When we went to bed in Tahiti we expected to wake up anchored in Cook’s Bay, Moorea. Instead we woke up to a PA announcement telling us that plans had changed and we were not quite anchored in Opunohu Bay. Another ship, the Europa was in Cook’s bay. It’s tradition to mix up the bays. Cook did not anchor in Cook’s Bay but did anchor in Opunohu Bay. That was surprise number 1.
The second surprise came when we looked out the window. Opunohu Bay was jaw droppingly beautiful. And I have high standards.
The tender operation started soon after we got up. To avoid a mob on the stairs leading down to A Deck, we each get a tender ticket up on the Lido Deck where we get breakfast. You go to A deck when your group number is called. Once a significant number of people are ashore the ship goes to “open tender.” Then you can leave when you like.
We opted to wait for “open tender.” We were so enjoying watching the clouds and sun play against the mountains. We were also fascinated by the tender operation itself. The Captain, to speed the operation, had pulled the ship close to the tendering dock and was “hovering” using his joystick while tenders moved back and forth. We watched as the prop wash from the pods aft and bow thruster held the ship between two reefs. We also watched the tenders slowly work their way through the reefs to the tendering dock. No kayak surfers here. Sometimes a tender would hold while another was in the narrow channel.
Once the ship went to open tendering we went to A deck and were held there while the Captain repositioned the ship to a safe anchorage. We got on the tender while the anchor was being dropped, now that’s a sound. They were still letting out chain when we took off for the tender dock.
Unlike other tendering operations there was both a helmsman and a watchman at the bow looking out for reef. Further we got instructions from the ship’s bridge “Tender 11 hold in position for 13.” “Tender 11 you can proceed.” “Tender 11, a little to port.”
There really is not much in the port except the shelter for people coming off the tenders, the card table market of local crafts and an Octagonal church built by Protestant missionaries.
Our kids often said that our family did not vacation, we took fieldtrips. Today we vacationed. We got on a boat that took us to a B&B with a small beach and a lot of shade. The weather was cooler than in Tahiti and there was a nice breeze. On the way to the beach we stopped to look at and, if we wanted, swim with sharks. But that will be in another post.
In the evening we were up on deck for a beautiful sail out and stayed topside for the sunset.