Sabin’s at Sea - Day 40 - Bahia D’Opunoha, Moorea Society Islands, French Polynesia
Updated: Nov 6, 2022
by Nina Sabin - Travel Blog
Today’s destination was Bahia D’Opunoha, Moorea. This is our third Society Island in French Polynesia.
Moorea, which has often been likened to James Michener's mythological island of Bali Ha'i, is a small island jewel of the vast ocean that can be perceived in one loving glance.
The craggy volcanic peaks, reflected in the tranquil waters of Cook's Bay and Oponohu Bay, rise like a shark's jaw from the island's basaltic base. The lush mountain slopes are covered with rain forest or pineapple plantations, and white sand beaches border crystalline lagoons.
The Magic Mountain lookout is a must stop on any itinerary - this lookout is 'famous'. It's best to take pictures before 10 am when the sun is behind you.
The tenders began operating by 8 am. Today we were on our own and not on a ship-booked excursion. That being the case, we picked up our tender ticket around 7:30 am so we could be on the tenders before they started sending out other passengers for excursions.
We were the first tender out. It was pretty packed, about 50 people.
The weather was good in the morning but by 11:00 am the rain was expected to start and last the rest of the day. And boy did it, we’ve never seen rain so heavy. However, by that time, we were sitting by the enclosed pool having drinks and a later lunch on the ship.
Once off the tender, we were welcomed at the port by a Moorean lady giving us a white flower. There was also a band playing island music and lots of handicraft tables.
Tours were offered at the port to go to a pineapple plantation, a brewery, a juice factory, and either Belvedere or Magic Mountain lookout. The cost of that runs $40 - $50 USD per person for about a two - three hour tour.
The mountain that we planned on hiking was dependent on if you arrived at the Cook Bay or Opunoha Bay (which is the one our cruise ship anchored).
Since there was no negotiation on the prices and no private taxis, we decided it would be better for us to get exercise and hike the Magic Mountain lookout. We had read that it’s by far the best views on the island. So off we went.
It was about a ten minute walk along the road to the entrance to the mountain.
Along our walk we stopped at a local grocery store and picked up a magnet of the island. They only had five magnets and they were locked in a glass cabinet. The cost was only $3.50. We thought that was pretty reasonable.
Through our travels our daughters and us would decided if a country was a cat or dog country based on how many were roaming around. This was definitely dog country. All the Society Islands seem to have dogs roaming everywhere.
Once at Magic Mountain, we paid $2 per person and began our journey up the mountain. The hike was pretty steep. The roads were semi-paved and the trail was well marked. The trail was also traveled by jeeps and ATVs straining to get up to steep rocky pathway. We were rewarded with magnificent views of the bays and ocean.
The main sound we heard echoing through the trees were roosters. The seem to be all around the island along with the dogs.
The aromas on our walk smelled like fermented fruit that was coming from the ripened mangos that had fallen from the trees.
The views of the island all the way along the hike and at the lookout were absolutely majestic. We were in awe every way we turned. From the top of the mountain you could see the entire island and both bays. We could even see where the tenders going back and forth with passengers.
One tender went out of the channel and got stuck. Rumor has it they were stuck on the tender for over an hour. If that was true I felt so sorry for them. We don’t know why the tender went off course. We did see the tender get pulled out of the shallow waters by rescue boats.
At the end of our hike, the ladies at the entrance (which was also a restaurant and shop) offered us complimentary jam tasting and fruit. The jams were delicious. Our favorite was the pineapple and coconut. We actually bought one to savor the flavor at home.
The fruits were a combination of sliced mangos, grapefruits, pineapples, bananas, and clitoria flower. We actually were so curious about how the flower tasted so we ordered a clitorade drink which consisted of still water, gingembre syrup, lime juice, blue ice cubes, and clitoria flower. The drink was very refreshing.
We bought a few souvenirs and then walked back to the port. We were so happy we beat the rain.
The rest of the afternoon consisted of enjoying our new favorite drink - Love Potion (a combination of frozen daiquiri, pina colada, and mango layer and with a rum topping), sitting in the hot tub, and having dinner on the Lideo deck. They often have special meal themes and today was Polynesian and they served a sucking pig with an apple in its mouth.
What was unique about today is we went to another port in the night. Every time we arrive or leave a port they do a sailing in or sailing away party. That includes music and a special cocktail. Today was extra fun because line dancing was included and I love dancing.
The shipped arrived at Papeete, Tahiti at around 8:30 pm. Unfortunately, it was too dark and rainy to explore. We tried, but just too wet.
We were hoping to find a place with internet. The ship's internet has been too weak and slow to be able to post pictures on our blogs.
Tomorrow is supposed to be rainy too but in the daylight it will easier to see the sights. Praying that it won’t rain the entire day.