swim with the sharks

A moth Pic Nik: that's how it was billed in my tour excursion description. Anchored in Moorea (pron. Mo-oh-rea) - anchored means you take the tender from ship to shore - we boarded "bus" but not as usual because the bus was an open boat, with a sun canopy, and headed out aroiund the island.  We saw more luxurious-looking bungalows on stilts, in complexes owned by various hotel lines, saw a group of young people in a swimming pool formed by fences around an ocean area on he shore; they were playing with a dolphin. We stopped to gaze through shallow water at some underwater creatures - I thick our guide called them finger crabs???  Then on through deeper water to another shallow area already occupied by people standing in shoulder-high water playing (? ) with sting rays. I actually, reluctantly, patted/stroked one ager a lot of screaming as they kept bumping into me.  A fellow traveller assured me that she had screamed the day before when she first met one. It feels, by the way, like velvet, one person said, smooth, another said, slippery and soft, I thought, and maybe a bit slimy or just wet.  You have to beware of the tail with its rough surface and sting at the end.  Our guide kept grabbing one by the tail and swinging it around toward us. More screams.

No fear of getting cold in 86F at least, air and water about the same temperature. Two or three ski-jets drove up with food for the stingrays. That's why so many of them were around, waiting for food.  Apparently it's feeding time all day, I guess for the tourists' sakes and not for the fish.  The government allows them to be fed but forbids the feeding of sharks.  Try to keep them away. They know when the food arrives, too, and show up in groups: lemon sharks and black-finned sharks, not huge, maybe about 5 feet long.

So after a while we climbed back on the boat and drove to a dappled shore with protected water for those who wanted to snorkel and sun and shade for us to relax and dream while we waited for a leisurely  lunch: barbecued chicken, fish and hot dog sausages, with several salads and French bread, and  one seviche salad that the guide made for us with fresh raw fish - delicious! We had a choice of water, lemonade with chunks of pineapple or beer, or all three.  We stayed there for about three hours, I think.  The ride back was hot but we had that canopy.  I had a shower and shampoo when I returned to the ship in time to sail to Papeete where we docked for the night.  I joined my friends on their veranda for champagne before dinner, their treat. 

This morning the pool was perfect. I swam at 6 a.m. with the moon still out and the water was finally calm.  We left t 8:15 for a drive around the island with steps at a botanical garden (aka jungle in parts)  and a cooling drink (I chose water) at the Gauguin restaurant, among others.  The Gauguin museum was closed. Maybe next time.

After several days of being blocked from Wifi, I finally got on and checked out mail and entered a blog. That's because it's disembarkation day and sixty-plus people have checked out, to be followed (same day) by sixty-slightly-fewer embarking.  (Soon Wifi will be jammed again. )  I've been here so long I wonder what all these people are doing on MY ship.

So, because this is a new cruise and new people have come on, we must have our mandatory fire drill - I think this is my fifth, about to start in 25 minutes.  Tomorrow I see I have another Motu Pic Nik. Motu, by the way, is the word for island.  I'm glad I have lots of sunscreen.