Cruise day 13 – Jan 16
Visit Vaitape, Bora Bora, French Polynesia –
Where we are in the South Pacific
Wow, this is more like it! Bora Bora is the exotic island with pristine turquoise waters, a gorgeous deep lagoon and the small village-like atmosphere that I had envisioned. It has the perfect south pacific “heavy jungle” look, and two beautiful volcanic peaks reaching skyward next to the lagoon:
The locals are very friendly
The pillar-like peak of Mount Otemanu (2,379′) lies at the center of the island
That’s what I’m talking about!
The water glows many shades of turquoise and emerald
Around the island are luxurious resorts with bungalows on pilings jutting out into the ocean. What a fantastic place it would be to stay, but big $$$$!
About $1000 -$5000/night for on the water bungalow
On this stop we were tendered ashore again, two trips for us since we had reserved two excursions – and both were awesome. After breakfast we took the “Aqua Safari” tour, an optional excursion we had to check out. Then after returning to the ship for a quick lunch we went back to the island for the included excursion, a covered boat ride around part of the island and lagoon.
Tender boats lined up to take folks ashore
This activity was even cooler than we had imagined. We were lowered to the seafloor wearing 80-pound helmets connected to the boat via pressurized air hoses. It’s in only 10′ of water and in a small roped off area with some small coral formations, but it does give the feel of scuba diving. I’m a certified diver, and although this was nothing like moving freely around a large reef, it was pretty cool and Mona Liza was grinning from ear to ear the whole time we were down.
Once on the bottom, we were surrounded by parrot fish, butterflies, clowns, morays, and more. A diver/photographer took several pictures of everyone, which can be purchased. Everybody was thrilled with this excursion, don’t miss it if you get a chance to go!
80 lb helmets
…I’m going down!
Oh no, a shark! Actually just a rubber one the photographer holds as a prop 🙂
Notice the helmet is totally dry inside, I could even wear my glasses!
Each helmet had a bag of fish food attached, that’s why we were so popular
Bora Bora Boat Cruise
Another winner, this is a cruise in a covered boat around part of the island and then through the lagoon and back to the dock. Teva, our captain/guide (who played the ukulele for us during the longer stretches) gave us a lot of information about the history of the island, and especially the culture and languages of Polynesia. We were interested to learn that there are no cemeteries here because residents bury their deceased in the front yard. That means if you buy a house where some of the family members are buried, well, you get them with the house!
We made a quick stop at a shallow area where various stingrays were swimming all over the place. Teva got in the water to lift one to the surface to show us, but he was unable to grab one so we had to be content to just watch them swim around in the crystal clear water:
Not known for being shy, Mona Liza ran up to the front of the boat to pose with Teva
The stingrays wouldn’t surface, Teva said because they were full of food and didn’t care about us
Elegant Terns and Frigates were circling above
The fish food attracted more birds than stingrays
After cruising past a big group of bungalows (and a couple of homes) on stilts stretching out over the water, we headed back. On the way as we crossed the lagoon, we got hammered by a downpour. The cover over the boat didn’t help at all, but it was a joy ride as we got soaked while speeding through the storm.
Conrad Resorts, big bucks
That’s what we sped into
Drenched, but happy
Bluefin tuna was the fresh fish of the day, the first time I’ve tried it. Delicious! After dinner we went to a show featuring session guitarist Louie Shelton playing with the ship’s band. Then off to bed, a couple of tired puppies!
Goodbye Bora Bora!
This stop surpassed our expectations, and we had a wonderful time!