most amazingly steep road/lane/driveway I’ve ever seen to a lookout atop ‘Magic Mountain’. We looked right down into Opunolu Bay . A scary drive but worth the terror.

We got back to the office at just after six, five hours after our 3 ½ hour tour began. It was brilliant. We’d had the most fantastic afternoon!! I’d read about an island show at a place called Club Bali Hai so asked if we could be dropped off there and not at the ship (it was a couple of kilometres down the road from the ship. Somehow that got missed and our taxi driver dropped us off at the dock so we walked back down the road to find the whole place closed up.

We trudged back up the road and had a pretty ordinary (and of course hellishly expensive) dinner at Taveka Hotel

Day one Moorea was over.

Thursday March 27

Prior to setting off on the trip I'd
tried to pre-book as many tours and activities as I could. The ATV tour yesterday had been booked months ago . Tours arranged through ships are notoriously expensive. The World’s were even more so. A Moorea lagoon tour had proved problematic. The tour I most wanted to take was with Hiro (www.hirotour.com/).

But Hiro wasn’t offering a lagoon tour on Thursday, just a 4wd safari. So I tried Moorea Boat Tours. What an eventual waste of a lot of effort. Website didn’t work. Emails weren’t answered. Facebook messages weren’t answered for weeks. By the time we got to Papeete I was out of patience and nearly out of time.

And then on the pier beside the ship I met Kath, one of the extended Hiro family. Of course we could do a lagoon tour on Thursday. Oceania was in the bay so we would go with
them. Hooray. Too bad Moorea Boat Tours.

And so we found ourselves early Thursday in another taxi driving around past Opunolu Bay to join Hiro’s merry band. We'd been met back at the wharf by two guys who walked up to us and asked us if one of us was Brown . I said, I'm Brown and the young guy said he was as well and pointed to his skin and laughed. Turns out the older one with the American accent was Hiro and the younger 'brown' guy was Kath's son.

What a brilliant day. It was a mix of Moorea holiday makers, Oceania passengers and us. Oh, and the Hiro gang on board Hiro’s very cool catamaran. We took Tour A (no dolphins though) and paid NZD60. Brochure link is http://www.hirotour.com/docs/brochure_and_map_hiro_tours.pdf

We went for a bit of a scenic cruise before returning to the dock and picking up some more people who’d been roped in and away we went. First stop sharks and rays. Just check out the pictures and a couple of videos I took. It was amazing and freaky in equal measures being in the water with so many sharks and so many stingrays. And from what I could see all of those rays still had their barbs (this comment will make more sense after you’ve read the Bora Bora post) . The shrieks of terror from a couple of the women in the water was hilarious.

Then we headed for their motu where the bbq had been set up. The open bar wasn’t as open as I thought it might be and a group of Columbians got at the bbq first leaving very little for the rest of the crowd but it was a great day. The two guys who ran the show, especially the 'bigger’ guy, were absolutely hilarious. Once lunch was done there was a pareo show. It was bloody funny. Time for some snorkelling and then we headed back to the dock. It was supposed to be 5 ½ hours but when we said where we were from (The World around in Cook’s Bay) they told us they would take us right back to the ship. I think it ended up being closer to seven hours. Brilliant. Thanks Hiro and the gang.

On the way back to the ship on the tender a young guy in a small fibreglass outrigger canoe
paddled into the wake. He eventually caught the stern wave and pretty much surfed all the way out with us . Fantastic.

We were back in time for our safety briefing so raced back on board, got tidied up and went down to the theatre only to find no one there. When we went over to reception and were told it wasn’t on and that if we’d watched the briefing on the TV we were ok.

When we went back to the cabin there was a letter in our letterbox from the safety officer noting that we hadn’t attended the briefing and providing us with instructions on what to do in case we did a Titanic.

Dinner at the Pool Grill again. Delicious.
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2022-06-29