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Trip Report #2 - Sofitels and Alberts Tours

Temecula, CA
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Trip Report #2 - Sofitels and Alberts Tours

We spent 9 wonderful days in FP – 4 nights each in Moorea and Bora Bora. This report concerns the 4 days in Moorea.

We booked two tours through Alberts Tours – 3 hour jet ski and 3 hour ATV tour of the island. I conversed with Alberts about our options for the tours via email before our departure, but did not book the actual tours until we arrived.

The jet ski tour was first. Originally, we had booked the shorter trip, because I knew that they stayed inside of the reef. However, about an hour later, Alberts contacted us and indicated that others were booking the longer circle island trip and would we be interested in that? Sure, we’ll give it a try! But I forgot to ask about leaving the protection of the reef –oops!

Alberts picked us up from our hotel (Sofitel) promptly at 8:30 a.m. and delivered us to their hut across the street from the Bali Hai. Check-in was quick and efficient. Two other couples joined us – a couple about our age and a younger couple with 2 small children (one was about 5-6 the other was 3 or 4 – discovered later that the Dad fudged on the youngest one’s age to do the tour which has a minimum age of 5).

We walked across the street to the Bali Hai – received a brief lesson on ‘how-tos’ and then these words met my ears: ‘we’ll be going outside the reef for about 2 km.’ OMG what did I do?!

Started the engines and off we went at about 25-30 km/mile. Short time later, we exited the reef and the one most harrowing 20-30 minutes of our lives began. My husband is aggressive in his street driving, while I’m more careful. Fortunately, my husband was driving – otherwise we would still be out there waiting for the waves to settle down! Riding these waves was worse than riding a steer (I’ve done that so I know what I’m talking about). We were on the top of the wave and then suddenly it would fall out below us, dropping us to the bottom, similar to those sudden drops in turbulent air plane rides. I had to grip the ski with my legs in order to stay on the ski and my bum smacked the seat hard on many occasions. Several times the waves came over the top of us while we were at the bottom – threatening to dump us over. I don’t know how he did it, but my husband kept us upright through this and I’ll forever adore him for his bravery! I kept looking for re-entry for the reef and finally – there it was! Later my husband admitted to me that this part scared him – more than facing the NPA in the Philippines! I’m glad he waited until a few days later to tell me that. :0

Once we re-entered the reef – the ride was very pleasant. We zipped through the reef avoiding the ‘hazard’ buoys that marked the path of travel. Those buoys showed us where the reef was. We paused a couple of times to see if the dolphins would join us – no luck so we returned to our rapid pace through the reef. We stopped at a shark and ray feeding location. Upon our arrival, there was a boat of about 20-25 people already in the water feeding the rays and sharks. As soon as we shut off our engines, the rays started swimming up to us. We couldn’t get off the skis without stepping on a ray. I was a little hesitant at first about jumping off into shark infested waters, but then thought ‘hey – there’s 25 or so people in here and no one is being eaten, so what the heck’ – in I went. The water level was just about chest level (I’m 5’6”). I could stand, but could easily revert to swimming if I needed to. We found the sharks and I was not scared at all. They stay about 10 feet away from you on their own. In fact, as you move towards them, they widen their circle away from you – you could not touch them if you wanted to – and I didn’t want to! Several times, the 2 guides had to bring the group back into the shallower area to avoid having the sharks leave the shelf and head down into deeper water. The sharks were as large as 5-6 feet, and they were amazing! Some had previous injuries, some had mottled skin, but they were all gorgeous. They were black tip reef sharks.

The rays were like huge puppy dogs – they would come right up to your chest and hug you. This gave us pause a couple of times, and there were several people commenting on Steve Irwin’s unfortunate accident. The key is to avoid the tail area, which can be difficult at times with all of the rays swimming around.

After about 20-25 minutes, we were back on the skis and zipping through the reef. The younger couple with the kids was experienced jet skiers and several times, cut us off while zipping back and forth. More than once, they sprayed us with water, temporarily blinding us – they were pretty rude and inconsiderate to the other riders, but they and their kids were having fun!

The other couple with us dumped their ski over and couldn’t upright it. The guide wasn’t watching and was pretty far away before he realized what happened. It took him two efforts to get them back on. The rest of the ride was uneventful – but the views of the island and water will remain with me always – it was breathtaking.

We took a break between the tours on our 2nd day – rented a car and did a self-guided tour around the island, up to Belvedere, the ag school (mango ice cream – yum!), and hiked through the jungle through the archaeological area. We rented from Avis at the ferry dock. They picked us up from the Sofetil. Gas for our day trip cost about 2300 xpf, the car cost 8100. Because this day was actually our 25th anniversary – we used the car to eat outside the resort. The locals suggested either Mahogany’s or Le Mayflower. We didn’t’ like the location of either and ate at Kravkas (?) – which had horrible food, but a nice view of the lagoon. It really didn’t’ matter where we ate, I was with my best friend for life, we had a great 25th anniversary day.

The ATV trip on the 3rd day with Carl was very nice – we went back to Belvedere and the ag school (pineapple ice cream today – yum again!). Up to the 360 view mountain. There were only 2 couples in our tour – us and another. It was very nice with the smaller group of people.

