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deladane

Detailed Photo Review of Paul Gauguin 10-Night Cruise 9/6/17 Plus Moorea Pre-Cruise

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We made it to the motu! I wasn’t wearing my water shoes though so we couldn’t get out to walk around. It didn’t look like there was much to see on land… just a bunch of trees and sand.

37329761572_253416964c_z.jpg0460 by deladane, on Flickr"][/url]37329761572_253416964c_z.jpg

 

The west side of the motu

36690014053_51e2435df2_z.jpg0463 by deladane, on Flickr"][/url]36690014053_51e2435df2_z.jpg

 

37329758572_b1ca9961ca_z.jpg0466 by deladane, on Flickr"][/url]37329758572_b1ca9961ca_z.jpg

 

36690013133_33fc815af9_z.jpg0465 by deladane, on Flickr"][/url]36690013133_33fc815af9_z.jpg

 

We stayed out on the kayak for about 30 minutes, then headed back to the bungalow to get showered for dinner. Tonight we would finally see a pretty sunset from our bungalow!

 

37329757442_6630c4abdd_z.jpg0468 by deladane, on Flickr"][/url]37329757442_6630c4abdd_z.jpg

 

 

23508355918_33548abbf5_z.jpg0469 by deladane, on Flickr"][/url]23508355918_33548abbf5_z.jpg

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I couldn’t resist walking down to the beach to watch the sunset. This was what we had dreamed of when we booked this hotel!

 

37329756452_1c3403867b_z.jpg0470 by deladane, on Flickr"][/url]37329756452_1c3403867b_z.jpg

 

All of the debris you can see in the water is actually the coral rising above the surface with low tide.

37329755592_4bc0cc765f_z.jpg0472 by deladane, on Flickr"][/url]37329755592_4bc0cc765f_z.jpg

 

Selfie at sunset!

37103749210_2536b60034_z.jpg478 by deladane, on Flickr"][/url]37103749210_2536b60034_z.jpg

 

37329750932_279713ec97_z.jpg0481 by deladane, on Flickr"][/url]37329750932_279713ec97_z.jpg

 

 

37329750032_37ff809e38_z.jpg0483 by deladane, on Flickr"][/url]37329750032_37ff809e38_z.jpg

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37359554291_c08434bd4f_z.jpg0496 by deladane, on Flickr"][/url]37359554291_c08434bd4f_z.jpg

 

23508389678_e134b544dc_z.jpg0502 by deladane, on Flickr"][/url]23508389678_e134b544dc_z.jpg

 

After the sun went down, we headed out to dinner. This may have not been the best plan as by 6:30pm, the main road around Moorea was completely dark. They don’t have many street lights and the roads are very narrow with no shoulder. On top of that, the stray dogs had zero sense of personal safety and roamed around in the middle of the street, but we couldn’t see them in the dark. It was a terrifying 30-minute drive from Moorea Fare Miti to the Hilton, where we planned to have dinner. DH said he didn’t mind the drive, so maybe it was just scary to me as the passenger, but I wished we had driven there before sunset!

 

The Hilton in Moorea has a crepe restaurant outside on the pier with the over water bungalows, and the food is said to be as good as the views so we wanted to eat here tonight while it wasn’t raining. Unfortunately, when we arrived, it was so incredibly windy that we could not justify staying there. It’s amazing how different the weather was here on the north side of the island compared to back by our hotel on the west side, but there were seriously gale-force winds and we knew it would not be pleasant to eat outside in weather like that. Very disappointed, we left the Hilton and drove back to Le Petit Village to find somewhere else to eat.

 

We found one of the smaller, more casual restaurants called La Paillote. I am fairly certain we were the only non-locals dining here, but that was just fine with us!

 

37359552251_e784f1ab45_z.jpg0506 by deladane, on Flickr"][/url]37359552251_e784f1ab45_z.jpg

 

We ordered our food at the counter and were directed to find a seat in the sandy-floored dining area. We ordered 2 dishes to share: Poisson Cru (yes, again!) and a chicken and cheese crepe. The food came out in about 10 minutes and both dishes were very good.

