French Polynesia – Feels like Paradise
After the few weeks camping in New Zealand, we had chosen Tahiti as our next stop and landed excited in Papeete around midnight. Before even going through the passport control at the airport a traditional Polynesian dancer with a music group welcomed all arriving guests. And that at midnight! (it looked like a film scene from the heartbreak kid with Ben Stiller for everyone who has seen it 🙂 ).
The next morning we took a 45min ferry ride to Moorea. To explore the island on our own we rented a scooter. It takes about 1.5h around the whole island and it was so much fun driving around, especially because a lot of locals are smiling and waving to say hi. We drove to different beaches where we had some local food or relaxed and enjoyed the sun. We highly recommend the Lagoonarium for snorkeling. You have to take a boat to reach a small island where you can snorkel around the reef. We were speechless about the clear water which is the clearest we’ve ever seen. Also the corals are intact and so colorful. Of course we were again the very last guests leaving the island in the evening…
The owner of the pension we stayed in is a surfer and we asked him to take us to the reef for surfing. Because most Polynesian islands are surrounded with an atoll you have to past the outer reef to get some waves. You can either paddle out for about 20-30 minutes or you can take a boat. We got up at 5am the next day to be out on the surf spot Hapiti for the sunrise. On the way out we saw a lot of dolphins swimming with their little babies in the lagoon. We imagined it would be easier to surf on the reef, because we have done it a couple times before. But it was hard to manage and took some courage to paddle into the wave. Because the water is so clear, it seems that the reef under the water is so shallow but you have to keep paddling without looking down. And of course at the end of the session Patrick took a souvenir back home some deep reef cuts on his left feet. The owner sad it’s the best thing to use limes to disinfect the wounds. So we rubbed his foot with the limes which is burning like hell. But it’s important to clean out the cuts seriously since the corals can provoke a lot of infections.
On the evening we visited the Tikki Village for a traditional Polynesian evening. We learned how they cook their food, how they produce their pearls and a lot more about their culture… Afterwards we had dinner and the buffet was amazing!! They were cooking for half of the day and the fresh fishes, veggies and fruits were unbelievable tasty. After we finished eating the traditional show started. We have to say that the singers, musicians and dancers were amazing and the show was really unforgettable for both of us. They do it with so much dedication that you can feel the power of it.
Taha’a – Motu Vahine Island
After 4 days in Moorea we took the ferry back to Tahiti and boarded a flight from Tahiti to Raiatea. As a special gift for Nina’s 30th birthday we booked an overwater bungalow on the private island resort Vahine. There are only 9 bungalows on the complete island and it is very private. The captain picked us up with his boat directly from the airport. It was funny going on the boat right next to the airport starting/landing strip. As soon we arrived on the island we were non stop smiling and taking hundreds of pictures because everything was set up so beautifully. The decorations in the room, the hundreds of flowers everywhere and not to talk about the perfect blue water surrounding the island and our bungalow. This must be paradise.
For the (surprise) birthday dinner they set up a table directly at the water, surrounded by candles and flowers. It was the most romantic dinner you can imagine. Besides the food was so good we had no words. We are still dreaming about it today! Every morning we were snorkeling with a local guy who works at the resort. He learned everything from his grandfather and loves to share his knowledge about the under water world. We learned so much from him, from how to catch a balloon fish over spotting fire corals to how to prepare and eat sea urchins. We wish we could go snorkeling with him every day. Sadly the three days went by too fast. And we’ll keep the island in our memories forever… 🙂
After spending a couple of days in paradise it was hard to go back to the budget surf accommodation we booked in Tahiti. There was a surf break right in front of the house. So we filled the 9 days getting up early to go surfing and relaxed the afternoons in the hammock reading books and having nice chats with the other guests.
Once we made a 4×4 tour through the middle of the island, which actually is the crater of the volcano that formed Tahiti. We spent the tour and most of the days afterwards with two German guys from the lodge. It was a very relaxed atmosphere cooking, chatting and watching movies together in the evening. One day the forecast for the waves were big so we decided to take a taxi boat to one of the most famous surf barrels in the world, Teahupo’o. It was one of our dreams coming true seeing the massive, perfect waves and barrels right in front of us. Surfing the spot is definitely just something for extremely experienced or pro surfers… Maybe next life 🙂
At the end we were sad to leave Tahiti. Because we met so many friendly people and made some new friends. It was simply beautiful, relaxing and exciting. We definitely want to come back once again to this paradise…
And for everyone who is still undecided about French Polynesia: From later this year three budget airlines will be starting to fly to Papeete and we can imagine the islands will change over the next years. So now or never!