Tag Archives: Opunohu 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.

Cicumnavigating Mount Rotui

Opunohu Bay is located at the very heart of the island of Mo’orea.  The highest summits of the Opunohu valley lay around the collapsed caldera which gave rise to the island.  Mount Rotui (899m) and Mount Tohivea (1207m) being the two tallest peaks.  Rich soils, gentle slopes, and crisscrossed rivers, make it suited to agricultural activities.

Pineapple plantations, citrus plantations, vegetable gardens, pastures, pine and mahogany patches are all developed to feed the local market covering over 300 hectares.  An additional 100 hectares are rented to local farmers and 35 hectares are dedicated to agricultural establishment dedicated to teaching programs (vocational education and training in the farming sector).

Opunohu Bay Caldera

Opunohu Bay Caldera

Matt and I needed to stretch our legs.  We decided a walk about was in order.  Our original goal was just to explore the Opunohu Bay. However, we ended up circumnavigating Mount Rotui which was a surprise to both of us. 

Orbiting Mount Rotui

We started out near Ta’ahiamanu (say that three times fast) and walked past Vaihere. At Aaraeo we turned left (by the blue arrow) and walked through the pineapple plantations and gardens. Continued on to Pao Pao (Cooks bay) then back on the road, past Urufara, and back to Ta’ahiamanu.  Ended up being 21,456 steps, 9.6 miles!  Follow the map starting at orange line, to white line, back to orange line.  Who knew Mount Rotui took 4 hours to circumnavigate!

At the start, we walked along the and pass a beautiful public park with lush green grass and towering palm trees that line the beach.  Can you see Sugar Shack way, way back?

We came across a man playing Amazing Grace on the bag pipes.  He was just pacing back and forth along the shore playing his music.  It was lovely.

A local fisherman had his trophies displayed outside his house.  He clearly catches a lot of marlin!  Look at all the tails and beaks.  Holy moly.

There are two monuments celebrating “Captain Cook” in Opunohu Bay.  You’d think they would be in Cooks Bay, but no.  The funny thing is the bottom pedestal on one of them is upside down (lower right photo)! I am pointing to where we are in the world (sort of).

Captain Cook Memorials

Captain Cook Memorials

Just before reaching Aaraeo we stumbled on a new museum being built.  Really interesting shape – sort of like a clam with arched steel covered with solar panels.

New Museum

New Museum

Across the road is a beautiful look out.  It had several legends outlined on the plaque which are pretty darn cool.

Entering the heart of the valley

In order to complete our loop around Mount Rotui, we had to cut across the valley through the pineapple plantations.

The plantations and gardens popped up, once we made the left turn toward the center of the valley.  Lots and lots of pineapple fields – it is the pineapple island after all.

Pineapple plantations

Pineapple plantations

Lots of animals along the way, cows, horses, goats.

Beautiful pastures and sweeping views of towering mountains.

We crossed several creeks and rivers.  Most were flowing because we had heavy rains for a few days.

There are lots of trails around these mountains.  We did not hike up any of the mountains (this time) as our track would be close to 10 miles when we are done.  The different colors show the different trails on just Mt. Rotui.

When all was said and done, we were exhausted, hot, and hungry.  We made it back to the boat, and took a dip in the water to cool off.  We relaxed the rest of the day!

Events from this blog occurred on 8 November, 2020.  Our blog posts run 8 weeks behind our adventures.