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Travel : Papeete - to Moorea, Tahiti , May, 11th 2022

Updated: Jun 14, 2022

The second post of a trip (here) which started on May 10/2022

Our first and only visit to Moorea, up to date, was at our much youthful years. That memorable trip, with our 2 daughters and our dear friends Avri and Niva with their 3 sons, took place, right after Sept 11th 2001, when the world literally stopped flying..

Only one week was spent at the Moorea Med-Club, which sadly closed in 2004. and the land was returned to the original Island's family. The property is fenced off, and much of the land has been cleared. A few locals (relatives of the land owner) use the remaining bungalows. The beach is still very accessible from the shore, through one of the other hotels or restaurants in that area.

The very fond and nostalgic memories of this first trip, from over 20 years ago, and the promise of the Aranui freighter cruise to the Marquesas Islands , brought us back to this exotic part of the world.

French Polynesia Tahitian:- the sole country of overseas collectivity of France, is comprised of 121 geographically dispersed islands, coral atolls, and reefs, encircled by a lagoon, stretching over more than 2,000 km (1,200 mi) in the South Pacific Ocean..

French Polynesia is divided into five groups of islands:

  1. the Society Islands archipelago, comprising the Windward Islands and the Leeward Islands

  2. the Tuamotu Archipelago

  3. the Gambier Islands

  4. the Marquesas Islands (12 high islands)

  5. the Austral Islands.

Tahiti - the starting point of all Aranui cruises, (which we made the trip for) is a

high mountainous island - of the Society Islands group, created from an extinct volcano. The impressive caldera that forms the center of the island bears witness to this ancient volcanic activity.

Polynesia was populated due to successive waves of migration over 30,000 years ago.

Hundreds of years after the Great Polynesian Migration, by fearless sailors on their large double outrigger canoes, around 1500 BC, these Austronesian peoples went on a journey using celestial navigation to find islands in the South Pacific Ocean.

The first islands of French Polynesia which were settled in about 200BC were the Marquesas Islands . .Later in 300AD they ventured southwest and discovered the Society Islands. for many years they remain cut off from the rest of the world, untill the arrival of the first Europeans

European explorers began traveling through the region, from 1521 when Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, was sailing at the service of the Spanish Crown,

And later from the 1700 the Dutch, British and French had carried their expeditions

landing on Tahiti shores. Missioner,is, traders and whaling ships also followed in 1800.

Portuguese explorer who run Spanish expeditions across the Pacific Ocean to open a maritime trade route

French Catholic missionaries arrived on Tahiti in 1834; their expulsion in 1836 caused France to send a gunboat in 1838.

Having declared a protectorate over Tahuata in 1842, the French regarded the entire Marquesas Islands as French

In 1842, Tahiti and Tahuata islands were taken over by the French who officially united them, regarding the entire Marquesas Islands as French and establishing in 1889

a French protectorate, to allow Catholic missionaries to work undisturbed. .

The capital of Papeetē was founded in 1843.

Tahiti, is the most populous island, being home to nearly 70% of the population of French Polynesia out of more than 260,000 inhabitants, nearly 180,000 live on the island of Tahiti. It is also one of the most modern and well-equipped islands in the region, especially in its capital, Papeete .

In 1946, Polynesians were granted French citizenship and the islands' status was changed to an overseas territory; the islands' name was changed in 1957 to Polynésie Française (French Polynesia). French Polynesia became a full overseas collectivity of France in 2003. The estimated population is of 300,000.

In 1984 the territory acquired the "Internal autonomy" political status with its own Territorial assembly, Gov, and President

Spectacular economic growth was fostered by the CEP ( Experimentation Center)

Nuclear testing by the French in the South Pacific during the 1970 and 1990, raised much protest and hate of the locals toward the French. On 29 January 1996, France announced that it would accede to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and no longer test nuclear weapons.

The film El pasajero clandestino deals with several persons trying to take control of the inheritance of a recently deceased English film magnate who travel to Papeete to look for the heir. Papeete is also a setting in Mutiny on the Bounty

Paul Gouguin the post -impressionist painter lived and created (1891-1903) some of his exotic work in the Marquess, as well as the famous Belgian born singer- Jacques Brel

and the American novelist - Herman Melville best-known for Moby-Dick (1851); Typee (1846), a romanticized account of his experiences in Polynesia,

Papeetē - the Port City -"water from a basket".

As the sun start illuminating the darken morning sky an elderly friendly native Tahitian, taxid us in 20 minutes ride, during which traffic started swelling up,

from the airport, and dropped us at Papette's Sea Port's terminal.


The capital city of French Polynesia, was where our long flight landed this early morning at dawn.

This capital city is a primary center of Tahitian and French Polynesian public and private governmental, commercial, industrial and financial services,

(More about the city will be mentioned when it will be further explored)

The Sea Port in Papeete

The modern Port of Papeete was established in 1962, and it covers about 74 hectares of land created from fill. This includes over 20 thousand square meters of hangars, offices, and warehouses.

