Moorea Cooks Bay

Last night we went from Oponohu Bay to Cooks Bay. Although the two bays are fairly close, the way the channels work, the ship had to go outside the reef, sail for a bit, and then head back inside to Cooks Bay. We were under full sail when a sudden squall hit. If we had been a pinball machine, a big TILT would have appeared. We listed to starboard for several minutes until the crew got the sails down. Now, there are lists, and there are lists, but this one had me up against the bed’s adjoining wall. I could envision Mike twisting his Sea Bands.

As a group of us was taking a four hour ATV tour of Moorea, early breakfast was the order of the day. I should mention that breakfast on Star Flyer is quite an enterprise. There are all kinds of fruit, pancakes, waffles, eggs, an omelet station, and even two kinds of bacon; crisp and bendable.

At 8:30, the tender took us to the pier, where a van was waiting to take us to the ATV headquarters. After signing some “nothing is your fault” papers and showing our driver’s licenses, we were each checked out on how to operate an ATV. Actually, there wasn’t much to learn; they’re simple to manage.

“Here’s the brake, here’s the throttle, here’s the key, have a good time.”

Each of us, except me, had a partner which left me with an ATV all my own. I loved the freedom; no backseat driver screaming in my ear.

As I’ve mentioned, this is not my first trip to Moorea, but it’s been the best. Our tour took us to the interior of the island, an area that most tourists don’t see. We went off the main road, up an access road, and from then on it was dirt trails. We saw pineapple fields,

unusual flower blossoms,

and the lush surroundings.

Mike, from New York, after one particular zoom on the dirt trail, pulled the leader aside and put in plain words that asphalt was OK, but dirt trails were “not his cup of tea”.

At that point I had a passenger. Mike’s wife got on the back of the guide’s machine, and Mike climbed on mine.

just joking Mike

On the way up a narrow and steep path, my wheels hit a muddy rut, and lost all traction. I felt like I was back in New Jersey snow. On our right was a steep drop. I told Mike I’d have to release the brake, and slip back until I could get the wheels to grip. I did, they did, and up we went.

After that hairy incident, we both celebrated at the top on the hill; Mike a few shades paler.

The peak of the tour was, well, a peak. We drove, then hiked and came to the crest of Magic Mountain. The view was awesome. Star Flyer, alone in the bay, particularly striking.

Then it was down to the street. Mike and his wife back on their ATV, and me alone once again. Our line stretched out; I was able to go slow until the duo behind me caught up, and then I’d jam the throttle all the way forward until I caught up with the next two. The speed limit was 60 km per hour. I hit 65; about 40 mph. Wheeeeeeeeee!

Everyone in the group had an exciting and memorable excursion.

When you visit Moorea you must make this part of your trip. http://www.atvmoorea.com

When we left the ATV shop the guide told me I was the best driver. I also swam with the sharks. No more “Papa” for me.

At the pier, waiting for the tender, a vendor had some black pearl necklaces for sale, each with a single pearl. At 25 Euros each, they were not high quality, but looked lovely on the necks of the women at dinner.

Sails raised, we left for Papeete that night. This was a gloomy time for me. It was almost over.

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