Moorea; Oponohu Bay

Moorea; Oponohu Bay

We’re making two stops in Moorea; Oponohu Bay today, then a brief sail to Cooks Bay. Moorea is a gorgeous island

and a favorite honeymoon destination. But if you translate Moorea to Tahitian, you’ll be telling your friends that you spent a glorious honeymoon on Yellow Lizard.

My wife Michael and I first visited Moorea years ago on the original Island Princess. As the tender dropped us off, it was apparent that the recent hurricane at pretty much had a thing for thatch, and most of the roofs of the nearby hotel bungalows were gone. We went into, because of its concrete construction, a still intact bar. A group of men were huddled around the radio listening to the weather report.

I figured they were waiting to hear about when the sun might again appear. The clouds however, although low, were not threatening so we rented a motor scooter, fired up, and left to explore the island.

Remember those non threatening clouds; they lied. A few miles down the road it began to pour. So what we laughed, wet T-shirts and shorts weren’t going to discourage us. A few more miles and Michael was trying to “windshield wash” the rain from my sunglasses. That did not work well. The fun was over. We were about to turn around when we heard the ship’s whistle. Moments later a jeep with three crewmen aboard, emerged from a sheet of rain

“Back to the ship immediately,” they yelled. “We’re leaving right away.”

A wretched wet and soggy cluster of passengers were at the dock being loaded into tenders. It seems that the bar group was not listening to see when the sun might appear, but rather to the reports that the hurricane, not thatchified, was coming back for another bite. As gusts of wind lashed the lagoon, the ship got out not a moment too soon. The guys in the bar came out to watch us leave.

I’ve been to Moorea several times since then but on this day, I made a big mistake. Breakfast over, the sky was getting fairly cloudy. Rain showers could be seen in the distance. Our tour was a six hour beach day with snorkeling and a picnic.

Feeling a bit under the weather (oh, never mind), and still struggling with my Canon S70 camera, (could the “S” mean “sometimes”? I weighed all of that against a rainy beach day. Bad, bad decision.

Although I wasn’t unhappy to be on the ship, reading in the sun, the tour group had an extraordinary experience. They ran across a Tahitian wedding on the beach. An American couple were getting married, their two children on their laps, as a high priest and native attendants performed the ceremony in full native regalia. The photos they showed me were awesome. I tried to tell them what they had missed on the ship, but a hot game of Scrabble didn’t seem to dampen their spirits. Mine were damp enough for us all.

The one bright spot for me was this reportedly true anecdote. A guy went to the dentist the other day, and making conversation with the dental hygienist he talked about the cruise he was going on next week.

She got very excited and said they had gone on a cruise once and loved it. “As a matter of fact,” she told him eagerly, “one of the drinks we had when we got on was so fab that we asked what was in it, and we make it quite often.”

So he asked her, “What is its name?”

“Drink of the Day! That’s what they called it,” she exclaimed.

“That was the name of it?” he asked.

“Yes, Drink of the Day, and we loved them.”

Cook’s Bay is next.

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