Moorea is about 26-miles from Point Venus which theoretically would take us about 4-4.5 hours. We started out with zero wind and 2 hours later we had 20-25 kts of wind. There is definitely a strange weather pattern happening – or locally called “maramu.” Moorea was voted “The most beautiful island you have never heard of” by Huffington post. Mo’orea was formed 1.5-2.5 million years ago from a volcano called “Calderia”. The island is only about 10 miles wide and has nearly 18,000 inhabitants. This island is known as the Pineapple island yet the legend has the local name as the “Yellow Lizard.”
Our destination, Cooks Bay which is a deep, protected bay surrounded by lush, sloping mountains covered in vibrant, green foliage.
The mountains only appear greener as you get closer. There is a small village at the center of the bay and houses and hotels that pepper the waterfront.
EXPLORING MOOREA ON LAND:
Our first day, we walked to Paopao, found a mobile gas station, magasin (market), and a pizza place.
The next day, we docked the dinghy at the center of the bay and found the Super U market and several small businesses. Including, this eatery with an enormous bird catching a fish on the side.
Sugar Shack looking pretty with the mountains as a backdrop.
We decided to explore the island and search for the pineapple fields. They are about 2-miles inland and are located half way between Cooks Bay and Opunohu Bay. It was an easy walk along the paved road for the first 1.75 miles, then it changed to a dirt, muddy road. But the majestic views made up for the wet trail.
The locals have grown pineapple fields throughout the mountains and they are spectacular to see.
Each pineapple plant takes about 9 months to mature, then one pineapple with grown in its core. The plant will not bloom another core pineapple. The plant will produce one pineapple closer to its roots every 3-6 months. Pineapples grow smaller with each new birth. The pineapple plant is dug up and discarded after the plants have produced fruit for 6-7 years. Because of the relatively short life cycle, they have many fields in various stages of production.
We anchored near an old church with a red steeple. So, we decide to find it on shore. I didn’t find any signage on the red steeple church, but the one next door is St. Joseph Catholic Church.
Stay tuned for more adventures on Moorea as we explore the island in a 4×4!
- There are over 2,000 variety of plants on Moorea, but only 200 are native.
- The water is not drinkable on Moorea so the government installed five drinking stations where the locals can bring bottles to fill up with water from the springs.
- The average monthly income is between 1,000-1,500 per month and that is only if they had a contract with a hotel or business that provided consistent work. This is staggering when you consider the cost of food is ridiculously expensive!
- Moorea used to have above ground power lines that were mounted on poles made of pine trees. The mayor got fed up with replacing the poles after each storm and ordered all lines to be run underground. It makes for a much more beautiful vista.
- The local government owns all of the plantations, but 33 families actually work the farms, grow the plants and produce the fruit.
Shocking and True:
- All of the islands in French Polynesia are slowly moving North West and are sinking about a ½” a year.
- The lower the island, the older it is until it becomes an “atoll” like the Tuamotu’s
- The coral dies when the fresh water from the mountains combines with the salt water from the sea.
- There are 118 islands in French Polynesia, yet only 42 islands are inhabited.