Bob’s True-Life Adventures No.5 2005 – Tahiti Moorea

Written by Bob Gurr. Posted in Bob Gurr, Bob's True-Life Adventures

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Published on May 14, 2014 at 2:00 am with 7 Comments

Tahiti is one of those far off south seas places that evokes dreams of paradise. So in June 2001, flying to Papeetee, I traveled with my mountain biking buddy, Fred, on Renaissance Cruises locally to visit a number of Tahitian islands including the storied Bora Bora. Along the way, we noticed a quaint group of thatched roof huts on the northwest corner of the island of Moorea. By July 2005 I just couldn’t resist the south seas call again. So off once again with Fred, this time to enjoy a leisurely week at the little French Resort, Les Tipaniers.

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While Moorea has a large number of big name resorts, Les Tipaniers is totally laid back and very French with just 22 rooms, all as private cabanas with kitchens, dining areas, and bedrooms. There are plenty of gardens, palm trees, and of course a delightful picture-perfect beach and water sports dock. A charming open air bar and restaurant attracts all the guests every sundown. But the practical aspect is that one can prepare their own breakfast and lunch in their cabana. Bicycles are available to ride down the seaside road to a tiny market where all kinds of fresh local produce and fresh fish are available.

View of The Tower from Cook's Bay

View of The Tower from Cook’s Bay

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Beautiful Opo Bay

The Tower, a majestic vertical volcanic spire

The Tower, a majestic vertical volcanic spire

A number of beautiful seaside hotels surround Moorea

A number of beautiful seaside hotels surround Moorea

Les Tipaniers is a perfect laid back French resort

Les Tipaniers is a perfect laid back French resort

Moorea has several small charming Motus (islands)

Moorea has several small charming Motus (islands)

Les Tipaniers Motu is a perfect base for kayaking

Les Tipaniers Motu is a perfect base for kayaking

Bob and Fred enjoy a leisurely outrigger excursion

Bob and Fred enjoy a leisurely outrigger excursion

While the previous visit to Tahiti featured a new island everyday, with new discoveries unique to each island, the Moorea trip was to enjoy 6 days in one spot doing as little as possible. Wake up before dawn every morning, walk out to the end of the pier to watch the absolutely beautiful tropical sunrise. I’ve never experienced such dawns. I was the sole person to rise that early, others delighted in laying in bed for hours. Naturally, I was then able to photograph the best run of sunrises ever, all in near silence with only the sounds of jumping fish plopping about.

Bob enjoying high tea at his thatched hut

Bob enjoying high tea at his thatched hut

But, as each day brightened, we’d grab the bikes and head to the tiny market for fresh breakfast fish and lunch items. Naturally being French, the required staple is fresh baguettes to be brought back and toasted – slathered in peanut butter, oh yum!

Fred made a deal with the restaurant dinner chef to save and freeze the fish menu trimmings each night. So after breakfast we’d paddle out to the calm lagoon with a big bag of fish scraps to feed the sting rays. While I’d slowly circle with the outrigger, he’d jump in the 3′ deep clear water and start passing out the fish bits. Almost instantly there’d be maybe a dozen sting rays climbing up his body to make sure they get fed first.

 

Moorea waters are filled with thousands of sting rays

Moorea waters are filled with thousands of sting rays

This was so hilarious, just like a giant water puppy farm, everyone clamoring for a morsel. Sting rays are actually very smooth and soft, almost affectionate. Their mouths are like vacuum cleaners – hold a tidbit in your open palm, slurp and it’s gone. A number of medium sized sharks would circle nearby but not attempt to grab anything, just watch the amazing scene. After all the food is gone, we’d paddle leisurely about two motu islands a few hundred feet off shore to explore more sea life, passing the peaceful hours until lunch time.

Sting rays are extremely friendly and love to be caressed

Sting rays are extremely friendly and love to be caressed

 

Sting rays glide right up to humans to get attention

Sting rays glide right up to humans to get attention

If you don't pet the sting rays, they will pet you!

If you don’t pet the sting rays, they will pet you!

The motus were visited by many tour groups each day, since the clear water and calm bays were very safe, even for tiny children. Naturally the kids went straight for the sting rays while grandparents stood in the shallow water to watch over them. Every once in a while we’d hear a scream – a sting ray had snuck up behind granny to give her legs a greeting caress. Of course, she thought she was being attacked. Oh, I laughed every day when I saw new guests arrive, knowing that the sting rays were laying in wait for them. They expect your attention, else they’ll give you theirs.

Dolphins are available in resort enclosures for interaction

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When wading in the shallow water, you’ll attract many fish

Dolphins seem eager to meet new guests

Dolphins seem eager to meet new guests

Moorea features a sea of serenity that is totally enchanting

Moorea features a sea of serenity that is totally enchanting

Tahiti's many islands have a south sea beauty all their own

Tahiti’s many islands have a south sea beauty all their own

Every Moorea dawn and sunset is an artist's painting

Every Moorea dawn and sunset is an artist’s painting

One must rise before dawn every day - no day to miss

One must rise before dawn every day – no day to miss

Moorea is certainly a place to visit over and over again

Moorea is certainly a place to visit over and over again

I’ve never experienced a whole “do nothing week” ever. I’d go back in an instant. If this kind of vacation appeals to any reader, why just go someday. The sweetest memories you can create.

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About Bob Gurr

Bob Gurr is a true Disney legend who was hired on to design the Autopia for Disneyland. Over nearly four decades, Bob would become famous for developing the Monorails, Submarines, Flying Saucers, antique cars and double-decker buses of Main Street, Ford Motor Company's Magic Skyway (at the 1964-65 New York World's Fair), Omnimover ride system, Matterhorn and lots more. It has been said that if it moves, Bob probably played a part. Upon leaving Imagineering in 1981, Bob worked on a number of "leisure-time spectaculars" and "fantastical beasts" for parks and developments all over the world. Most notably, he created King Kong and Conan's Serpent for Universal Studios Hollywood, A UFO for the closing ceremonies of the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics, and the memorable T-Rex figure featured in Steven Spielberg's motion picture "Jurassic Park." You can find Bob's column, Design: Those Were The Times, right here on MiceChat. Though don't pin Bob down to a schedule, he's busy being "retired."

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7 Comments

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  1. This was such an enchanting pictorial. Thank you Bob! I will never get out that way but I feel like I experienced a slice of this exotic location through you and your partner Fred. I can’t believe how clear the water is and how friendly the sea life is. It’s like a paradise. So majestic, all of it.

  2. Thanks Bob! My wife and I spent our honeymoon in Tahiti back in 2002 (Bora Bora and Moorea). Your pictorial really brought back a lot of wonderful memories!

  3. There’s no escaping it now. Fishbulb just asked when we are going to Tahiti.

    Absolutely gorgeous. Paradise captured by Bob Gurr.

  4. I went to Moorea 3 years ago and it was beautiful. Your pics sure did bring back some great memories.

  5. We honeymooned in Tahiti (Moorea and Bora Bora) in November 2001. I’ve been desperately trying to figure out how to get back ever since. There’s really nothing like those overwater bungalows! Snorkeling right off your back patio is one of the best things ever. Amazing place.

  6. Wow wow wow. So beautiful. I would love to visit there someday. Thanks for sharing your fantastic pictures.

  7. Fantastic! Not quite as good as being there, but as good as it gets from an office cubicle. Thanks Bob!