Get Away With Fran

May 6, 2010

Hiking in paradise on Paul Gauguin Tahiti cruise

Filed under: Cruise — admin @ 10:16 pm

Bli

It was a little cloudy on our arrival into Cook’s Bay on Moorea, early this morning, but even so when I pulled open the curtains and stepped onto my cabin balcony on the Paul Gauguin I had to gasp. Moorea is arguably more beautiful even than Bora Bora.

Shipmoor

Moorea (pronounced MOE-oh-ray-ah) serves up dark, jagged peaks (peaking through the clouds today) above miles of lush greenery and the bluest of blue sea. Bays occupy what was once a very big volcano’s crater. The whole scene is strikingly beautiful.

Bayview

The island boasts too some 37 miles of white sand beaches and a large coral reef full of undersea delights. But I stuck to land today, booking an escorted hike up a trail known as Three Coconuts, which you reach from the Belvedere lookout, about a half hour’s drive from where the ship’s tenders dropped us off (even if you don’t do the hike, don’t miss the lookout).

Meview

I knew the hike was 3 ½ miles and was going to be going uphill for better views of Mouaroa, the most impressive of the peaks. But I got the idea we might be in for more when our guide, Iro, took out a large knife and began whacking bushes to find us walking sticks.

Iro

I had the song “Bali Hai” from “South Pacific” stuck in my head. A mysterious paradise was calling as we hiked up the trail towards the clouds on dirt, muddy dirt, rock steps and wet rocks and over tiny streams and over and under tree roots.

Balihai

Sweaty from the tropical heat, the nine of us on the hike persevered, and reached the top in just under two hours. And we were well rewarded with spectacular views in all directions – Cook’s Bay with our ship at anchor, Opunohu Bay on the North Coast. And Mouaroa, looking a tad evil over the magical landscape.

A deep forest canopy protected us from the little rain above, but we did slip and slide a tad climbing down (and yes, I ended up on my butt at one point).

Still, Bali hai? Piece of cake.

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