We are awake before the wake up call, but are already anchored in the large lagoon inside the Rangiroa Atoll or ring of coral, off Avatoru Motu. Rangiroa means "large sky" in Polynesian and is a true atoll made up of 240 motus, islets, separated by 100 hoa, tiny channels. It is the fourth largest atoll in the world. The lagoon is more than 43 miles long and 16 miles across. Actually you can not see across the atoll from sea level and up on deck 8 you could barely make out the distant tree line.
We ordered a room service breakfast last night as we have to meet the Cruise Critic group in the Oceans Lounge at 7:45AM. We all tender ashore at one time to meet the two tours that are scheduled with Ugo. There are thirty of us, eighteen are going to the blue lagoon and twelve are going to the Pink Sands Beach, both over an hour’s boat ride away.
Things go very smoothly and we are all on shore by 8:45AM. Unfortunately things fall apart on shore.
It is a rough, almost 90 minute, ride to a very beautiful lagoon surrounded by small motus. We see the rest of the Cruise Critic group, but they are on one of the other islands. So, we are on our own. The boat anchors but we are still some distance from the island. We hop out (Carolyn sort of falls out) as there is no ladder offered. We wade ashore and the guide starts to unload the supplies. There is another boat with four French couples, already on our motu, that turn out to be part of our group too.
We come out of the pass, make one stop to shift around coolers, leave the boat of Frenchmen and head back to the dock where we catch one of the last tenders. After cleaning up we have a cocktail and mull over the day and watch a very nice sunset.
In conclusion, I would not recommend Ugo for a tour. The trip is very expensive, $100+ per person, and he delivered the promised tours for ONLY 10 of the 30 Cruise Critic people even after months of planning. The 10 that went to the Blue Lagoon in a covered boat were the winners. The others did not get what was promised: neither a covered boat for the nearly three hour round trip to the Blue Lagoon nor the promised trip to the Pink Sands Beach. BUYER BEWARE!!!
If you dive or have snorkeled in other areas of the world you are better off waiting and taking a tour from the ones offered on the dock or just walking to one of the nearby beaches. What we saw we had already seen the on the other islands with much less hassle and a lot less money. Many people just went to the beach and thought it was great. As we sail out of the lagoon we could see that beach area and it is a very nice sand beach. We have a nice dinner in the Main Dinning room and visit with the neighboring table about our day. They went to the beach and had a great time.