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    Feb 19 - Bora Bora - first day

    February 19, 2020 in French Polynesia ⋅ 🌙 25 °C

    Today, we are anchored at the island of Bora Bora which was discovered by Captain Cook in 1769. We will be here until tomorrow evening. The name was originally Pora Pora, meaning “first born”. The island was supposed to be the first to emerge from the sea. Today, geological evidence supports this theory. The first inhabitants arrived in the 9th century. Many wars and battles dominated the island until the reign of Tapoa in the 18th century when finally, peace and order came to the island. Bora Bora got catapulted into the modern era during WWII. After the attack on Pearl Harbour, the U.S. Navy chose Bora Bora as a second logistical base in the Pacific Theatre. Bora Bora’s positioning and its sole pass entering and exiting the lagoon made it an ideal location for refuelling and re-provisioning. Operation Bobcat brought in 5,000 U.S. military service men. Cannons, still visible, were placed on the islands 4 corners. The island benefited greatly from the U.S. military presence - the road around the island, the airport runway and the commercial pier are major longterm infrastructure elements that resulted. A lot of babies came as a result of that U.S. presence also.

    After breakfast, we jumped on the first tender boat which took us into the little town of Vaitape. We found the Avis office and rented bicycles - the regular kind, not the electric kind. There is only one road on the island, so it’s hard to get lost. We headed out with the water on our right to Matira Beach. The ride took us about 25 minutes. The road is busy and it’s just barely two lanes wide with no lane markings - there are trucks, cars, scooters, bikes flying along it. I may have said a few nasty words along the way. Matira Beach is a long, beautiful, white sand beach on the very southern tip of Bora Bora. We did a couple of rounds of in the water, out of the water. There is precious little shade there and the hordes of other sun seekers had snagged nearly all the prime spots before we arrived. And we were there by 9:30 a.m. We lasted a couple of hours and headed back to town - we are trying really hard not to get fried. We found the grocery store and treated ourselves to ice cream bars. We cycled a bit farther north, and then headed back to Vaitape. We turned the bikes in and saw that a tender was loading. We decided we had had enough for one day so be clambered on board. We were able to get some real lunch - salad and more of the good cookies they make on this ship.

    Doug is happily ensconced in front of the TV watching US college basketball. I think it’s time for me to do some reading.
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