 

37329746292_1c9fd63a10_z.jpg0503 by deladane, on Flickr"][/url]37329746292_1c9fd63a10_z.jpg

37329745722_0a981d36ac_z.jpg0505 by deladane, on Flickr"][/url]37329745722_0a981d36ac_z.jpg

 

 

Some people at a neighboring table got the chicken special, and that looked really good so I wanted to return here later in the week to try it out, but we never did get that chance. After dinner, we went back to the hotel and relaxed until it was time for bed. With all of these days waking up at 5am, I found it hard to stay up late at night. Luckily, there really isn’t much night life in Moorea and things really quiet down after the sunsets.

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Your camera really did an excellent job ! Of course I'm sure your skill in taking the pictures is part of it. Our underwater pics were not great so I can't wait to see yours as we get further along. I might ask you to send us some if that's OK. Probably going to have invest in a nice underwater camera after seeing the difference. I'll check our roll call and see if your email is there and send you mine when you get to our shared excursions. Amazing photos D !

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Wow, this really is a small world... I know exactly where you lived because our old house was on one of the cul-de-sacs literally around the corner from Joseph Lane! I miss that neighborhood! Some of the other people on our court had lived in their houses for decades so they probably lived there when you did... they told us about how much the area has changed over the years and how the streets used to cut all the way through before they put in the highway. BTW, everyone calls it 85, not that crazy long name lol

 

Honestly, I think if you are going to travel somewhere as far as French Polynesia (especially for you, coming from the east coast), 8 days is not long enough to make the length and cost of the flights worth it. I understand your hesitation to take a longer trip at this point, but maybe you'll change your mind as time goes on :)

 

Yay, you were able to get sunset pictures! Those are just gorgeous. I hopped back on today hoping you'd have more updates. I just can't get over how pretty it is there! I forgot to mention in the part where the stingray accidentally bit your finger...I didn't know they could bite! We did Stingray City in Grand Cayman in 2006 and they warned us to have our fingers and thumb tucked under and they just suck the food out like little vacuums. One did leave me with a little "hickey" on my thigh though. LOL!!!

 

 

When you mentioned how different the weather could be from one side of the island to the other, that was just like Hawaii. Oahu, for example, has many different climates on just that island, ranging from almost desert like to rain forests. It could be raining and windy on one side, but beautiful weather on the other. We also noticed that a lot of people were turning in early in Hawaii as well. We even noticed that in Waikiki Beach, where our first hotel of the trip was. There were people out there, but not near as many out as in a beach town/city here on the mainland.

 

 

The cul-de-sac's right around the corner from Joseph Lane...you don't mean the ones off of Howes Lane, do you? We went to Lietz Elementary and also had friends on Howes and even a few of the cul-de-sacs off of Howes Lane, so I spent a lot of time in that area. Definitely a small world if that's the case.

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Awesome photos. Thanks for sharing!

 

Thanks! There's lots more coming!!

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Your camera really did an excellent job ! Of course I'm sure your skill in taking the pictures is part of it. Our underwater pics were not great so I can't wait to see yours as we get further along. I might ask you to send us some if that's OK. Probably going to have invest in a nice underwater camera after seeing the difference. I'll check our roll call and see if your email is there and send you mine when you get to our shared excursions. Amazing photos D !

 

I have had many underwater cameras over the years and I was really happy with this Olympus. I think part of it is that the camera is built to be an underwater camera as it's prime purpose, so they designed the controls to be easily operated underwater. My last underwater camera was a Sony with a touch screen... major problem though: the touch screen did not work when the camera was under water!! If I forgot to change into the underwater mode before getting in the water, then there was no way to do it. So, long story short, yes, it does matter what camera you use lol

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Yay, you were able to get sunset pictures! Those are just gorgeous. I hopped back on today hoping you'd have more updates. I just can't get over how pretty it is there! I forgot to mention in the part where the stingray accidentally bit your finger...I didn't know they could bite! We did Stingray City in Grand Cayman in 2006 and they warned us to have our fingers and thumb tucked under and they just suck the food out like little vacuums. One did leave me with a little "hickey" on my thigh though. LOL!!!

