As most of you know from our gloating on FB….We made it!  Rich figured out the flight check in late the night before we left.  Off for flight 16!

Island bound…we landed at Papeete at 10:40 and through customs (another scare that we needed VISAs …but we didn’t phew!) and off to our airbnb room for the night.  I am glad we didn’t stay on Papeete….and the place we stayed was fine for a night…good wifi and coffee in the morning…and up early for a ferry ride to Moorea.

We weren’t supposed to be able to check in until after 3pm (arriving on the 9:45 ferry at 10:15am)  and therefore we had planned to buy a day pass to Manava Resort (the quintessential Tahiti thatched hut on the water/over priced resort) just 5min walk away…but our room was ready and Stephane and Franck (lovely hosts) allowed us to stay here.

Our place is AMAZING with the very warm water just a few steps away from our bungalow.  We have two rooms – both with a/c, a shower in the kids room, a toilet in a cubby separating our rooms and an outdoor patio/lounge area and dining room….oh and an outdoor kitchen.  ALL food goes in the fridge so no critters get it!

We settled in quickly…it is VERY VERY HOT…so the boys took a quick trip to get groceries while the girls checked out the water!  So warm and calm b/c it is the lagoon….a large reef encircles the island and provides a natural breaker for the big water…and the “big fish” (aka sharks)!

Quickly sunburn followed our arrival…..ooops.

 

Our days were basically spent chilling, some homework, reading, yoga, cards, sangria, Shirley Temples, trips to the grocery store (right across the street), some eating out (groceries are very expensive…and can walk to cute little restaurants just down the road), bike rides (they have bikes to take from here), kayaking (fun to try to dump eachother off), snorkeling right off our front lawn (lots of fish to see) and watching some sting rays frolick around right on our beach (ok…that got us spooked about stepping on them by accident)!

…sorry….we know it is FREEZING AT HOME.  Basically the opposite. -30deg feels like -40deg with the windchill (I am going to FREEZE in two weeks when we are home…please please please warm up).

The kids surprised us with the willingness to adventure.  They tried scuba diving for the first time.  Rich went with the company out beyond the reef for two dives in the am…and the kids and I joined him in the afternoon.  Only 2-6m dives, no sharks, in the lagoon and only about 40min long.  I can handle that….except I didn’t really!  A panic attack, Lulu scared too…up we came after about 15min…but then we got our big girl panties back on and went down again….We saw a big turtle and two big rays and lots of fish (I had given up the GoPro after the first time up…so no great pics unfortunately).  Lulu loved it and wants to go again.  Wilson and Rich were next and they both loved it.  Wilson really had fun and no anxiety.  They saw 3 turtles and lots of fish.  We will have to plan on Rich and the kids diving in Galapagos…I am officially RETIRED from marine life!

Stephane and Franck told us about swimming with the rays and SHARKS just down the island.  We rented a car and drove around the island and up to the  Belvedere look out (ok but nothing “spectacular” in my opinion)…we did see lots of local triathletes biking up the hill…what a work out that would have been!  We stopped in at Tipanier resort (where you can rent a little outboard motor boat and put put over to the shallow area where the rays and sharks are.  We (all except Rich) were full of nerves but we went along…no expectations.

Rich was first to jump in (of course)

and then Wilson figured he wanted to try…..he stalled out …

so I beat him in next…but he was quick to follow.  It took some convincing…

….but Lulu joined in.

It was really amazing.  SO many huge sting rays just gliding underneath you and SO many back tipped reef sharks swimming by you.  “Behind you Lulu”, “Over there Wilson”, “Dad, watch your feet” …etc….was heard back and forth.  Our hour went by very quickly…..but it was perfect.  A MUST DO even if you pee your swimsuit a little just thinking about it!

Wilson actually swimming after a shark!

We have had a very relaxing, hot, adventurous stay here in Moorea and I wouldn’t count out coming back.  Au revoir as they say here!