After arriving in Papette Tahiti, we grabbed our bags, crossed the parking and tried to hitchhike to the ferry terminal to catch the frequent ferries across to the island of Moorea. Within 5 mins a bus arrived and we decided to jump on rather than play our luck on someone picking us up very soon. We arrived at the terminal, bought the tickets and boarded a ferry straight away. It was such a beautiful evening. We sat outside looking at beautiful Tahiti behind us and our next island to explore Moorea in front.
Teataura Pension – Our Moorea home
We’d heard of a great pension to camp at from two Americans in Bora Bora and decided to hitchhike to the other side near Haapiti. They couldn’t remember the name of it only it began with T and was between Nelson Camping and FunDive diving centre. We were picked up immediately by a French guy who had come from Tahiti to explore Moorea for a few days. He didn’t know where he was going to stay himself and instead drove us 30km to where we assumed our pension was. So kind!
We found the pension easily – Teataura Pension – and arrived to three completely drunk Tahitian guys. They were so happy to meet us and glad we wanted to stay. Ronald who was in charge, and a little inebriated, showed us to a tent already set up and told us to sleep there the first night and we’d sort everything out the next day when light. In the meantime grab a free Hinano beer, have some food, relax and enjoy! The first night was hilarious. Everyone drunk, then the wives turned up and then they were all drunk. Drunk and just so happy. We were trying out hardest to understand what they were saying but it was just mumbo jumbo. They would asked what our names were 5/6 times and then called us 5/6 different names! They probably offered us about 20 bottles of beer and we could only manage 4/5 together. It was just a great and entertaining first evening.
Our home is your home – Anything you want just ask!
The next morning after an average nights sleep in a very smelly, humid tent, we woke to find everyone acting as if nothing had happened. Everyone was up, cleaning, eating, cooking, and talking. The place was spotless, impressive. If we’d drunk half of what they had we’d be in bed the whole day!
Ronald, with not a hangover in sight, came with us on a kayak trip and showed us around. We kayaked a few kilometres to see some rays and sharks close up. A very popular day trip with the rich tourists. We then did a loop around two motu islands facing the Tipaniers, before visiting the reef break on the outer lagoon and then home. All free!! The sun was shining the company great.
We had lunch offered to us again before we went off for a quick walk to explore. We left the locals drinking and eating again.
The standard tradition for the Tahitians. The weekend = Drink and eat as much as you can!
Patricia the loveliest of ladies and who helps run the pension was preparing for the M’AA the next day. The M’AA is the traditional Tahitian feast cooked in an oven in a hole in the floor. She was preparing the food completely tipsy holding a hinano in one hand a really big knife in the other. She was happy though and seemed to know what she was doing. We think it was the norm!
We discovered quickly there really isn’t much to Moorea which is what makes it so lovely. No big towns, one large supermarket, the odd convenience store, some big American owned hotels with adjoining Tahitian pearl shops and the odd restaurant that’s open for only 4 hours a day. Other than that, life is pretty laid back.
What a day! Diving and a Tahitian Ma’a
The next morning, leaving JM to enjoy the chaos of preparing the Tahitian four (oven), I went diving. FunDive diving centre was just next to the pension and we’d heard good things from people we’d met the previous few weeks. Christian and Marie the owners were lovely and we did a dive at Tiki, just outside of the barrier reef. It was really nice and we saw two lovely grey sharks getting their teeth cleaned by some cleaning fish. To be honest I think Christian and Marie hyped it up a bit too much for me and I think we’ve been spoilt with the incredible diving on the other islands that the dive itself seemed pretty average. Anyway a dive in Polynesia is still incredible and I’m glad I went. I decided with one more dive left on our pass, to try another dive in Moorea rather than Tahiti. I booked for a dive 2 days later.
Food, glorious food!
I arrived back at the pension to complete chaos. The beers were flowing, food everywhere and everyone seemed settled for the rest of the day. The food was yummy but a little on the heavy side. When the oven was opened we could see the tonnes of food that had been placed in the hole earlier that morning. Almost everything was covered or wrapped with palm leaves and banana leaves. There was chicken, bananas, fish, breads, bread fruit, taro and other root vegetables. It was all piled high! The hole is normally covered up and left for hours before opening. On top of the food cooking in the ground, more was prepared in the kictchen. Rice, different chicken dishes, poisson cru, more breads – should I go on…. I’ve never seen anything like it. I’m so glad JM was insistent we eat a M’AA before we leave.
