French Polynesia

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    • Day 33

      Jan 23. Bora Bora

      January 23 in French Polynesia ⋅ ☁️ 82 °F

      Considered the world's most beautiful island, the Society Island of Bora Bora is only 15 square miles. This stunning land is made up of a barrier reef of islets, each one connected to the next depending on the tides.

      According to figures released in French Polynesia, more than half the population in the Society Islands now lives below France's poverty threshhold.The data is based on a 2015 survey on expenditure in Tahiti and Moorea.

      We had a few hours before our excursion so we tendered to the Island and took a local bus to the beach. Jul & I were surrounded by ship crew members and locals. Crew are able to get off the ship in various ports. It's fun to see them in "civilian" clothes! They are so happy to have a holiday! Their joy is infectious!

      On our ride, we saw houses where the poor living conditions were obvious with some people living in shipping containers and lean-to type homes. This tugs at my emotions. Similar to visiting Mexico, it feels bad to witness the disparity among the wealthy and poor. If tourists are contributing financially to the native population by visiting and enjoying their beautiful Island, why are so many still so very poor?

      Along the beach, we observed small boats owned by islanders. The boats are moored on metal scaffolding with wheel-like hand cranks to raise and lower the boats from the water.

      Time at the beach was pleasant. The sand is white and the water is crystal clear. Jul and I waded in and right away a Sting Ray passed us within 5 feet! Beautiful!

      Our excursion included a boat-ride outside a reef area where we saw Blacktip Reef Sharks and Sting Ray's. The thrill I felt to be so close to these beautiful animals is beyond words!

      We leave tonight for Moorea (Opunohu Bay), French Polynesia!
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    • Day 7

      Paradise would be the right word

      July 27, 2022 in French Polynesia ⋅ ⛅ 79 °F

      Bungalow debacles resolved, we slept great, partly due to the strenuous day, mostly due to the excellent bed's crisp sheets and down comforter. The buffet breakfast had tons of options, and after a quick stop at the hotel gym, we knew it was time to cannonball off the deck and swim around a bit in the lagoon.

      We slathered on sunscreen and hit the beach for some watersports. We made use of the paddle boards, kayak, and our snorkel masks. There were tons of fishies in the coral garden.

      Appetites stoked by the physical exertion, we tried 'The Sands' for lunch. We had matching orders, beer and poke bowls... Maybe all the honeymoon couples are rubbing off on us.

      After a quick nap, it was time for the main excursion of the day -- the Jetski island tour! We opted for the group Jetski tour to save a few hundred dollars, but fortune was with us as we were the only ones who had signed up. The other guests must be amateurs and actually believe the rainy forecasts.

      Our guide gave us a crash course on operating instructions, and assured us that we'd have opportunities to stop and give my throttle finger a rest. Apparently a lot of guests cramp up or just get fatigued, but three decades of PlayStation found me well conditioned to the task. Our guide knew the meaning of speed, so we largely just tried to keep up with him while trying to blink the salt water out of our eyes. After our first stop, the remaining legs were less intense and we had a blast. The final stop included a 'Coconut Show' -- a demonstration of how to peel and open a coconut, along with the opportunity to eat it fresh. Luckily they had grapefruit and papaya for me, all of which was quite tasty. We hit some waves on the ride back, and I almost lost Laura after a speed change, but though there was much sliding and tight gripping, neither of us were flung off. We had great fun.

      We went back to swim around our bungalow to kill time before some cocktails at happy hour. After putting back a few, we rediscovered that neither of us are particularly talented billiards players. I blame the alcohol. It was a great way to pass some time until our dinner reservation.
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    • Day 7

      Dinner @ Le corail

      July 27, 2022 in French Polynesia ⋅ ⛅ 77 °F

      Special dinner post! We ate at the resort gastronomic restaurant.

      Laura ordered ala carte, and I went big and had the tasting menu with the paired wine option. Everything was magnificent, especially the wines.Read more

    • Day 30

      Feb 20 - Bora Bora - Day 2

      February 20, 2020 in French Polynesia ⋅ 🌧 25 °C

      We caught the first tender at 8:30 a.m. on another very warm and humid day. We went to Avis and picked up the electric car that we reserved yesterday - we rented it for 4 hours.. The car is a cross between a motorcycle (I sat in the back with my legs straddling Doug - so very ladylike) and a golf cart (4-wheel electric with two options - Go and Reverse). We climbed in (don’t rent one of these if you’ve had a hip replacement and you plan to sit in the back) and headed out on the one road on the island. We went southward so the water would be on our right. We passed Matira Beach where we had been yesterday - it is the ONLY public beach on Bora Bora. It was almost deserted - a far cry from yesterday when it was mobbed - all those people must have been from the huge Italian cruise ship that was sharing the lagoon with us. It sailed away last night.

      Our overall impression of Bora Bora is that it is rather rundown, tattered, untidy and tired-looking. The houses/huts are falling apart and there seems to be a rusting car carcass in every yard. Unless you are an ardent snorkeler or scuba diver, I wouldn’t recommend coming here.

      There is a ring of little islands that surround Bora Bora - they create the lagoon - rather like a moat around a castle. The big money around here is on those little islands or motus. There are very expensive hotels there - the huge wedding party group that has been on board are all over there at the wedding today - found out it’s two gay guys getting married after being together for 13 years. There are also 70 Mormons from Utah on board - they seem to all work for the same company. Polar opposites - party animals and NOT party animals.

