I love Mo’orea!
My sister will be proud of us! She came to Tahiti several years ago to do an underwater photo shoot on Moorea with world famous photographers. The resulting photos from 8 hours a day for 7 days were stunning, captivating and awe-inspiring. She has swum with dolphins, whales, sharks, rays, turtles… you name it. Once, a shark came for her, head on. With the choice of fight or flight, my sis “fought” and swam as hard as she could TOWARD the giant. He chose flight. I’ve always given my sis props for her amazing skills underwater… and after getting a small taste of what it’s like today, I bow down!
To be perfectly honest, I always thought she was a bit crazy to swim with underwater creatures. It terrifies me. When I surf I don’t like to look down into the water and if someone or something comes up from under me I absolutely FREAK OUT. I’m a huge chicken! Surprisingly, that was the easy part! Getting into the ocean to visit with rays and sharks in their home was amazing… I wasn’t afraid at all. And neither were the thirty other people on our boat! Doing the organized tour to “swim with sharks” seemed cliché to me at first, but boy was I wrong. This was the experience of a lifetime. We even got Jackson in the water! Of course our water baby loved being in the ocean but saying “hello” to the rays was not his favorite part! ha ha! At least he was open to the experience. He even touched their skin and squealed along with the rest of us at how slimy they were. I have to say, their tails did totally freak me out. They are kind of rough and pokey and totally surprise you when they brush past your leg. I even accidentally stepped on one! Yes, I shrieked!
Above, I mentioned that getting in the water was the “easy” part. What was the “hard” part? The hard part was pretending to be a mermaid. And boy was I pretending… major props to the mermaids that shoot underwater (including my sis). Going under and back up, and under and back up, and under and back up – over and over again… it’s exhausting. Your eyes get raw from the salt and unless you’re in great shape, you will be out of breath (as I was). Out of the hundreds of photos we took, I got ONE. It was worth it, but it was hard work! You have my respect Em!
We would have been content with that one stop alone but that wasn’t the end of the tour. We motored over to a motu (island) and had a feast! Being with family and great friends is a bonus on this trip. It’s been amazing to make these memories together.
The guide taught us how to make poisson cru (literally translates to “raw fish” – video tutorial to come!) and then it was time to serve up. The best buffet/BBQ I’ve ever been to… tomato & green salad with french vinaigrette dressing, merguez lamb sausages, BBQ chicken with an AMAZING sauce, BBQ marlin, french baguette and fresh fruit. This meal was right up my alley. I finished every last bite.
As a bonus, this was also a “buying” trip… I walked along a secluded beach right around the corner from our feasting location. I got some amazing shells… half of them were still inhabited so I returned them back to their home, the ocean. The beaches and water here are so ALIVE… reminding me to be thankful for my beach treasures. Mahalo little hermit crab for leaving your home to find a new bigger one
Back where the crew was swimming all day, two rays kept coming to visit. One of our friends had already met them before. The marine biologists she knew had even named them. The one she is pointing to here is hapai… ahhh, the miracle of life.