Stomachs full, all we wanted to do was have a nap in a huge bed with clean smelling sheets and a fan/AC. Unfortunately that was never going to happen, instead we just laid down in our horrible, smelly, hot tent. We still hadn’t made the effort to pitch our own tent, so we were still sleeping in the Pension’s. 20 minutes later after zero sleep, we went for a swim and a short walk to try and digest. Everyone else continued with the food and drink. By 7pm everyone, both guests and staff were all in bed either from eating or drinking too much, a bit like Christmas.
Island road trip in the rain…. again!
On Monday morning we hired a car and decided to do a round the island tour and took Ronald with us a guide. It was actually his idea and it was free of charge again! Sadly Moorea car rental is extortionate in comparison to Tahiti. Almost 3 times more expensive! We definitely saw this day as a luxury on our budget spreadsheet! Unfortunately and typically it rained 80% of the day. We headed off in an anticlockwise direction from the pension. Our first main stop was a waterfall to the south east of the island. It’s wasn’t signposted anywhere so difficult to find. We just followed Ronald’s directions. We parked in a local’s garden, we asked beforehand of course! and walked 30 minutes to the fall. We asked Ronald if we needed shoes but told flip flops were fine. Actually they weren’t fine. In fact the best way to get to the waterfall was barefoot and to slip and slide in the mud. The recent rain really had had an effect! We arrived to a huge waterfall with less water than we expected after all the rain. It was still beautiful and JM had a dip in the water.
I personally just had this weird feeling about the water and decided to just watch as the boys cooled down. After everyone was out I spotted something in the corner of my eye. Something moving at the side of the pool. I asked Ronald by any chance were there eels in the water. As most people will know about me, my biggest fears are eels. I have nightmares about eels. I dislike them so so much!!! The next minute this eel swims through the water not far from where JM was paddling 5 minutes before. Grosssss!
That was just the baby…….. Then, the most revolting disgusting enormous eel, the mama of all big mama eels swam behind the baby. I swear it was as long as 3m – exaggerating a little!
I wasn’t even in the water but when I saw it it made me jump so much. It was humongous!!! Even JM got the heeby jeebies knowing he’d just been swimming with it. After some fresh grapefruit we walked back barefoot through the mud and back on to the road. We continued round (it’s only 60 km) stopping at some small beaches, a fruit juice factory (Moorea is famous for pineapples) to sample fruit juice and random fruit liquors. Pretty disgusting all of them!
The most famous view point on the island is at Belvedere point which overlooks the beautiful Opunohu and Cooks Bays. Disappointingly we couldn’t see a thing and got soaking wet! The rest of the day stayed pretty darn miserable. We did another trip round the island later and on our own but the weather didn’t improve. We still had the car for 3 hours the following morning before it needed to be returned so hopefully we might be able to see a little more then. Ronald and Patricia also took pity on us in the tent that night and offered us a little bungalow at the same price as camping. Bonus!
JM returned the car and I headed off on my last dive in Polynesia. Sad times! It was a really lovely dive to finish with. Incredible visibility, nice coral, fish and lots of black tips, oh and two enormous lemon sharks. The biggest sharks I’ve seen other than the whale shark. They were beautiful. Personally I only had one dive left but it was a two dive morning trip with a one hour surface time. This meant me staying on the boat for another two hours. Normally this would be ace, particularly if the sun was shining (which it wasn’t) but unfortunately for me we were out just off from the pass and the swell was moving in every which way possible. The little dive boat was being rocked and rolled all over the place with me on-board. Noooooooooo! After an hour and a half guess what yep, seasickness conquered and I spewed and fed the fishes. Luckily no one was around to see!
Finally with feet firmly on the ground, the sickness past and some food in my belly I was a good as new. For the rest of the day the rain continued and we felt pretty stuck with not much to do. The island really is a fair weather island only!
Later that afternoon Ronald and Patricia prepared some ‘goodbye’ drinks and dinner for us which were ridiculously kind of them. It was a great evening spent with the two of them and the fellow guests and yes they were in bed by 8pm again after a few too many beers. Great entertainment!
The following day after a gorgeous kayak trip, we hitchhiked back to the ferry terminal to board the boat back to Tahiti.
We really loved our stay on Moorea. The locals were surprise surprise super friendly, we felt part of another Polynesian family at the pension, kayaking, snorkelling and diving were great fun and the potential was there for some incredible hikes if the weather had been in our favour. Personally we felt maybe we stayed too long and 4 days max would be the perfect amount of time. We covered most of the island weather permitting, and were now ready for some serious adventures on Tahiti!