Snorkeling With The Sting Rays
27 August 2009 | Moorea, French Polynesia, 17 29.56'S:149 51.13'W
We're anchored at the entry to Oponohu Bay on the North coast of Moorea. There are about 10 boats in the anchorage. We recognize a few from other anchorages along the way. We look out across the surrounding reef and entry pass and can easily see the waves as they break. The navigational markers in this part of the world are different than in the US. When you enter a channel coming from the sea the red is on the left and green on the right. Once you're through the channel the red markers with a square on top mark the shore side of the pass or anchorage. Green with a triangle mark the reef side. It takes a little getting use to and we certainly haven't entered anywhere without good light.
We had a great time in Tahiti and Papeete. I'd keep Papeete on my list of places to visit again. A few days is enough but it's a vibrant little city and we met some wonderful people there. Before coming to French Polynesia, we heard nothing but negative things about customs, immigration and the port authorities. I have to say that all the officials we've met throughout the islands have been friendly, helpful and patient. They do make you post a bond when you arrive for the $ amount it would cost them to put you on a plane and send you home. The bank holds the money until you leave the country. For us that will be on Bora Bora. We've heard that even though we paid in US dollars (that they charged us to convert) that they will return in French Polynesian francs. What a racket!
So, back to Moorea.
We were told in Papeete (and given a cryptic map) of where to go near our anchorage to snorkel with big Sting Rays. Well we found the spot and boy, was that an experience. Unfortunately, people feed them which, of course attracts them to gather. We took advantage of the gathering and snorkeled around and amongst them. Some were probably 4'-5' across. They feel like very thick velvet when they brush against you. Kind of creepy when there are a dozen or more but very cool. In the same area there were also Black Tip Reef Sharks that were fun to see too. From a distance....
After snorkeling we had lunch at les Tipaniers. Lovely little resort on the beach with an open air restaurant overlooking the water. We've been invited to a beach gathering with other cruisers for 'Sundowners' (in other words, bring your own cocktails). Jane must be our good luck charm. This is the first time there's been a gathering (or maybe we just haven't been invited)!!!
Tomorrow we plan to rent a car and make the circle tour of the island.