Travel doesn't become adventure
Until you leave yourself behind.
|On shuttle between airport and main island|
Some of the bad publicity comes from other islands that are a little jealous of Bora Bora’s popularity. Some of the bad publicity comes from the heydays when it was more crowded with tourists (and it still is in some parts of Bora Bora). If you know where to hang out you will not come across other tourists. Some of the bad publicity comes from so many of the projects started by the government, giving false hopes, that never come to fruition when political parties change, etc.
|Very clean lagoon of Bora Bora|
|Marina that was never finished|
|Many cottages have gingerbread accents - The cottage we had to ourselves|
That afternoon we bike to the southern end of the island and stumble upon the touristic part which we quickly flee from. If you don’t go there you hardly notice tourism exists. As we bike back rain starts pouring down so we hide under the eaves of a small grocery store. One of the locals, obviously not very rich, comes out and hands us a baguette. We tell him he should keep it but he insists we take it. He’s just another example of joyful moments we’ve had in Bora Bora where tourism has gone down 32% in the last 10 years (that % is for all of French Polynesia but since 50% of the tourism comes here, Bora Bora is hit the hardest).
While we hike and bike, our host, Daniel goes deep fishing with two friends and they come back with a new type of fish for us to try for dinner: roi, in local jargon (coral cod), a red fish with absolutely delectable pure white flesh melting in your mouth. The best I ever had. We also taste carangue (trevally).
We also stop to see live corals filled with amazing colors, giant clams, etc. We are in 7 meters of water so clear we think we are only in 2-3 meters. The clarity of the water can actually cause problems. We heard of 3 cases, this year alone, of people diving off their chartered boats to break their necks or backs thinking they are in much deeper water than they are, hitting bottom much too quickly. One of our guides (we have 3 just for the 2 of us) dives to the bottom to show us the quality of the sand. He comes back with a big handful and gives it to us. It literally is the consistency of talc power mixed with a little clay and pure white… As Loana says Mother Nature is very kind to us. We hunt for a moray eel our hosts know of but it won’t come out to visit – stubbornly remaining in its cave (probably not hungry).
The following day we go around the lagoon to swim with the
stingrays and the black tip sharks. The
rays are quite aggressive when food comes out.
They can tell when someone is holding up food even if they are still in
the boat or the food is still in a bag.
They can push you over, weighing between 20 and 30 kilos, when reaching
for food. They feel like wet mushrooms
and are quite slithery. The safest place
to pet them is between the eyes, avoiding the tail at all costs. The sharks stay away; we keep a safe distance
from each other.
|Klaus, a friend of the family, feeding a ray|
|We are told to keep our hands up|
|Why is Mike always behind me?|
|OK Mike is alone with the sharks|
|And a ray|
|Sharks drifting by|
|or without Mike...|
|Or a sailboat...|
|Our view from lunch at the motu|
|Siblings talking while cutting palm leaves to weave|
|Mamie making hat, our host Loana in yellow|
|Klaus and I also try|
|She is too quick to keep up with|
|Klaus makes a different variation|
|She doesn't even have to watch what she does|
|I have to concentrate - so does Klaus|
|Almost made it|
|She had time to make 8 hats and 2 bowls while I made an attempt at one hat...|
We hate to leave for we truly enjoyed our time in Bora Bora. We are thankful we didn’t follow the rumors indicating it was a place to avoid. We had a great time here. We made excellent connections and laughed our hearts out with stories told by a woman with connections to New Caledonia on how they view Tahitians and vice versa.Don’t make the mistake of bypassing Bora Bora if you have the time to come here, please do yourself the favor.
From the oldest islands Bora Bora and Maupiti created some 4.5M years ago to Tahaa and Raiatea created about 2.5M years ago to the newest of the bunch, Tahiti at a mere 1.5M years old… We spent a great time in the Society Islands where, as the old timers say, winter started for the dragonflies have arrived. We see them flutter around everywhere. It is cooler at night and a little windier.