Aloha Everyone,Picture perfect French Polynesian Island with soaring jagged mountain peaks sandwiched between blue sky and turquoise colored sea is Moorea. Simply put, our main and final destination was exactly what the cruise line promised.
Our tender took less than 20 minutes to cross to Moorea. Actually the island was visible from the Sapphire Princess.
Public market with their souvenirs including black pearl merchandise were on display as passengers exited the ship’s makeshift gangway.
There were only a few vendors selling souvenir T-shirts. We approached all of them to checkout designs and prices. One thing that stood out were prices of everything were at least 20 - 30% higher than what we found in Papeete. Limited supplies in terms of choice of color, size and design. We felt an urgency to decide before someone else grabbed the item and paid for it. It was not a shopping frenzy but I definitely felt the time pressure.
We signed up for a tour. Our bus, a quick two hours island trip with several major tourist stops was US $40 per person. We didn’t leave until the vehicle was filled with 15 passengers and that took another hour.
Our driver was experienced and was familiar with the island. He helped out our guide who has started working this morning. With no training and only a high school education, he fumbled throughout our two hours drive repeating, “I’m sorry. I don’t know the answer.” His father is an American, mother is a Tahitian and he grew up speaking English, Tahitian and French.
In 1984, Tahiti became autonomous. Then France modified the French Polynesian to overseas territory. Since 2004, French Polynesia is self-governed while maintaining strong affiliation to France.
Most of the street signs are in French but Tahitian is widely used as the spoken language. English is taught in school as a language of commerce. With approximately 90,000 inhabitants on Moorea, this small and remote island was a great choice for our final ports of call.
Aloha -- Cathi