Tag Archives: cooks bay

Vaiare Bay, Mo'orea

Discovering the Beauty of Lockdown

Sugar Shack enters confinement / lockdown in Mo’orea with Wayne and Deborah on board.  Not an ideal situation for visiting guests, but we make the best of it.  Deborah has never been on Sugar Shack and we are determined to show her a good time.

Matt met Deborah at Maxserve in the 90’s (yep, well over 30 years ago and she still hangs around).  I have had the pleasure of knowing her for about 20 years and was really looking forward to sharing our sea life with her.



There’s a lot of gray area around the lockdown rules.  The government stated that no inter island travel was allowed.  Which sucked as we had planned on sailing Deborah and Wayne to the Leeward islands.  The government (DPAM) stated “no leisure travel.”   However, there was no clear law or rule about moving around to other anchorages within the island you were currently anchored at.  Several cruisers wrote to the local authorities and everyone got mixed messages.  One government group (police municipale) said yes, you have to move around to adhere to the local anchoring laws. Whereas DPAM (another government department) said “no moving period.” Who do you believe?

Some anchorages in Mo’orea (where we were located) have anchoring restrictions.  Some places you can only anchor for 1 week and some for only 48 hours.  These regulations were created by a different organization than the one running the confinement.  So, two groups trying to instill their version of the law and we are caught in the middle.  We decided to move to a different anchorage to give Deborah and Wayne a change of scenery.  I mean, if we are going to be stuck on the boat, at least we can do is change the view, right?

We started in Opunohu Bay and moved to the Tiki anchorage closer to the reef.

What do you do on a 47’ boat 24/7?

Lucky for us, both Deborah and Wayne are super easy going and flexible.  We chatted a lot, shared tall stories, laid out in the sun, and swam.  We read, played a lot of games (Cards Against Humanity, Gin, Poker, Racko, Dominoes), watched a movie or two and went to shore to stretch our legs during our allotted time.

Fly a Kite.  Matt found one kite in the water and tried to fly it despite the fact that it was missing a rod.  He then got out another smaller kite and flew it off the back of the boat.

Work out:  Deborah and I worked out in the mornings with some stretching, crunches, squats, and wrist weights.  After all, you have to stay in shape during lockdown, right?

Some reading….

Played on the dinghy.

Pearl Shopping

A friend of mine, who runs a small pearl farm, provides me with imperfect pearls.  I try to sell them to other cruisers to help my friend and to make the recipients happy.  They get cheap pearls and all the money goes back to the pearl farmer. 

It was great fun educating Deborah on the life cycle of the oyster and its pearl.  She found some real gems.

The Tiki anchorage is not a bad place to be during lockdown.  The views are beautiful as are the sunsets.

Lockdown view

Lockdown view

Excursion on Shore

We decided to make use of our 1-hour exercise allotment and headed to shore.  We have visited here before and had no problem using this old basin to access the village, but this time we were thwarted by a locked gate. So, we just enjoyed the entire basin grounds to ourselves.

No worries, we found plenty to entertain ourselves.  Deborah at the welcome sign and departure sign.  We also found some cool art work on the walls: a giant gecko and octopus.

Deborah so badly wanted to reach the palm tree…try as she might, she wasn’t nearly tall enough.

We had a lot of lounging around on the “lido deck”

The Underwater Tiki Anchorage

We couldn’t anchor at the tiki anchorage without stopping at the underwater tiki garden.  Now technically, we are not supposed to be snorkeling.  The locals can’t snorkel and do watersports so they ask that cruisers don’t do it either.  But we were in a remote anchorage, far from shore with little traffic and we used it as our one hour of exercise.  I know, excuses, excuses, excuses.

Snorkeling was a first for Deborah.  We had a rough start, but that was because the mask did not fit her properly.  After switching masks, she did rather well for a first timer.  It can be scary learning how to breath under water. 

Wayne and I swam out to the underwater tiki garden.  Matt took Deborah by dinghy and helped her with her gear.  She jumped in and swam around like a Rockstar.

We found all 7 sunken tikis along with several fish and little coral gardens.

We headed back to the boat to enjoy some water time.

Dolphins and Whales

We got so lucky!  One calm day we were able to spy some whales just outside the pass.  We jumped in the dinghy and went out to meet them.  A large pod of dolphins enjoyed surfing the waves too.

Then the humpback whales came out to play.  It appeared to be a momma and baby and another large adult.  They were amaze balls! 

Some random photo ops during lockdown:

Sunrise over Tahiti from Mo'orea

Sunrise over Tahiti from Mo’orea

Crazy Fun Photos

Definitely not the holiday we had envisioned for Deborah.  But hopefully she had a good time.

Coming up next we visit an underwater sanctuary.  In our last blog, we welcome Wayne onboard Sugar Shack and get one day to play before confinement.

Events from this blog post occurred during the third week of August, 2021.  Our blog posts run 10-12 weeks behind our adventures.

