On the way to the Lagoonarium of Moorea

This day at Lagoonarium of Moorea, we dreamed for a long time, and children more. Since we had read in our tour guide that this was one of the must-see attractions in Moorea.

The day before, Stéphane and Franck reserved for us the pick-up. At 8:10, we go up every 4 in the Lagoonarium minibus to pick us up directly at Poerani Moorea, towards the east coast of Moorea, just 20 minutes away.

A fare just for us

At the edge of the lagoon, a small wooden gatehouse takes the place of “Ticket Office” and souvenir shop. Under the leadership of Wilfried, we take our tickets and follow him to a large white outrigger canoe. Immediate boarding !

5 minutes later, we set foot on a motu. We are given for the day a nice little fare (Polynesian hut) all wood and pandanus, ideal for a nap in the shade in peace. A little further on the motu, we are told of a fare a little larger than the others: there we will find water, coffee and tea at will. We even have the option to order lunch (the menu of the day: chicken and smoked guru) but we have prepared sandwiches (yes, you can bring your own picnic).

Wilfried then explains the principle of Lagoonarium of Moorea: rays and fishes are fed twice a day, at around 11:30 and around 13:00. It is at these moments that you have to be in the water, around the “feeder”, not to lose a crumb of the show. In the meantime, free time!

The lagoon tour

We opt for a first approach of surrounding funds. Wilfried tells us that a big rope is attached to buoys, which leads in the water to the coral reef, several hundred meters from the motu. Just follow it to explore the lagoon. We put on our masks and snorkels without delay, and rent pairs of flippers. Well we take, because the current in the lagoon is rather strong, and the fins are not too much to help us progress along the rope. Corals, anemones, fishes of all sizes and colors: the course is beautiful … but exhausting! Halfway to the reef, the children can not take it anymore and we decide to get back on the motu.

1st feeding: the rays in first line

A good cup of tea and it’s already time  for the first feeding session. We follow Wilfried in the lagoon, a few meters from the sandy beach. As alerted by a sixth sense, some gray rays are already turning in the water. We cling to the rope, head in the water, and the show begins! No sooner has Wilfried started giving some fish waste to the first ray, than the lagoon is boiling: a dozen stingrays are fighting over his favors. Water up to half-body, it excites the rays that literally climb on it, until you get out of the water! Dummy, a stern takes the opportunity to steal the piece of fish he holds in his hand.

Around him, myriads of fishes of all colors spin and appropriate the crumbs that escape the rays. Suddenly, a shadow grazes me: a black tip shark seems to want to have lunch… I turn around, there are no less than 5 sharks that make concentric circles around us. I take a look at the children: stunned, they do not even have the presence of mind to be afraid. The ride continues for another 15 minutes while Wilfried empties his bucket.

2nd feeding: sharks invite themselves to the party

After all these emotions, we throw ourselves on our well deserved lunch. The children are inexhaustible. This does not prevent them from sinking into a deep sleep just lying under our fare for a  little restorative nap.

At 1pm, we are back on the feeding site. Wilfried is already in the water, with some customers arriving in the meantime. We join them without delay. This time, it takes us a little further, in deeper waters. It is placed in the center of a circle of rope that we cling firmly under penalty of being dragged by the current, stronger at this place.

And the round of fish resumes immediately, this time even more numerous and especially bigger! The rays are almost overwhelmed by the multicolored whirlwind that surrounds Wilfried in a twisting flickering tornado. Sharks are circling around us, approaching all this animation, moving away again, in a beautiful and disturbing round. Fortunately we were sworn that they were completely harmless, as long as we did not try to touch them or give them food. Wilfried dives at the bottom of the water, plays with the schools of fish … the show is striking!

Happy memories

We finally go back to the mainland, a little sounded but delighted. We are still lazy for an hour, and then the boat takes us back to the island, for the pick-up back to Poerani Moorea.

Another unforgettable day in Moorea!

Pierre, Sophie, Camille and Victor – June 2016