A cheap and cheerful hired kayak in Cook’s Bay, the staggeringly beautiful place where Captain Cook first anchored.
Getting to know the local dolphins, in captivity, albeit a spacious home.
Moorea’s white sand beaches are generally narrow and spotted with coral droppings so they are a little uncomfortable to walk on and coral lumps and outcrops can make them tricky to swim from, but the water is clear, warm, azure and coral fish are abundant.
Marine activities include the usual snorkelling, kayaking, diving, parasailing, windsurfing of course, but also kite surfing, swimming with sharks, lunching with stingrays and high quality dolphin encounters in one of the five star hotels.
An excitable swimmer (well, Ikuko), attacked by an absurdly territorial and aggressive Picasso Triggerfish (absurd considering that they’re only 4 inches (10cms) long) – attempts to escape by hitching a ride on an passing stingray. And no, rays don’t sting in a casual context, but they are intimidating. They’re perfectly beastly in fact.
Outside the reef the extravagant few can scuba dive, possibly snorkel with spinner dolphins or see pilot whales all year round and go humpback whale watching July-October. Courageous and skilled nutters with boat support can also surf the big waves over the outer ring reef.
Land activities are limited, with bicycling on the island’s flat ring road (60 kms/36 miles in length) probably the best way to get some exercise (rental bikes are available) or a couple of steep roads up to prime viewpoints at Belvedere, below Mount Rotui, from where Cook’s bay and Opunohu Bay can be clearly seen. Small scooters are for hire at considerable cost.
Hiking in Moorea is tranquil, interesting and spectacular though frequently along roadsides.
Moorea has some ancient sights, forts for example, that are sadly little more than organised piles of stones and have no wow! factor at all.