Hawaii/South Pacific: Moorea

Monday, March 21, 2022

It was a fun sail-away party on the Sea View deck. More and more people are showing up for these parties. Guess the word is getting out that this party is where you need to be.

Our next-door cabin neighbor showed us pictures of her excursion. She and her friend stayed overnight at one of the over-the-water bungalows at the Intercontinental Hotel. The hotel stay was offered as a HAL excursion but, of course, you can make reservations there on your own.

I thought the bungalow rooms were nice and the hotel grounds were gorgeous. Hotel servers even brought breakfast from the hotel to their bungalow by canoe. You can swim and snorkel from the back deck. One of the special features is that you can see the ocean from a plexiglass place in the floor about as big as a coffee table.

However, she said there were very little fish to see as it was a sand bottom and not coral. I would have been disappointed because that plexiglass floor and snorkeling deck were the features that would be most appealing to me.

After the party, we went to the Casino but it was not scheduled to open until later. However, music over the speakers was playing in the Billboard On-Board area so we stayed there and danced until dinner. Our own private dance floor.

Dinner tonight was a shared table for five. We were with two ladies from California with whom we have dined with before. The other was a solo traveler but I did not hear where he was from but honestly don’t care. We did not enjoy his company at all. I am not fond of people who are rude to the staff.

Are the staff perfect? Is anyone? However, they try so hard and work so hard to make sure that you are enjoying your meal, I really get irritated at anyone who is rude or snarky to them. No sense in it. Could very well be the reason he was traveling solo.

I had the tomato soup and salad. We all had the scallop dinner. I was surprised at how large the scallops were.

Chuck and I attended the first set of the BB King band. Afterwards, I went to prep our snorkeling gear. Chuck headed to the Casino.

Today was a snorkeling tour through HAL. We had breakfast delivered at 7:00. I didn’t notice until after the delivery person had left that I didn’t get any milk for my Cheerios. Instead of waiting for them to bring me milk, I just decided to eat them dry like a two-year old does. Glad I also had a fresh fruit plate.

We met at the main stage at 8:00, and our tender number was soon called for the tender ride to the dock. Today’s tour was called Snorkel Safari. The tour description was –

Board a comfortable boat, with a cover to protect you from the sun as you travel over the surface of the colorful lagoon.

The boat anchors near a gorgeous sandy islet surrounded by transparent turquoise waters. This is your chance to swim freely in the warm waters and enjoy this experience. Make the most of time allocated for snorkeling. You may even be lucky enough to glide with stingrays in the clear water.

Refreshments will be served before you head back to the pier.


Guests participating in water activities must know how to swim, be comfortable in the water and be able to cope with occasional currents. Depth of water is not guaranteed, due to currents and sea level variation. Please realistically assess your own ability prior to taking part in this water activity. Wear your swimsuit under your clothing; bring a towel, sunscreen, and a hat. For your own safety and to help preserve the environment, when snorkeling, do not touch or step on coral. Wildlife sightings and the presence of rays are likely but are not guaranteed. Mask and snorkel provided. Expensive jewelry or clothing should not be worn on tour. Camera equipment should be carried with care and appropriate waterproof protection. The boat may be wet; personal belongings should be stored with caution.

Our first stop was to swim with sharks and stingrays again. There were only a few sharks but more stingrays than the other snorkeling days. I especially enjoyed seeing the larger fish that the guide called Jack fish which I had not seen before.

The guide kept yelling at people not to follow the sharks to the deep blue part of the ocean trying to get their picture. Wanted to keep everyone near the boats in the shallower water. The sandy bottom and sun glare were too hard on Chuck’s eyes, so he didn’t last long in the water.

Our guides did not speak English very well so one filled the time between this stop and the next stop with ukulele playing and singing. I would not have minded if he had just stayed quiet and let us talk among ourselves. There were several people on this tour that have been on other snorkeling excursions with us this trip. When you like to snorkel, you make the most of the opportunities.

Our next stop was another Coral Garden. Very shallow water but had some exceptional coral. Again, the sun and glare from the sand were too much for Chuck. It was an easy drift snorkel near the beach. The hardest part was wading out into water that would be deep enough to start swimming. Very rocky beach area.

This stop had a lot of stingrays as many boats come here and the rays know they are going to get fed. They stayed very near the boats. However, our guide got into the water and had the rays following him like puppies on parade as he would dole out squid as he walked around so we could see and touch them up close.

This action also spurred the fish to stay near in case they could grab a tasty morsel or two missed by the rays.

Even a shark floated by me. I wasn’t startled. We just kind of looked at each other – “Hey, how you doing?”

What did startle me was when I saw what looked like a tail end of a striped snake slither into a crevice in the coral. I did not wait around to see the head come out of another opening.

Once I got back to the boat, I had a good time watching unsuspecting people standing in the waist high water talking. They would not see a ray until it brushed up against them, again, like a puppy. People usually jumped and flung themselves sideways like “Jaws” had them in a death grip. Hilarious.

Another HAL tour anchored by the near-by tiny motu and soon you could smell the grilling. Wasn’t long before our guide pointed out a dog who was swimming from another tiny motu over to this one. He found a particular rock that he jumped on, shook himself, and stepped over to the beach. He was about the size of a lab. Guide said the dog belongs to people on the other motu but never fails to make himself a member of a tour group if it includes lunch.

Later we met people who had been on that tour. Said the dog was very polite. He would move from picnic table to picnic table and would wag his tail vigorously. Never barked or growled. Never grabbed at the food. I asked if he got any food. Stupid question. Of course, everyone gave him food. When they were packing up to leave, he got back into the water and swam home. What a life.

Our guide gave us tiny bananas, coconut pieces, and pineapple spears for a snack. We had water or lemonade to drink. I should have done what the dog did and swam to the motu.

Our guide sang and played the ukulele all the way back to the dock. It was a long ride back. Sigh.

Once we were back on the ship, we got some lunch at the Dive-In Burger grill. I had a cheeseburger and a milkshake. Afterwards, my intention was to get my pictures transferred from my camera to the laptop. Chuck was going to the pool. Once in the cool room, I decided to lie down “just for a minute.” Woke up at 3:30 – late for the sail-away party. Guess the full stomach, water and sun caught up with me.

Travel Trivia

Mo’orea, Society Islands, French Polynesia

Cook’s Bay, Mo’orea – pronounced Mo – o – ray – uh

Moorea means “yellow lizard”

Charles Darwin found inspiration for his theory regarding the formation of coral atolls when looking down upon Mo’orea while standing on a peak on Tahiti. He described it as a “picture in a frame”, referring to the barrier reef encircling the island.

The writer Herman Melville traveled to the region in the 1840s, and some villages on the eastern coast of Moorea became the models for the Tahitian villages in his novel Omoo (1847).

The primary agriculture export is copra. Copra is the dried meat or kernel of the coconut, which is the fruit of the coconut palm. Coconut oil is extracted from copra. It also yields de-fatted coconut cake after oil extraction, which is mainly used as feed for livestock.

*Trivia provided by Wikipedia and Holland America Line documents

Author: mmmtravelmemories

A retired college administrator who loves to travel. I write to remember the experiences and, I hope, to inspire others to make their own travel memories.

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