 

 

When you mentioned how different the weather could be from one side of the island to the other, that was just like Hawaii. Oahu, for example, has many different climates on just that island, ranging from almost desert like to rain forests. It could be raining and windy on one side, but beautiful weather on the other. We also noticed that a lot of people were turning in early in Hawaii as well. We even noticed that in Waikiki Beach, where our first hotel of the trip was. There were people out there, but not near as many out as in a beach town/city here on the mainland.

 

 

The cul-de-sac's right around the corner from Joseph Lane...you don't mean the ones off of Howes Lane, do you? We went to Lietz Elementary and also had friends on Howes and even a few of the cul-de-sacs off of Howes Lane, so I spent a lot of time in that area. Definitely a small world if that's the case.

 

OMG, so funny! That's exactly where we used to live! What a small world!

 

Thanks about the sunset pictures :) We were so happy to finally see a pretty sunset there because that's what we expected to see every night staying at a hotel on the west coast during the dry season when it is usually clear skies and perfect weather! Spoiler alert: we saw quite a few pretty sunsets once we boarded the cruise, and I will post lots more pretty sunset photos when we get to that part!

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I have had many underwater cameras over the years and I was really happy with this Olympus. I think part of it is that the camera is built to be an underwater camera as it's prime purpose, so they designed the controls to be easily operated underwater. My last underwater camera was a Sony with a touch screen... major problem though: the touch screen did not work when the camera was under water!! If I forgot to change into the underwater mode before getting in the water, then there was no way to do it. So, long story short, yes, it does matter what camera you use lol

 

 

 

I used to standby Sony - sold them for years - until my last one crapped out and lost its seal and was destroyed on day TWO of my last cruise!

My first generation one still works from 15 years ago but with a 2” screen its impossible to see anything underwater. Plus no audio with movies.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

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Enjoying your review and photos immensely! Leaving for FP in less than three weeks. So psyched! Thank you!

 

I'm so glad you are finding it helpful!! And I am so jealous that you are still in the anticipation phase with your trip quickly approaching... with my trip completed, it leaves me wishing I was still in your shoes haha Hope you have a wonderful trip and come back to tell us how it went!

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I used to standby Sony - sold them for years - until my last one crapped out and lost its seal and was destroyed on day TWO of my last cruise!

My first generation one still works from 15 years ago but with a 2” screen its impossible to see anything underwater. Plus no audio with movies.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

 

That would be my biggest nightmare that an underwater camera would leak and die at the start of my vacation!! I actually brought my old Sony to FP even though I planned to use my new Olympus.... just in case anything happened to the Olympus, I knew I could use my Sony as a back up.

 

I will say that old Sony has a feature that I have never seen on any other camera... the ability to take a photo while shooting a video. I loved being able to keep the video rolling and still have full use of my camera to take photos, but I have never had another camera that can multitask like that. I also really preferred how the Sony took panoramic photos with one sweeping motion. The new Olympus does the stitching together method and I never once got it to work... you can always see the seem where the 2 photos connect, and most of the time, things don't line up properly. Any long horizontal panoramic photos displayed in this review were taken on my old Sony camera (mostly just in Huahine because I didn't always bring the second camera with me).

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37156065576_3e8ebb338e_z.jpg04 by deladane, on Flickr"][/url]37156065576_3e8ebb338e_z.jpg

 

Monday, September 4, 2017 ~ Lagoonarium

 

After not sleeping on the redeye flight, and then waking upat 5am on Saturday and Sunday, it felt like I got to sleep in when I woke up at 6am today. Of course, it was still before sunrise so I took my seat out on the porch with my iPad and the sounds of roosters crowing in the mountains. Faby had told us that she cannot get coconut bread on Mondays because that bakery is closed, so we ordered 3 baguettes for today. We shared one of them for breakfast (with our usual brie cheese and pineapple jam), and we made sandwiches with the other baguettes to bring as a picnic lunch. I had packed a cooler bag and a small ice pack in our luggage with the intention of using it today so we could eat lunch since I wasn’t sure what other food options there would be.