Artic P Mega Yacht

Confinement Among the Uber Rich

Matt and I moved Sugar Shack to Cooks Bay in Mo’orea for two reasons. 1) there is “talk” of a partial confinement; and 2) it is more protected from the forecasted maramu.  We weathered a pretty horrible storm while at anchor across from the Intercontinental Hotel.  We were seeing 3-meter seas come across the reef which caused miserable anchoring conditions.  The wind was blowing the boat one way, the current pulling it another, and the seas tugging it yet another way.  I ended up taking sea sick medicine while we were at anchor – that – is – how – bad – it – was.

Crap weather day at Marina Taina

Crap weather day at Marina Taina

As soon as the weather cleared, we high tailed it to Cooks Bay, Mo’orea.  Where we are more protected from the wind, swell, and current.  However, we do get strong gusts funneling between the looming mountains.  We saw gusts in the low 30’s and white caps in the bay, but we did ok.  We were rewarded with a beautiful rainbow.

Cooks Bay, Mo'orea

Cooks Bay, Mo’orea

This typically gorgeous bay has green mountains that jet from the lagoon.



We took the dinghy exploring.  This screamed to be captured just as the sun hit the side of the mountain.



Wayne arrives from the States

It was a challenge for Wayne to get to us.  After 12 hours of flying on two flights, he took a taxi to the ferry dock, hopped on the ferry to Mo’orea, then took a bus to Cooks Bay.  Planes, taxi, ferry, bus.  We don’t ask much of our friends to get to us.

Prior to his departure, we informed him of the current partial confinement.  We had a curfew every night from 9p-4a and we had full confinement from Friday, 9p to Monday 4a.  Meaning we could not move the boat or leave the boat during the weekends.  He decided he still wanted to come and so he did.

On his first day, Friday, we decide to be on shore as much as possible since we were going to have to be on the boat for the entire weekend.  We enjoy a fabulous lunch at Allo’s Pizza and then we hit the Mo’orea Beach Club for happy hour.

It was really pretty and a spectacular view.  We had tables nestled in the sand as the water lapped against our toes.  Enjoying a frosty beverage under the umbrella on a sunny afternoon.

Mo'orea Beach Club

Mo’orea Beach Club

This is how Matt feels about covid confinement…

In Good Company: The Super Yachts

Another maramu is forecasted to arrive.  We slowly start to see more and more mega yachts arriving. Everyone is coming to this anchorage for protection from the forecasted weather.

Artic P looks to me to be a yacht that would be used in Alaska to clear the ice. In midnight blue it shimmers against the sea as the hull sweeps from bow to stern.  We decided to take a closer look at this 88-meter boat (287’) with a 14-meter beam (42’). 

Artic P in Confinement

Artic P in Confinement

As we circle this huge yacht, we discover she has 6 tenders!  Yes, 6!  And three of them are larger than Sugar Shack!  In addition, she has loads of jet skis and other waters toys.  They even have a helicopter landing pad on the back.  This boat accommodates 12 guests and 25 crew!  She is the boat on the left.

Artic P toys stowed for confinement

Artic P toys stowed for confinement

Super Yacht Sail Boats

Imagine B is a stunning 34- meter (110’) monohull.  She is elegant, sleek and very sexy.  She anchored too far for me to snap a photo.  7 guests and 5 crew onboard this beauty.  She is available for $49,000 per week – I am not sure if that is per person or for all 7 guests. I think it is per person 😉

Askari has been seen in these waters for a long time. I am sure she still moves as we see her engines running periodically, but she is a fixture.  Not a particularly pretty boat, but huge none the less.

Imagine B and Askari

Imagine B and Askari

Hemisphere is one of the largest privately owned catamarans in the world.  She comes in at 44 meters (145’) and has a 6m beam. This beauty has hidden compartments under the bridge deck that stows one large dinghy and another that stores a jet fueled dinghy.  Nothing short of breathtaking. She is the large blue catamaran on the top right.  At a rate of $260,000 per week you too can enjoy a vacation on this amazing yacht.  10-12 guests in 5 cabins!  She even has storage in her mast.  Matt saw the crew pull out cleaning supplies (long mops) out of the mast.

One of her dinghies, is the TT Hemisphere which is a fishing yacht.  She comes in at 16.4 meters (larger than Sugar Shack) with a 6m beam (she is the fishing boat in the small picture).

Orion seems so small when compared to Hemisphere (in the photo), but she is actually 22 meters long (74’).  We have admired her at the marina for months.  She is a beauty all on her own.

Hemisphere and Orion

Hemisphere and Orion

Drenec is small compared to Artic P.  She comes in at 36-meters (118’) and 8-meter beam.  She sleeps 8 guests and 5 crew and has a range of 20,000 nm.  I didn’t get a good photo of her.

