Today is Throwback Thursday on the internet, the day when people call up old memories of things that happened and places they’ve been. And by chance, a few old memories popped up a few days ago as I was cleaning out a filing cabinet. I noticed something had fallen behind a drawer, reached in and found an envelope filled with photos of my visit to the island of Moorea.
Moorea is the “second” island of Tahiti, lying just off the big island. It’s a beautiful place, often called the garden island. And I found myself there in 1994 on a trip around the South Pacific. I was travelling with an English fellow named Theo, whom I’d met in the Cook Islands. And after a few days on the main island of Tahiti, we decided to hop the ferry to Moorea and find a place on the beach, for a few days of sun and relaxation.
The trip was a rare taste of Polynesian life on one of the most beautiful places on earth. We rented a little A-frame hut right on the lagoon, picked breadfruit from the trees, rented bicycles and rode around the coast, past the breathtaking vistas of Cook’s Bay and Opunohu Bay. We even tried to ride up to one of the volcanic peaks that are the island’s spine. Theo made it — my bicycle broke and I retreated to a nearby beach, where it was stolen (it was later recovered).
It was a magical few days in an idyllic setting, and the exotic scent of the island’s white tiare flowers stayed with me for months afterward. And when it was time to go, I stood on the deck of the ferry and took the photo you see at the to of this post. with the green mountains rising from the blue Pacific.
I’ve never been back to the island of Moorea, but this year I did the next best thing. While spending a few days in England after my Viking cruise on the Rhine, I made a detour to visit Theo. It was the first time we’d seen each other in 23 years, and we had a happy reunion. And as I left, I took another farewell shot — this time a selfie of the two of us, looking somewhat older but still lovers of travel. And here it is.