26 Apr Moorea – Tiki Village and kayaking on the lagoon
As I can see a beautiful sunshiny day through my curtains, I ask myself whether I will rent a bike again to go for a ride. But it was already 9 am and the heat was stifling, so I calm down my sudden sports zeal. Anyway the Tiki Village shuttle bus picks me up at 11 am, so I decide to spend the morning going shopping, reading, writing and taking pictures of Polynesian pareos floating in the wind in the storefronts coming one after another along the road. I have barely time to have lunch before the shuttle bus arrives. When I arrive in the Tiki Village, there is nobody, because it’s not open yet. Great… People are arriving, little by little. I go toward a girl that I recognize as one of the dancers of yesterday night show. Now she is weaving costumes with dried pandanus and coconut palm leaves. I ask her many questions about her life. She tells me she ‘s been working here for 4 years and lives in Moorea. Thanks to the Tiki’s troupe, she can travel to France, and lately she’s been to Lebanon, but on the whole she prefers her life here. The village gets more and more visitors. I chose to go toward a sculptor, who is making dishes and percussion instruments. He has ukuleles, too: there is a very beautiful old one, magnificently sculpted, that I would love to buy and give to my brother. Unfortunately for me, it is not for sale: this ukulele has been in his family for generations and he only shows it. There are many other ukuleles but I don’t like them, so he tells me where to go in Papeete to have one at a normal price (15 000 cfp).
Then I go to a sturdy guy who is sculpting a Tiki out of a big stone. A Tiki is a stocky statue with huge insect-like eyes.
The sculptor himself is impressive with his muscular arms and thighs all covered with Polynesian tattoos. They all have a meaning, but he doesn’t want to talk about it. Too personal, I suppose, so I don’t insist. I go on my tour of the Village, and I notice the couple from New Zealand that I saw yesterday looking at cultured pearls, the famous Polynesian black pearls. Nothing more to visit, so I go back to the front desk to ask to be driven back to my camp site and have lunch on the beach.
The weather seems pretty good and I decide to plan something to do for the afternoon. At 2 pm I rent a kayak in a hotel (Le Tipanier), which is 10 minute walk from my camp site. The place is beautiful, perfect for couples who want to spend romantic good times and relax. Renting a kayak costs 500cfp/hour, this is the cheapest I’ve found around the place. I let my clothes and money with the old shopkeeper, I jump in the kayak and let it glide on the warm water of the lagoon. I paddle on the lagoon to the barrier reef where a strong current is pushing me in the opposite direction. Big waves break on rocks in very high splashes, a few meters from me. I can get down of the kayak and feel the white sandy bottom. I am once more amazed by the clearness of the water.
It starts raining and the drops of water disturb the surface of the sea, preventing me from watching the wonderful seascape below. I go around a first Motu and arrive in a channel (a passage between 2 reefs or 2 islands) where a strong current brings me back to the lagoon without even paddling. It’s maximum 2 meter deep and wonderful multicolored corals live at the bottom. I let the kayak glide, watching all the things around and below me, fishes moving aside when I approach.
It starts raining again and I stop on the island to take a break. Some tourists are snorkeling and they seem to enjoy what they’re seeing. I cross the lagoon again to reach one end of Moorea where you can find the abandoned bungalows of the Club Med. There are many luxury hotels in this situation on each island, it really is a shame. I slowly go back to the Tipanier’s beach and let the kayak at 5 pm.
Back at the camp site, I decide to read for a while and have dinner. The sky is cloudless and I watch my first real sunset in Polynesia. At last!