Did I mention that our trip to Bora Bora was for our honeymoon? Oops. Well, we split our trip between the island of Bora Bora and the island of Moorea. So, after I cried on the shuttle boat bringing us to the airport (aka the shack on a runway) in Bora Bora, we walked onto our plane and took the 10 minute flight right on over to Moorea. Despite our hotel there not having my beloved golf-cart taxi service, somehow we still managed.
Moorea is known for having the world's largest coral reef eco-system with some of the most diverse fish in the world, and I honestly cannot tell you the number of fish we saw that I had never seen before (and I've been to a LOT of aquariums). Our hotel was right over a coral reef, so we could jump off our deck with our snorkel gear and see hundreds of different species of fish. Ryan and I were channeling our inner mermaids the whole time.
While all the hotels in Bora Bora are off the main island and on their own little surrounding motus, all of the hotels in Moorea are connected to the island, which meant we were actually able to explore the main island a bit. We went on a "safari" tour where we were in the back of an open jeep-like truck that took us all around the island. Not only were the roads a little more like dirt paths, but the drivers actually reversed all the way up the steepest point of Magic Mountain (the highest point on the island). It was terrifying but an adventure, and the view was stunning. The pictures really don't do it justice. Our tour guide took us to all of the most beautiful spots on the island, and we stopped at a a pineapple plantation where we learned the difference between Tahitian pineapples and Hawaiian pineapples (Tahitian ones are pint-sized and you can actually eat the core). Then he taught us the right way to eat a pineapple. You hold the stem and then slice around the outside until you've got yourself a pineapple on a stick (...kind of). Also, HELLO, who knew pineapples grew from the ground up?! Seriously, mind blown.
After our safari land tour, we went on a jet ski ocean tour around the island. SO fun! It was incredible, because we got to see the whole island, and the water changes colors every 100 feet, and it is seriously so beautiful that I could not stop staring. We also got to stop and hop out and play with the sharks and stingrays again. I love those little creatures. Plus, Ryan was having way too much fun driving the jet ski, which meant I was laughing the whole time while hanging on for dear life in the back.
But the best part of Moorea was snorkeling. We jumped in and our guide threw a basketball-sized clump of frozen fish about ten feet in front of us. All of a sudden there were sharks coming from every direction and attacking the dead little guys. It was insane. They wanted nothing to do with us, but they kept backing up and charging forward again and again until they'd demolished it. Then, they went about their ways. It was fascinating. We saw SO many different types of fish and coral--long and skinny, bug-eyed, puffy and lumpy, Nemo, Dory, Fin, the whole crew--and best of all, we saw a baby sea turtle!!! Well, I'm not sure if it was a baby, but he was small and calm and I wanted to swim with him forever.
We had gotten so used to our high life of gluten-free food in Bora Bora that when we made it to Moorea we asked our server is they had any gluten-free bread. She looked at us as if we were speaking Japenese and said she would go back to the kitchen to ask. She came out with two rice cakes and said, "Yes, I found this for you! Here. Free gluten!" Ryan and I laughed for probably too long about that one.
Moorea was a dream. We met the kindest people and adventured into the island every night, and we could not feel more blessed to have been able to visit French Polynesia and witness all of the beauty that the country holds.