 

We left the hotel around 8am and drove around the Southern end of the island, passing the messy construction site again, and driving through a few small towns where the locals live.

37359859041_e616af8cbb_z.jpg0508 by deladane, on Flickr"][/url]37359859041_e616af8cbb_z.jpg

 

23508599748_5232faf213_z.jpg0509 by deladane, on Flickr"][/url]23508599748_5232faf213_z.jpg

 

23508599468_0c7058ae04_z.jpg0510 by deladane, on Flickr"][/url]23508599468_0c7058ae04_z.jpg

 

It took about 30 minutes for us to reach our destination. The Lagoonarium is a small motu off the east coast of Moorea. They have ropes in the water surrounding a coral reef where there are hundreds of fish, and also a few sharks and sting rays. They do have a website but there is not a ton of information on there. Based on the excellent reviews on TripAdvisor, we knew to expect a fantastic snorkeling experience, especially when they do the feedings.

 

When we arrived at 8:30am, there was only 1 other car in the parking lot.

 

23508599078_27acd525c6_z.jpg0512 by deladane, on Flickr"][/url]23508599078_27acd525c6_z.jpg

 

We went inside this little building to pay our admission fee of 3400XPF per person, which included a boat ride to get to/from the motu, a locker, use of one of the eight little huts to store our belongings and get some shade (if there was one available), coffee/tea/hot chocolate/water, and a bathroom with a shower.

 

 

37359856151_64678bd271_z.jpg0516 by deladane, on Flickr"][/url]37359856151_64678bd271_z.jpg

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We waited about 10 minutes, and then we saw this boat coming our way.

 

37359855701_8845ed5080_z.jpg0517 by deladane, on Flickr"][/url]37359855701_8845ed5080_z.jpg

 

There is no dock for their boat so we had to wade out into the water to board (carrying our beach bags and lunch cooler overhead!). This guy would be our guide for the day, but he never introduced himself so I do not know his name.

 

37359855561_064aba9a06_z.jpg0518 by deladane, on Flickr"][/url]37359855561_064aba9a06_z.jpg

 

From reading all the reviews on Trip Advisor, I was expecting our guide would be Wilfred, but this was definitely not him. In fact, I just went back and looked again and I could not find a single photo of this guy. Sadly, I do think that impacted our experience today because this guy was not a very good guide. Maybe he doesn’t normally work here and was just covering for today?

 

Anyway, another family arrived just as the outrigger boat was coming to pick us up, so we waited for them to climb on board and then set off for the 5 minute ride to the motu.

 

37359855191_e377e562fa_z.jpg0519 by deladane, on Flickr"][/url]37359855191_e377e562fa_z.jpg

 

We weren’t surprised to see that there was a dog on the boat… this is still Moorea, after all! There were actually 3 dogs that we saw on the motu. They left us alone for the most part, but they did come over when we took out our food for lunch.

 

37359854071_e1434c4122_z.jpg0521 by deladane, on Flickr"][/url]37359854071_e1434c4122_z.jpg

 

37359852661_752dc7a617_z.jpg0523 by deladane, on Flickr"][/url]37359852661_752dc7a617_z.jpg

 

37359851941_79a97642ff_z.jpg0524 by deladane, on Flickr"][/url]37359851941_79a97642ff_z.jpg

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It was a little tricky getting out of the boat because you can see the water level was much lower than the dock (we tied up next to the white buoys). We had to climb up on the seats of the boat and then push ourselves up onto the dock, which was doable but would probably be difficult if you have mobility problems.

 

37359834461_63c4e65368_z.jpg0554 by deladane, on Flickr"][/url]37359834461_63c4e65368_z.jpg

 

Once everyone was out of the boat, the guide gave us a brief tour of the island.

