Leaving our lives in NYC felt like the detangling of a very complicated web. In retrospect it would have been nice to have an extra week in NYC (job-free) to tie up loose ends but that’s not how it went down. As our last night in Williamsburg was spent celebrating our engagement with friends, I wouldn’t change a single thing.
The first week on the road was with James family in Redwood City, just outside of SF. We caught up on much needed rest, devoured all the California fruits and veggies we could and round the world trip prep continued. (Actually for James it was more like green juice and exclusively Mexican food) Despite my eagerness to finally begin our travels, it was sad to say our final goodbye at the airport on Sunday.
After a quick flight to Los Angeles, we boarded a red-eye full of newlyweds headed for Bora Bora. Literally everyone else had just been married in the previous 48 hours – thank god James already proposed or I could have been one snarky travel companion. After an easy flight to Tahiti , we made our way to the ferry. It was a short, breezy, picturesque ride to Moorea and after one unsuccessful attempt we got on Le Truck (the public bus) for “Mark’s Place” in Haapiti where we are staying.
The most striking part of Moorea is the raw beauty of the island and surrounding waters. You are either looking up at the jagged, green mountain peaks or out at peaceful blue lagoon. It pretty much takes your breath away, each time you step outside. The other aspect that I can’t get over is the smell. The air has a fresh, sweet-smoky fragrance - really diptyque ain’t got nothing on this island.
The bungalow we are renting, really the back of one, has everything we need amenity-wise (kitchen, wifi, big bathroom with a great shower, washing machine, etc). Haapiti is not a touristy part of the island, so there are no restaurants or bars (ha!) and the closest place to eat is currently closed. Instead we ride bikes to the general store to pick up things. The homemade bread, which tastes like candy, is pretty much the highlight for me.
The highlight for James is the surfing set-up. Each morning he tows his surfboard via 35 minute kayak trip, out past the reef to the waves. Along the way, pods of dolphins have passed in front of him! There is an underwater buoy to tie the kayak too while surfing - check out the full video in his post. It’s basically great waves in the midst of an epic landscape. And oh yeah, THERE’S DOLPHINS SWIMMING BY!!
Yesterday afternoon we road our bikes to the closest white sand beach, Pineapple (Painapo). As soon as we got into the water 2 stingrays came right up to us. We were hoping they were manta rays (which aren’t poisonous) but upon a Google search confirmed they were indeed stingrays. Apparently the Polynesian bbq restaurant on the beach gives diners the opportunity to feed them, so they hung around us for a quite a while hoping for a snack. We had a blast following the fish around the coral with the camera and snorkel gear.
In terms of starting the trip, this has been the perfect place to kick-off. Its super relaxing, fun to explore and whipping us into shape (though I really wish I had a pair of those biker shorts, you know the ones with the weird padded butt). I definitely feel like I'm recouping my energy for the road ahead.