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Moorea lagoon


Moorea is a high island in French Polynesia, part of the Society Islands, 17 km (roughly 9mi) northwest of Tahiti. Several ferries go to the Vaiare wharf in Moorea daily from Papeete, the Tahitian capital. Moorea's Temae airport (MOZ) has connections to the international airport in Papeete and onward to other Society Islands.

The island is administratively part of the commune (municipality) of Moorea-Maiao, itself in the administrative subdivision of the Windward Islands.
Background Information
Because of its stunning scenery and accessibility to Papeete, Moorea is visited by many western tourists who travel to French Polynesia. Especially popular as a honeymoon destination, Moorea can often be seen in advertisements in American wedding magazines.

From above, the shape of the island vaguely resembles a fork, with its two nearly symmetrical bays opening to the north side of the island: Cook's (or Paopao) Bay and Oponohu Bay. It was formed as a volcano 1.5 to 2.5 mya, the result of a geologic hotspot in the mantle under the oceanic plate that formed the whole of the Society Archipelago.
The climate in French Polynesia is tropical, warm and humid, with two distinct seasons:

The Austral or Southern Summer, more often called the Rainy Season, generally lasts from October/November to February/March and is caracterized by cloudy skies, brief heavy rains and warm temperatures (between 24 and 31 degrees Celsius in Tahiti, and between 21 and 26 degrees in Rapa) with East to North-East lizés alizés.

The Austral or Southern Winter, more often called the Dry Season since rain is rare, usually lasts from April/May to September, and temperatures are refreshed by the South-East alizés and particularly the "mara'amu" (temperatures between 20 and 28 degrees Celsius in Tahiti, between 15 and 20 degrees in Rapa).

As we move towards the South West islands, the level of annual rainfall increases: Ua Huka in the Marquesas (although close to the Equator) has the lowest rainfall with an average of 800mm per year; at the opposite, Rapa in the Australs islands (the southernmost archipelago) has about 2500mm of rain per year! In general, islands (with mountains) get more rain.

During the Rainy Season, tropical depressions can occur mostly with a South East course. If they become tropical "cyclones" or hurricanes (rare occurence since the last ones at the beginning of the 1980s), winds can reach a speed of 220 km/hr and create great damages. The water temperature is mostly constant ranging between a pleasant 26 and 29 degrees Celsius.

Finally, there is plenty of sunshine in French Polynesia ( 2500 to 2900 hours per year), especially in the atolls with a yearly average of 8 hours per day!
Mount Rotui, Moorea
Cook’s Bay, Moorea
Map of Moorea