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The Big O.E An epic adventure across the world, backpacker style :)

Camping in a tropical paradise

FRENCH POLYNESIA | Thursday, 9 October 2008 | Views [1502]

Sunset on Moorea

Sunset on Moorea

Imagine watching the sun set over a picture postcard lagoon, then waking up to the lapping of waves on a perfect tropical white sand beach, complete with coconut palms leaning precariously out over the lagoon. Welcome to camping on the French Polynesian island of Moorea. With accommodation prices in French Polynesia as steep as those in Europe, our new tent more than paid for itself during our short stay on Moorea. Sure the resorts have hot water, restaurants, fancy bungalows, air conditioning and you don't get woken up by the insomniac roosters at 4.15am, but camping was dead cheap and we had one of the best sunset view points on the island.

After a midnight arrival from New York we didn't accomplish much on our first day in French Polynesia apart from getting the ferry over to Moorea, pitching our tent and finding some food. Not that you felt like doing much else, as all the locals else was so laid back.

The next day we headed out diving in search of Moorea's pointy toothed residents. Immediately upon entering the water it was apparent why Moorea has a reputation for shark diving. They were everywhere. First of all Black tip reef sharks and deeper in the dive Grey reef sharks cruised back and forth from all directions. Having only ever encountered a few small sharks on our previous diving trips in other countries, it was pretty exhilarating and more than made up for the disappointing condition of the coral reef. From sharks we moved onto turtles for our next dive, encountering three at various points during the dive, including one which was curled up in a cave having a sleep, but emerged to see off the nosey divers as we swam past.

After diving we slept, ate fresh pineapple, chatted to the other travellers, swam and lay in the sun. After the last three months of catering and gardening on the Isle of wight, then charging around London and New York, it was nice to not have to do anything for once.

Except then I remembered that my genetics prevent me from just doing nothing. So the next morning I was up early again to go diving. This time I spent half an hour amazed how a pair of bulky 2.5 metre Lemon sharks can effortlessly glide away from a group of furiously kicking divers without appearing to move a muscle. Very impressive. Also impressive was Catherine's resolve to go for a run early in the morning "before it got hot". 8am was not early enough evidently, as after half an hour Catherine was on the verge of melting.

More sleeping, sun, swimming, coconuts, chatting, sunsets...... and pineapples. Mmmmmmmm pineapples.

As we were due to fly out early the next day we ventured back to Tahiti for our final night and treated ourselves to some fancy accommodation complete with a mouth watering feast of white tuna sashimi with a zingy sauce for the last dinner of our epic OE.


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