Stepping foot on the gorgeous island of Moorea I was a world away from what I am use to back at home. Here there's no towering buildings, no traffic even though there was only one main road around the whole island and no abundance of shops and eateries. There was however, friendly locals wherever you went, pop up fruit and vegie stalls, the sounds of birds and the ocean, palm trees on every corner and air so pure I just had to stop and take in a deep breath and pinch myself that I was really here!
Our accommodation included in the WhaleSwim Adventures package was 8 nights in these gorgeous bungalows which included an ensuite with a double vanity and shower, a kitchenette, a wardrobe, two beds (with optional mosquito net), views of the ocean from the outdoor covered porch and only metres away from the beach, restaurant and bar! There are two types of bungalows, a garden view where you are surrounded by many palm trees in the middle of the site or lagoon view which offers incredible scenery of the beach and sunsets! These bungalows are very basic, there's no TV or air conditioning, they do have fans and with so much natural beauty surrounding you there's really no need for a TV anyway!
I was quick to realise that animals here on Moorea had free range of the island, everywhere you looked there were cats, dogs and chickens! Coming from a country where we take great care in our animals and pets by keeping them safe behind fences and on our properties, I was curious to know why they were all over the place, did they belong to someone or were they feral? I asked a local about the animal situation and she told me that although some of them were feral, majority of them do belong to people, but on Moorea they don't believe in chaining their dogs up or having them locked in yards which is why they are welcome to wander about as they wish. Many of them are not desexed which of course leads to unwanted litters and with the cost of preventative treatment being so high a lot of them are exposed to ticks, fleas and skin conditions.
Some dogs and cats were quite scared and the second they spotted you they would run off in the opposite direction, others were just happy to be in your company and would walk down the beach with you, then you had those who wanted to have a good snuggle, I was sitting on a bench and this cat came up to me and jumped on my lapped and made itself right at home and fell asleep! Of course with any animal you must be cautious when being in their presence as they can be unpredictable. Just go about your own business and if they choose to join you then let them do so without any fuss.
One animal in particular was not my friend during this trip. Although small in size, he made a noise so loud that even a deep sleeper like myself couldn't help but cover my ears with pillows. He was a rooster who would wander underneath our bungalow at 4am EVERY morning and let out an almighty crow!
Being where I was I couldn't be angry with the 4am wake up call, having a reef just metres from your doorstep is enough to even make the Grinch's heart soften! Crystal blue waters, white sand, palm tree lined beach, what's there to be mad about?! If you ever find yourself wonderfully lost at Moorea, I highly recommend staying at Hotel Hibiscus for a true Tahitian experience, now bring on the whales!
Accomodation: Hotel Hibiscus
Tour: WhaleSwim Adventures