      It took us about 1.25 hours to cruise around the island - the scenery is all the same - beach/shore to the right, small strip of cleared land to the left and then vegetation-covered steep cliffs. We saw huge machinery chipping away at the cliff in one spot, working to create more flat land. We also saw lots of tired-looking dogs who seem to have all been bred from the same pair. They all look alike.

      We stopped at the grocery store where we went yesterday - it was packed. I wonder if Thursday is the standard shopping day or if that’s the day the monthly social assistance cheques come through. We got ice cream bars and cookies. (This behaviour ends on Tuesday). Then we went through Viatape and back to Matira Beach. It was easy to find shade today. We paddled around in the water and then I read while Doug dozed - the medication that the doctor gave him makes him a little bit dopey. We eventually packed up and returned to town to hand in the keys. Our timing was great - the 12:45 p.m. tender was just coming in for pick up.

      We grabbed lunch on Deck 8 - each day at lunch, there is a different theme. We’ve had French, Greek, Polynesian and today was American. Mac and cheese and chicken fajitas and pecan pie were on the menu - we sampled them all. (This behviour too will end on Tuesday.) We are now hunkered down for the afternoon. There might be naps for both of us today.

      We set sail about 5:30 p.m. tonight. We’ll be ordering room service again so Doug can eat dinner while lounging around like Nero or Caesar. Sitting bolt upright while sailing makes him woozy. We arrive in Moreea about 8:00 a.m. tomorrow; we leave there about 5:00 p.m. and will dock back in Papeete around 7:30 p.m. That docking can’t come early enough for either of us. We would have both been happy to fly home right after we met back up again in Auckland. This trip has been a chore and this week in particular has been a huge trial for both of us.
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    • Day 152

      Cycling around the Island

      March 20, 2023 in French Polynesia ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

      It’s Sunday and we’re ready to explore the island by bike. The round trip was 33km and we planned to have a stop somewhere in the middle to get some food and drinks for lunch. It turns out that Bora Bora is kind of locked down on a Sunday - literally all shops, restaurants, bars etc are closed. Even the petrol station was shut. This made our decision where to stop mich easier and we basically went all the way in one go. Fun fact: 1 km before our hotel there was a snack bar where we decided to have a beer and a lemonade. We only realized then that Semmy’s bicycle key 🔑 had been fallen off somewhere on the way. After going back for a couple of hundred meters we gave up the search and drove back to our hotel. Luckily the staff didn’t charge us. 😂Read more

    • Day 81

      Welcome Bora Bora!

      February 6, 2023 in French Polynesia ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C

      Als Überraschung haben wir heute schon mal einen kleinen Abstecher nach Bora Bora unternommen. An Land ging es zwar nicht, dafür entlang einer herrlichen Lagune. Passend dazu haben wir uns eine lokale Band an Bord geholt, die für ordentlich Südseefeeling gesorgt haben!Read more

    • Day 86

      Bora Bora!

      February 11, 2023 in French Polynesia ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C

      Ein erloschener Vulkan inmitten einer der schönsten Lagunen der Welt - das ist Bora Bora, die "Perle des Pazifiks"! Drei Berge, dessen höchster der 727 m hohe Otemanu ist, bilden die Silhouette.
      Eine 32 km lange Küstenstraße führt einmal um die Insel. Dabei geht es durch kleine Dörfer und immer entlang des mächtigen Vulkanmassivs im Zentrum der Insel.

      Was ich zum ersten Mal gesehen habe, sind Gräber im Vorgarten. Aufgrund des zu geringen Platzangebotes auf der Insel gibt es keinen Friedhof und die Verwandtschaft wird im eigenen Garten begraben...
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    • Day 15

      Bora Bora Jan 23rd

      January 23 in French Polynesia ⋅ ☁️ 29 °C

      Full day in Bora Bora with 2 excursions to keep us busy and see all the sights we can in one day.
      In the morning we had an open bus tour of the island which took us around the main island road and was 15 miles. Along the way we saw their way of life and how they value the simple things and nothing is really complex. The main challenge is that just about everything has to be brought in by ship, so it's a challenge to build new buildings, fix vehicles and introduce new things. Just about everything is re-used and re-purposed. Many of the resorts were destroyed by the 2010 monsoon and were never rebuilt. The few that were being rebuild were stopped and cancelled due to Covid. It's a shame since the island is such a beautiful resort place to visit.
      We had lunch at a cafe and experienced the cost of living in Bora Bora. Lunch was about $95 US. However, it was really good seafood and MaiTai's.
      In the afternoon we took a boat cruise around the island to see the bungalows that are built in the ocean. They are part of the remaining resorts and vary from $500 to $1500 a night. There are pics of these.
      We saw a plastic bottle floating in the water and went to pick up the trash and when we were near it, it moved away from the boat. we caught up to it and our boat captain lifted it out of the water and it was a fishing buoy with a line, hook and live fish caught on it. He is taking it home for dinner.
      We were the last tinder boat (small shuttle boat from the ship to the shore) back, so they could not leave until our group was back on board.
      Dinner and bed to get ready for tomorrow's excursions...
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