 

36690270123_8ab148074c_z.jpg0555 by deladane, on Flickr"][/url]36690270123_8ab148074c_z.jpg

 

He showed us the bathroom…

37359851601_cd3700495e_z.jpg0525 by deladane, on Flickr"][/url]37359851601_cd3700495e_z.jpg

 

…and the kitchen area where we could make ourselves a cup of coffee, tea, hot chocolate, or just get some water.

37359850501_504d496777_z.jpg0527 by deladane, on Flickr"][/url]37359850501_504d496777_z.jpg

 

There was a seating area in the shade where we could eat our lunch

37359845011_2d79218d23_z.jpg0535 by deladane, on Flickr"][/url]37359845011_2d79218d23_z.jpg

 

That staircase leads upstairs to another seating area, and there are some great views from up there too!

 

37359850051_6532d36c5c_z.jpg0528 by deladane, on Flickr"][/url]37359850051_6532d36c5c_z.jpg

 

 

(DH wore that shirt because today was Labor Day. Every time we met an American couple, he wished them a Happy Labor Day, and they all gave him the same quizzical look at first. Once you are in vacation mode in a paradise like FP, it’s hard to remember the day of the week let alone that it’s a holiday back at home! Haha)

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OMG, so funny! That's exactly where we used to live! What a small world!

 

Thanks about the sunset pictures :) We were so happy to finally see a pretty sunset there because that's what we expected to see every night staying at a hotel on the west coast during the dry season when it is usually clear skies and perfect weather! Spoiler alert: we saw quite a few pretty sunsets once we boarded the cruise, and I will post lots more pretty sunset photos when we get to that part!

 

Definitely too funny AND small world!!!

 

I just can't get over the beauty from your pictures, they all look like they could be post cards or travel brochures! Most of the places we've been always seem to have crowds, some not as large as others, but it almost looks like you have the place to yourselves, although you did mention there have been a few others on your tours.

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Definitely too funny AND small world!!!

 

I just can't get over the beauty from your pictures, they all look like they could be post cards or travel brochures! Most of the places we've been always seem to have crowds, some not as large as others, but it almost looks like you have the place to yourselves, although you did mention there have been a few others on your tours.

 

That was definitely one benefit to FP... it really never felt crowded! Even when there were others around us as part of our tour or on other tours, there was always a way to take a photo with no one else in the background. It is so hard to narrow down which photos to include in the review because nearly every photo is beautiful!! Such a tough life I live ;p

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I am loving your review and looking forward to more posts:) We are booked on the Jan 6th 11-night sailing and all of your pics and info are making me even more excited for our trip. Planning is so fun!

Your calendar with daily activities is a great idea and super cute - as the vacation planner in our family, this would help my people know all the fun activities that are scheduled.

If you could only pick one, ATV or Sea-Doos in Moorea, which would you pick?

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I am loving your review and looking forward to more posts:) We are booked on the Jan 6th 11-night sailing and all of your pics and info are making me even more excited for our trip. Planning is so fun!

Your calendar with daily activities is a great idea and super cute - as the vacation planner in our family, this would help my people know all the fun activities that are scheduled.

If you could only pick one, ATV or Sea-Doos in Moorea, which would you pick?

 

Hi Karen,

I am glad you are finding my review so helpful! That's why I do all this work- so others can benefit from the hours (...months! lol) of research I did :) I have never made a calendar like that before, but I really liked having it hanging on our wall as a daily reminder of what our plans were that day. I honestly don't think my husband ever looked at it, but oh well!

