Moorea – Hollywood’s Backdrop



When I was told that Moorea was the filming location for both South Pacific and Jurassic Park, I was torn between the desire to see how a landscape could be so contradictory and the very real fear of being torn to shreds by a gay velociraptor.

Cooks Bay

Sailing into Cooks Bay

In fact the beauty of Moorea encompasses both the light-hearted musicality of the former and the dark mystery of the latter.  Wafting palms and gentle waves on the coast rise quickly into mysterious and dramatic peaks of untamed jungle. The people reflect the same contradiction as the landscape – gentle, calm and helpful. But leave your outboard on the beach (as we did) for more than 15 minutes and consider it a sacrifice to the Tiki gods whose images are still found sculpted into the rocks.

In the water with stingrays and sharks

In the water with stingrays and sharks

In our usual quest to be the slowest cruisers in the world, we have been here for nearly four months. We have explored the anchorages of the north and west and got to know some great people. We have circumnavigated the whole island on a scooter and swum with sharks and stingrays whilst having a good sticky-beak at the underwater geography too. And over time, we have come to see beyond the movie backdrop and get a real flavour of this extraordinary place that is rapidly becoming our favourite spot in the Pacific.

Kayaking around the Opunohu Bay anchorage

Kayaking around the Opunohu Bay anchorage


Swimming with sharks

Swimming with sharks

Underwater Tikis Moorea

Underwater Tikis

It may not be for everyone – particularly the more ‘A’ type personality – but slowing down to something assimilating the pace of life in the places you visit is the only real chance of getting even a whiff of its authentic flavour. We are glad we did.



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9 Responses to Moorea – Hollywood’s Backdrop

  1. Rick Page says:

    Hi Lee,

    Seen anything you like yet?

  2. Randy & Holly Jayne says:

    I’m reading your book now with dreams of retiring from Federal service in 6 years and then living on my sailboat. I’m considering starting early by buying my vessel now to facilitate a move to Washington D.C. I know the sea gypsy life means not living at a dock but it may make sense for a handful of years prior to my retirement. Any suggestions or help are appreciated and your book has been greatly appreciated!!

    • rick says:

      Hi Randy and Holly!

      Thanks for getting in touch. Thanks for all your kind comments.

      Nothing wrong with living on the dock! The trick to living happily on the water is to not let anyone set your agenda for you (the idea that you have to sail around the world is a paricularly pernicious meme, but there are plenty of others). Live at the dock, love the life and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! One thing l would advise though: Don’t buy the type of boat that is designed ONLY for living at the dock if you want to leave at some point. As far as is possible, try not to plug into shoreside electricity too much or you will soon become hooked on it. Try and source all your needs from solar and wind, as you would at anchor. This can be difficult as the wind tends nkt to blow through most marinas and there can often be a lot of shadowa, but as far as is practicable, keep an eye on your dockside dependency and have a lovely time. We only ocassionally visit a marina (usually on low season special offers) but always enjoy the contrast and jawboning with other sailors when we do.

      We are happy to advise you on any subject you like. Also feel free to send over any links to boats you are looking at online and l will try and put you off them. Just kidding -you are lucky enough to be shopping in the US which is one of the last countries to abandon the concept of seaworthiness in boat design, so you have so many great boats to choose from! Got your eye on any?

      Keep us posted and thanks again for the kind comments



  3. steve says:

    Hi Rick

    Not long finished reading your book.
    I live a much different life afloat than you, on a Narrowboat, on the UK canal system.

    After reading your book I’m very much tempted to sell up and do it your way

    • rick says:

      Hey Steven

      Nothing wrong with narrow boats!(actually my brother lives on one near Leighton Buzzard) I love the UK canal system -the countryside, the camraderie, the lovely pubs. Winter can be tough though eh?

      A good middle way is described in the short story by Weston Martyr “the £200 Millionaire”. If you have not read it, let me know and l will send you a copy (it is open source, so we are not breaking any copyright laws).

      Thanks for getting in touch l am glad you are tempted!


      Rick and Jasna

  4. David says:

    Started reading your book this week. Thanks in the first place for taking the time to write it and share your experience. As with many well written and interesting books it’s a page turner and my only worry is that it is going to be finished soon. 🙂 The idea’s, hopes and dreams will last a lifetime though! Especially interesting was the part on the autopilot to tiller option. Great minimalistic functional stuff! Somehow I think there are others that came up with similar ideas on life and living long before us. In the more recent past you could think about the ideas of the black swan, anti-fragility theory, procrustes bed by Nassim Taleb. Great books but you all seem to have connected ideas. fair winds and kind waves to you. PS: do you know of a similar book including school-kids and babies on board?

    • rick says:

      Hi David,

      Sorry for the tardy reply… we were sailing from Tahiti to Tonga at the time and your email somehow got overlooked. I will reply to your email address

  5. Tony Price says:

    Hi Rick,

    My Son Elliott bought your book for me as I was the typical brain washed wanabe looking for the all the wrong boats, not looking for the right things so reading your book was like a light being switched on, I hear ya! completely changed my perspective, so watch this space.

    love everything about what you do, looking at boats for next year with a new perspective, if its ok with you I will send you the details of what I’m looking at.

    Thanks Tony

    • rick says:

      Hey Tony,

      Thanks for the kind words. We are glad you are enjoying the book and that we have managed to twist your head in the right direction. I know its hard to draw one’s gaze away from all those blinking lights and shiny gel-coats, but you will be glad you did when the s*** hits the fan (as it did for us last week… another story… but we were glad we were in a tough sea boat).

      We are more than happy to put our 50c worth in on any boat you are looking at. I will send you a message now from our gmail so you can contact us directly.

      Thanks again for the kind words


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