I though you all might want to know a little bit about the lovely island of Moorea, so here are some basic facts. First, location. Moorea is in French Polynesia, located in the south Pacific. It is very close to Tahiti, which is easily visible from the southeastern side of the island.
The island itself is roughly triangular and a little bit over 50 square miles. Thats half the size of Knoxville in area, or approximately a tenth the size of Knox county. There are several little “towns” scattered around the island, but really the houses mostly form a pretty contiguous ring near the shoreline–few live very far inland, because the terrain is VERY steep-the highest mountain is twice the height of House Mountain in Knox County, and is the second highest peak in the South Pacific.
The total number of residents is only around 16,000. This gives the place something of a small-town feel, which is exacerbated by the large number of dogs and chickens running around everywhere. This is by no means a third-world country, but it isn’t quite as developed as Hawaii. You can drink the water, but it is best not to.
The people here are very nice. The majority of the locals seem to be ethnic Polynesians, although you do see the occasional Asian or European. The locals who work at our Marine Station are very nice, and you are more likely to get a smile than a scowl from passing cars. And of course, there are plenty of tourists.
The weather here, because we are near the end of the rainy season, alternates between the usual beautiful sunshine and intense tropical downpours. Sometimes you get both at the same time, and it looks pretty.
Highs are always within a couple of degrees of 85, lows around 75. Water temperatures are around 80. Out on the fore reef (the outer margin facing the open ocean) the water is so clear you can look off the boat and see the seafloor 50 feet below.
And lastly, because it is pretty, some of the local money.