Everyday we snorkeled in and around our OWB at the Sofitel – the snorkeling was fantastic. I’ll remember this trip always

Boulder, Colorado
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1. Re: Trip Report #2 - Sofitels and Alberts Tours

Loved hearing about your trip. We just got back from the exact trip, although we stayed at the Hilton. We felt exactly the same way about the jet skis tour! I hated it! Of course, all worth it because of the sharks and stingrays once we were off the skis and able to enjoy the water and the beautiful sea creatures. Everything about the trip was unbelievable with the beauty of the colors of the water and everything was gorgeous. Loved the over the water bungalows and have never stayed in such a wonderful setting & gorgeous place and it will be a trip to remember! Loved your description of it all as, I sure could relate. It did my heart good to know I was not the only one terrified on the jet skis and did not enjoy the crashing & crunching of my body. My back will never be the same. Although, once I look at our beautiful photos, I just think ... wow , it is the most beautiful beach area in the world. Loved all of it really! Again, enjoyed your post :>) Judy

san diego
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2. Re: Trip Report #2 - Sofitels and Alberts Tours

My Wife and I took the same tours (Jet Ski and ATV) with Alberts in November......To us, the best part of the Jet Ski ride was going outside the reef and through the waves.....But we are experienced on Jet Skis, so riding the waves was fun to us......But I can see where It wouldn't be fun to everyone...Riding inside the reef was a blast also... We also took the ATV ride with Karl and found him to be a great guide with a vast knowledge of Moorea....Wasn't the view from "Magic Mountain" worth the ride?....I'm ready to go back!

Temecula, CA
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3. Re: Trip Report #2 - Sofitels and Alberts Tours

Thank you for your thoughtful remarks! I actually loved the jet ski tour once we were within the protection of the reef. If offered the opportunity again, I would stick with the shorter tour and avoid the open ocean. I just kept thinking that if we fell off the ski, that there were 'real' sharks down there in the deep blue and I didn't want to be shark food!

Temecula, CA
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4. Re: Trip Report #2 - Sofitels and Alberts Tours

Yes Woody the 360 view was perfection!. Woody - we'll just have to convince our spouses and bank accounts that we can afford to do this again! I'm trying to convince my husband for next August/September - after both our older kids graduate from college! He's leaning towards Turks and Caicos or Fiji at this point though - bummer :/

Boulder, Colorado
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5. Re: Trip Report #2 - Sofitels and Alberts Tours

www.photoshow.com/watch/Xw3Wm9Zv?ref=nf

I don't know if this will pull up ...(highlight & copy & paste)

if so, turn on your speakers. I watch it over & over to re-live the beauty of it all. Would love to return, but we have a 'bucket list' and will try and see other parts of the world. (Last year Africa - Tanzania .. Trip of a Life time!) It's all most as much fun planning the trips .. Also, the Kardashiens (sp?) (I've never seen their reality show) but have seen them on talk shows) were at the same (Hilton) resort and same time as we were there ... & would like to know when it would air just to see our vacation again. Incidentally, did not look like reality w/a dozen cameras following every step they took...

New York City, New...
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6. Re: Trip Report #2 - Sofitels and Alberts Tours

Does anyone have a different email for albert? I have info@albert-transport.net and haven't been able to reach him. I'm leaving in a few days and trying to book with him.

Thanks for any help!

Temecula, CA
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7. Re: Trip Report #2 - Sofitels and Alberts Tours

I used their email via their website here:

http://www.albert-transport.net/p9_gb.asp

There's a phone number on there if you need answers ASAP.

Honestly, it took me a couple of days for each email response - they have their own version of 'manana' or 'island time' there - its incredibly slow to communicate via email there - they don't have the best of internet services anywhere.

Also, I wouldn't worry about booking in advance, especially since the weather can change in a heartbeat. I would make firm reservations once I arrived, but let him know I was coming in, which days would probably be best on my calendar and ask how his calendar is looking for my preferred dates.

Nashville, Tennessee
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8. Re: Trip Report #2 - Sofitels and Alberts Tours

Thanks for a great TR, I enjoyed reading. I also enjoyed Hutch's video-great stuff! I can't wait to go, ours is still a long way off, but the planning is fun too.

Temecula, CA
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9. Re: Trip Report #2 - Sofitels and Alberts Tours

Hi Kelly - glad you enjoyed it!

We are heading to Grenada this week to go to Tobago Cays Marine Park to swim with the turtles - wonder if it will even compare to the FP trip!

Nashville, Tennessee
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10. Re: Trip Report #2 - Sofitels and Alberts Tours

The jet skis sounds like so much fun. I am a bit of a dare devil so I just might like the out in the ocean part. We did an ATV tour on Kauai in September last year and it was pretty awesome so an ATV on Moorea is on our must do list.

so many places to go! I look forward to hearing about Grenada-never been. I want to get back to the Caribbean so many choices of great islands there it is hard to choose, but that is a problem for another year.

The only other trip we have coming up is Disneyland in December. Always wanted to hit DL at Christmas time with all the decorations and the new cars land should be fun.