In the Footsteps of Captain Cook
Part 2 – Bora Bora
Our flight from Raiatea to Bora Bora was only 50 minutes, (145 miles), as the view of the iconic Mt. Otemanu and Mt. Pahia of Bora Bora has been clear to us for the past week from Raiatea. The airport for Bora Bora was originally built by the U.S. Military at the beginning of World War II, but the island never saw any action as the fighting rapidly moved west. The airport is located on a motu, an island on the northern outer edges of the ringing coral reef.
After landing and being greeted with the traditional leis, we took a boat ferry to our resort for the next 4 days, – The Pearl Beach Resort – also located on a motu at the northwestern end of the island. Here, each couple had a ~700 sq. ft. “bungalow” over water, complete with bar, TV, a spacious bath and shower, an outdoor balcony and a second dock level with stairs down to the water, including an outdoor shower. Inside the bungalow was a central glass-top table that slid open to view a coral head and reef fish in the sea below. The vanities, nightstands, sinks and tubs all were surrounded with views of the water underneath, and with the under-cabin lights, one could view the marine life whenever one desired. That night, we had dinner ashore poolside.
Saturday morning after a huge buffet breakfast, we caught the hotel boat ferry to the main island, where the hotel provided bus transport to the town of Vaitape, located on the west side of the island. Vaitape is a typical island tourist town populated with small souvenir, jewelry and craft shops. It was also “Election Day” for the Polynesian French citizens, and festivities abounded as they we busy voting for the next French President. Unfortunately, this also meant it was a “dry” day – no alcohol available locally! After visiting most of the shops and buying a few souvenirs, we stopped for an ice cream before returning to the resort for a margarita and calamari lunch. That afternoon, we met up with Bob and Diane for afternoon cocktails and a snorkeling adventure, swimming ¼ mile to the southern end of the motu and looking for coral heads and sea life. This area was very shallow (< 5 ft.), and the warmer water limited the number of species to be seen. After the disappointment, it was only fitting that we saw and followed a large stingray while returning to our bungalow. That evening, as the next Oceania cruise ship was coming into port, we all caught a boat ferry and bus to the famous restaurant of “Bloody Mary’s”, located on the far southwest end of Bora Bora. There, we were met by the hostess and an ice bar of available appetizers – meats, fish and shellfish – from which we could select our evening meal. The shrimp, marlin, mahi and tuna were excellent, as was the sherbet and coconut ice creams for desert, and the evening was late by the time we got back to our bungalows.
Sunday, Julie and Rocky explored the motu, while Bob, Diane, Jeff and Debbie took a jeep adventure around Bora Bora.
We walked the motu’s eastern beach, explored the extent of the offshore and onshore bungalows, walked the extensive gardens and visited the resort’s spa. That rest of the morning was spent relaxing on the beach and swimming in the pool. After a pizza lunch, we snorkeled the central “baby coral gardens” that the resort was raising among the bungalows. Surprisingly, these coral heads are “electrified”, assisting the growth and development of the coral and attracting significant numbers of reef fish! That afternoon was drinks again with Bob and Diane, who had returned from an excellent island tour! this gave way to “Happy Hour” at the poolside bar, and then to dinner at the resort’s French restaurant where we had scallops, pasta and mahi mahi.
Monday began with a relaxing day on the beach, including kayaking and paddle-boarding around the lagoon. After some brief gift-shop shopping, Rocky explored the trails that crossed the motu to the western side, and then Julie and Rocky snorkeled the larger coral heads north of the resort, where the sea life was much more plentiful. For lunch, we ate our leftover pizza and spent more time snorkeling and exploring the resorts coral “farming”. After another poolside happy hour, we joined Jeff and Debbie for dinner at the resort’s Sushi Restaurant, before enjoying an evening nightcap with them and retiring to our bungalow to pack for our last night there.
May 9th, we were up with sun and on the way to breakfast, saw a huge stingray circling under the bungalows.
After breakfast, it was time to check-out and catch the boat ferry to the airport for our flight to the island of Moorea. While waiting for the boat taxi, we were hit with our first real rainstorm of the trip, a windy downpour that ultimately delayed our flight by 1 hour. Graciously, the airline offered everyone a free soda while waiting on the delay. The flight would stop first on the island of Hinehua, before them jumping a short distance to Moorea. –