Days 30 & 31- Rarotonga, Cook Islands to Papeete, Tahiti to Moorea, French Polynesia 

February 10, 2018

10 am check out at Aroko Bungalows. We called our favorite taxi driver, Ronald for our transfer to the airport. Since the flight to Tahiti wasn’t until 3:25 pm, we were looking to shed our luggage and find a comfortable place to wait.  Since it was Saturday we found the luggage lockers closed. Finally John spoke with the only guy at the airline check-in counters and found that he would hold the luggage for $5 NZD/bag. At .78 US dollars to the NZD, that came in at $3.62/bag. Expensive, but so is everything here except our bungalow. Don’t know how the locals survive with a minimum wage of less than $7 NZD. It was raining steadily, but lightly for most of the day. We crossed the street from the airport and planted ourselves at The Island Hotel and Cafe, comfy chairs, good ocean view and decent lunch menu. 

Got this photo off the internet of the French/Italian ATR/72-600, that we will be flying for 2 1/2 hours to Papeete and then onward to Moorea, Huahine, Raiatea and the Marquises, Nuku Hiva and Hiva Oa. Notice the passenger loading at the rear of the plane. The luggage hold is behind the pilots and when facing the front of the plane there is just a blank wall with a locked door. The seats were designed by the Marquee de Sade with 1″ maybe of padding and enough leg space for anyone under 5′ in height. Fortunately the flights weren’t full and we were able to get 2 seats to ourselves. Sitting sideways there was enough leg room.

I was responsible for booking this part of the trip, as Christina had a lot of people out sick and was trying to cover for them, besides putting out fires for clients stuck while traveling with cancelled flights.  I booked the Airport Hotel in Tahiti.  Our flight to Moorea was at 10:35 am on February 11th, so there didn’t seem any point in getting very far from the airport.  

One of the selling features of the hotel was that it was walking distance from the airport.  This photo was taken from the airport. The thing they didn’t mention is that you had to drag your luggage up a steep set of stairs to a very busy highway, cross that and go up another steep set of stairs, then climb a hill, more stairs and voila, there you are, so easy….we ordered a taxi.

The recommendation from the front desk was a nearby Chinese restaurant. We walked down the stairs, down the hill, through the dark, across 2 on-ramps to the restaurant. The decor was interesting and the food was fantastic. I had steamed prawns in garlic sauce with rice noodles and a dish of broccoli and vegetables that I was really craving. 

That is John’s hat on the Christmas tree, because there wasn’t room for it anywhere else.  

February 11, 2018

The airport on Sunday was a ghost town with few flights and most shops closed.

Most of the flights were domestic and we took off for Moorea almost on time. The flight was 15 minutes, at an altitude of 1200′. Needless to say the beverage service was lacking. 

Moorea though overcast is absolutely stunning.  We all are very happy with our accommodations at Hotel Les Tipaniers.  We settled in and headed to lunch at the beachside cafe and bar. Afterward Pete and I walked out to the pier to check out the water.  With a very good wind the currents were boiling through the supports under the pier and it didn’t look like snorkeling was possible.  Moorea is suppose to be one of the premier snorkeling spots in the world. I’m really hoping to have some good water days with improved weather. 

Our bungalow is in the foreground and John’s is the next one back.  We had a welcoming committee of one, staring at Pete while he was sitting on the deck.

A quiet afternoon getting organized, reading and napping.  Dinner was on the property up near the highway. I had a seafood pizza, my first with mussels in the shell. I’ve had to adjust my diet somewhat with the lack of produce, so I’m eating much more fish and cheese.  

We got back to our little bungalow and found another guest.  This good sized Hermit crab was right in front of the deck.

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