 

As for ATVs vs Sea-Doos in Moorea: Since you are going on the Cook Islands itinerary, and I am pretty sure those islands are good for water activities, plus Bora Bora and Taha'a are also better for water activities, I think Moorea is a good chance for you to do a land activity... so I'd pick ATVs in Moorea. While there is interesting water life in the lagoon in Moorea, I'd say the lush green valley with beautiful jagged peaks of mountains and panoramic views makes Moorea a unique island and that is worth seeing... save the water stuff for a different day :)

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There are 8 little huts on the island that are available on a first come, first served basis. These are very basic shelters, but it was nice to have a place to keep our beach bags and to have a place to sit in the shade. There was only one other party who arrived before us, so we had our pick of the huts (some are reserved for larger parties, but the guide let us pick between the smaller ones for the 2 of us). Had we arrived when all the huts were occupied, we could have sat on the chairs or at the tables scattered around the island, or we could have stayed near the dining area, but I don’t know if we would have liked that as much as having our own space. The island felt secure (especially considering you can only access it after you have paid for admission, and if someone tried to steal something, they would have to wait for the next boat back to Moorea before they could escape so it was unlikely anyone would try to steal anything), but just in case, we opted to lock our car keys and extra cash in the small lockers located behind the bar in the kitchen. These lockers were very small, just big enough for a few items, but you could probably fit your camera in there if it’s not waterproof and you didn’t want to leave it out while you are in the water.

 

This is overlooking the roofs of all of the huts:

37359846401_279e6a1f5c_z.jpg0533 by deladane, on Flickr"][/url]37359846401_279e6a1f5c_z.jpg

 

This was our hut for the day:

37359843491_dd43ce5d5c_z.jpg0538 by deladane, on Flickr"][/url]37359843491_dd43ce5d5c_z.jpg

 

There were 2 long benches inside where we could put our bags, and 2 plastic Adirondack chairs outside.

37359844581_6398223dc2_z.jpg0536 by deladane, on Flickr"][/url]37359844581_6398223dc2_z.jpg

 

The hut did have a window but there was no way to keep it open. It got a little warm in there as there was no way to get a breeze unless the wind blew at just the right angle. As the day went on, we actually appreciated that it was warm in there (spoiler alert: these blue skies didn’t last all day!)

36651047074_db8296cf99_z.jpg0540 by deladane, on Flickr"][/url]36651047074_db8296cf99_z.jpg

 

These huts were towards the back of the island. The first one is for staff only. The one behind it is 2 stories tall and is reserved for very large parties. We saw a big group get settled back there sometime mid-day, so perhaps it was an excursion through one of the hotels?

37359845721_379eb51526_z.jpg0534 by deladane, on Flickr"][/url]37359845721_379eb51526_z.jpg

 

This shows how all of the huts were lined up side by side, with a path running in front of them, and then there was a long narrow sandy area with extra tables and chairs for the people who didn’t get a hut (or if you just wanted to sit out in the sun).

 

37359835661_0bb14c4461_z.jpg0552 by deladane, on Flickr"][/url]37359835661_0bb14c4461_z.jpg

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At the back end of the sandy area, basically right across from our hut, there was a funky seating area with benches and a coffee table.

36690272093_0a2116177c_z.jpg0551 by deladane, on Flickr"][/url]36690272093_0a2116177c_z.jpg

 

36651044994_904a289c01_z.jpg0548 by deladane, on Flickr"][/url]36651044994_904a289c01_z.jpg

 

36651045594_dabcc65e47_z.jpg0546 by deladane, on Flickr"][/url]36651045594_dabcc65e47_z.jpg

 

After we finished our brief tour, we asked the guide where we could go snorkeling. He said that there was no snorkeling now, and we should just relax until it was time for the first feeding at 11:30am. What?!? Really?? I thought this place was supposed to have amazing snorkeling! It was barely 9am at this point so we had a lot of time to kill. DH spent the time reading while I wrote in my trip journal, and then we went out into the water near where the boat dropped us off. The water was just so clear and it was only waist deep so we felt like we were in a swimming pool.

 

37313033816_b4554de973_z.jpg0570 by deladane, on Flickr"][/url]37313033816_b4554de973_z.jpg

 

We are kneeling on our knees in this photo, just to show how shallow the water was!

37313035396_ae2b82dfb7_z.jpg0566 by deladane, on Flickr"][/url]37313035396_ae2b82dfb7_z.jpg

 

 

36651054144_afce6d8a77_z.jpg0573 by deladane, on Flickr"][/url]36651054144_afce6d8a77_z.jpg

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