November 22, 2013 – Bora Bora
This is the first of four French Polynesian Islands we will visit in the next five days. Those of you who have followed our travels are aware that Bora Bora is my favorite island in the whole world. It is a most unusual piece of geology – with a mountain in the middle, surrounded almost completely with a reef, creating a wonderful tranquil lagoon in the middle. I was able to find this satellite picture which shows what I could never adequately describe.
Our ship came in the channel at about 3 o’clock on the picture and anchored about one mile off shore. This is the first time on this cruise we have had to anchor rather than tying up to a pier, and it complicates the process of exiting the ship since it has to be done by using the life boats to ferry passengers to and from the shore. It just takes a little more time and effort to get ashore.
A new sport in Polynesia. Since there are no waves to ride in the lagoon, these guys have learned to ride the bow wakes of the tenders, either next to, or behind the boats. I am not sure, but I believe the Amsterdam boat drivers were adjusting the boat speed to accommodate them. When they were in position, they could ride along for hundreds of yards without paddling.
We hopped off our tender and right on to the snorkel boat we had booked for today. Yes, the white whale is venturing back to the sea. Here is part of the crew on the boat as we head out. Notice the Ukulele in the picture – musician/sailor/divers are omnipresent hereabouts.
On the way to the snorkel spot, we pass one of several exclusive ($1500/day?) hotels where the rooms are out over the lagoon, each with a swimming platform.
Our first stop was at a shallow part of the lagoon where we were able to swim with Sting Rays and Black Tip Reef Sharks. The guide says they are harmless – just don’t grab the stingers or put your fingers near the sharks, but for two people who were raised on the Gulf Coast – this is not natural OR safe.
Do I look a little wary, or what?
After the shark and ray experience we boated over to a Motu, or coral island, that had good beaches for entry into the water and lots of shady spots on shore. We swam for a while and enjoyed a small snack set up by the sailor/musician/diver/chefs.
Some contemporary Polynesian stone carving to add flavor to the island.
I have often threatened to run away to Bora Bora, even before I had visited here, and I think I have found a small house on this little island that would do just fine as my residence.
Bora Boa is still our favorite island in the world!