It was around 1790 that European navigators noticed the excellent anchorage in the bay of Papeete, accessible by a natural pass , protected by a barrier reef and offering a wide and deep body of water.

Since the 19thc the port has been important in the economic development of French Polynesia, thanks to its harbor which was very sheltered from the winds and sea currents,

friendly to ocean liners or cargo ships

In the morning we arrived a humaneness US war ship was standing out in the midst of it

Papeete Ferry Terminal to Moorea

Ferry Sail to Morrea

A 20 minutes pleasant Ferry sail in a bit windy and choppy water brought us across, over to the sister Island of Moorea, with many local high- school children and other visiting passengers,

Views Of Papette from the Ferry sail

Approaching Moorea

Moorea Ferry Terminal

Moorea Island

Formerly, up to the 18th c the Island was called ʻAimeho or ʻEimeo, The current Tahitian name of Moʻoreʻa translates to “yellow lizard”, from moʻo meaning lizard and reʻa meaning yellow .

A high priest would be at the origin of this change of name, on a " Marae ".

Marae are ancient stones or coral pyramid-shaped constructions with several layers uses for sacrifice. The oldest found from 900 years ago is named Afareaitu.

Located 17 kilometers west-northwest of Tahiti , Moorea is separated from it by a deep channel exceeding 1,500 m in places.

Triangular in shape, Tahiti's "sister island" has two main bays : Ōpūnohu bay (this name comes from the Tahitian words ōpū : "belly" and nohu : "stonefish") and Cook's bay (from name of the famous navigator James Cook ).The circumference of the island is 62 km.

It is surrounded by a coral reef open to the Pacific Ocean in twelve passes .

The lagoon is classified as a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention . Covering an area of ​​133.50 km 2 , it has more than 16,000 inhabitants grouped in several villages, There are 8 pointy mountains,

There are several marae, sacred places of worship where the ancient inhabitants practiced religious ceremonies or common life activities. and the statues located at shallow depth water are visible from the surface and easily accessible by snorkeling.

The 17 marae of Moorea are spread over the territories of 4 villages.

The Island's main economy is based on cultivation of pineapple, fishing,

vanilla plantation and Tourism.

This very lush verdant island with its steep sharp mountain peaks, is the third most visited island in French Polynesia after Tahiti and Bora-Bora .

The many white sand beaches, turquoise calm warm water several hotel complexes are big attraction to tourists , who love vacationing in it.

known also as French Polynesia's "island of researchers" due to the presence of 2

major international research stations::

+ Richard B. Gump station, a field station of the University of California at Berkeley in Cook's Bay,

' Pacific Coral Reef Institute , stemming from CRIOBE (Insular Research Center and Environmental Observatory), attached to the Practical School for Advanced Studies (EPHE) in ʻŌpūnohu Bay.


Taxi Drive to the Hotel

The stern Polynesian women Taxi driver, who picked us up, from the Moorea Ferry Terminal, was a native born in the Island and had worked at the time, at Club Med

(which closed years ago) and at the Sheraton Hotel (which is now the Hilton we are staying in). Now she runs her own large van Transportation business

During the half an hour ride from the Ferry's dock to the Hilton hotel, she pointed out to the main Island's attractions, hotels and restaurants, and revealed that her vacations are spent in Las Vegas, CA national Parks and Hollywood movies' studios...

Here is her info, and you need to call her a day in advance to reserve a pick up to the Ferry Terminal.

Tapita Pater 689 87771386

Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort and Spa is located on the north beach in Moorea-Maiao

The 106 air-conditioned sash roofed bungalows - some set on the water and some on land in the lush garden of the moderate size beautifully tended landscape.

Based on the many Americans who prefers the Hilton, most of the French tourists can be found the Sofitel Hotel, which is situated on the east side of the Island.

Our room with its wading small terrace pool on land, is specious and very well equipped..

The staff is very friendly and helpful. Access to the sea water is great, as are close by the hotel's pool and the three dinning places. Food - all savory Galett and sweet Craps at the "Crepe Restaurant" on the water itself, is very good. Breakfast is OK but doesn't match that caliber and pricey category of such an establishment.

At the Crepe Restaurant

Hotel Beach at Dusk

Albert/ Tours &Activities

Albert Is a local tour company (since 1962) with a known good reputation in Moorea.

Rico - one of the company's partner, who showed up at the hotel, in mid-morning with a buss full of arriving vacationers, also brought back David's lost carry-on.

Rico as others on the Island sward, that his company offers the best price for Car Rental

( it is quite expensive on the Island) along with transportation and all other Marine activities. So we will be renting a car from Albert later in the week.

Tel 40552110 40552111 +68989785694

Moorea Twilight

To be continued....


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