Throughout the weekend confinement we are hit with a few rain storms and a maramu.  We get lots of wind and rain, but the seas are relatively stable


The evening of Wayne’s first day and 2 days before Deborah arrives, we get the news that we are going into full confinement.  What?  Well, the covid cases have been through the roof, the hospitals are overrun, the ICU’s are full, and the death toll is high.  It took the government awhile to take such drastic measures as they decide between the health of the economy and the health of the population.

Full confinement starts for us Friday, 20 August 8p and will continue through Monday, 6 September 4a.  What does that mean?  Technically, we are not allowed to move the boat (unless given approval).  We are not allowed to leave the boat unless we meet one of the exceptions.  The only two exceptions we can qualify for is shopping for essential needs and 1 hour of exercise. 

In order to go ashore for either exemption, we fill out a form, check the box for the exemption and go ashore.  Confinement means that you are given an hour to shop and cannot go further than 1 kilometer from our residence.  We can exercise for an hour each day, but cannot go further than 1 kilometer from our residence.  Technically, we are not allowed to swim, use the dinghy (except for above) or visit with other boats.

Should be fun entertaining our friends on Sugar Shack!

In our next blog we try to find ways to entertain our good friends during confinement.  In our last blog with the  family we enjoyed family time at Vaiare Bay.

Events from this blog post occurred during the third week of August, 2021.  Our blog posts run 10-12 weeks behind our adventures.

Safari Mario Tour of Moorea

Tour time!  We found an outfit called “Safari Mario” who would take us by 4×4 to the pineapple plantations, Belvedere Mountain, Magic Mountain, and a vanilla farm where we have food samplings.

Our tour guide, Ron spoke English, Dutch and German.  He was exceedingly happy and very proud of his rock!  The first stop was the very same pineapple plantations that we had walked the day before.  But this time we got a little more history.

The first stop was “the Bounty” which is a flat surface where they shot parts of the 1983 movie “The Bounty.”  We had stopped here yesterday, but did not know any of the history.  The beautiful mountain in the background is called Moua Puta or Princess Hei Ata and she stands 800 meters.  You really have to use your imagination to see her silhouette.

The Bounty at Moorea

The Bounty at Moorea

We learned more about the pineapple farming (inserted into Moorea post) and also about bananas.  The banana tree will grow two flowers.  The female will turn into a bunch of bananas while the male flower will hang low.  The farmer must cut it once it droops as it will cause a reduction in the size of the bananas.  Plantains grow up toward the sky (lower right corner) while bananas grow down (lower left corner)

Pineapple Crop, Banana and Plantain Bloom

Pineapple Crop, Banana and Plantain Bloom

We crossed over two small running rivers in our 4×4 tour truck and up the Belvedere mountain.  From the top you can see both Cooks Bay and Opunohu Bay.

Two bays: Cooks Bay and O

Two bays: Cooks Bay and Opunohu Bay

Our 4×4 tour to Magic Mountain was bumpy and twisty.  The mountain got its name based on the famous theme park in California.  Known for its twists and turns  One family owns all of the property around Magic Mountain.  They have built a “road” to take visitors to the top and another road to take them down at a cost of $2 per person. Not bad when you consider all of the 4×4 trucks, hikers, and ATVs that go up on a daily basis.

Safari Mario Roads Less Traveled

Safari Mario Roads Less Traveled

We had spectacular views from the top, but unfortunately it was hazy so the colors don’t show up well on the photos.  The first photo is looking toward the Hilton where a large number of cruisers anchor.

View toward Hilton Hotel

View toward Hilton Hotel

The next photo is toward the Intercontinental where fewer boats anchor, but more day boats visit.

View toward Intercontinental Hotel

View toward Intercontinental Hotel

Breathtakingly beautiful views of the mountains and neighboring villages

On the way back to town, we passed by a sad, but majestic monument for Captain James Cook.  The British and French are known for their dislike of each other. So, the French are not taking care of the British monument.  It was surrounded by weeds and trailers.  But, the globe, hand carved in stone showed Capt. Cooks three voyages: 1768-1771, 1772-1775 and 1776-1778

Captain Cook Monument

Captain Cook Monument

Our last stop was the Tropical Gardens where we sampled fresh marmalade and vanilla.  All of the tables were adorned with floral arrangements.  They had a least a half dozen Christmas palm trees (middle left photo), a pretty pond and a vanilla farm.  The left lower image shows the vanilla bean and the lower right shows the vanilla flower.  At this farm, they have to pollinate each flower by hand.  One flower will produce one vanilla bean and it takes 9 months to transition from flower to bean.

Tropical Gardens

Tropical Gardens

The entire farm as littered with blooming flowers.  The flowering leaves on the top left incorporates the flower into the leaf. The alien flower top right just looks fabulous.

Tropical Gardens

Tropical Gardens

Overall, it was a spectacular tour.  Ron was very knowledgeable and passionate about Moorea.