Bora Bora conjures up tropical images of clear blue water, palm trees, polynesian feasts and in one word - PARADISE. Approaching by plane, the view even more spectacular than we imagined. The water REALLY IS that clear and blue... in fact, the water is so many different shades from deep blue to light green - Crayola would have a hard time naming all the shades!
It's somewhere I have wanted to go since I was a little girl (mom and dad will attest to that!) so it was a dream come true coming in for the landing and seeing all of the hotels with their over-water bungalows seemingly floating out in the middle of the water!
After landing, we immediately boarded the ferry which takes passengers from the airport to the main land and the hotels. For me, it was just like watching Fantasy Island on Saturday night at 10pm (if I had behaved that day!) - I was just waiting for Tatu!! We stayed at a small hotel called Le Matai Polynesian and upon arrival at our hotel I was thrilled to see that Jonathan had booked us into an "OWB" - an overwater bungalow... fantastic! There was a partial glass floor in our bungalow where we could watch the colourful fish gather around the coral reef below our bungalow. The view was spectacular - you could see far in the distance where the Pacific Ocean broke against the coral reef that surrounds the island, but between our bungalow and the ocean we could see about 100 different shades of blue. We had a ladder off of our balcony where we could go directly into the water either for a swim or a snorkel. We saw many different types of colourful fish, but also squid and octopus which we hadn't seen before - all outside our front door!
Our days in Bora Bora were spent relaxing, reading, sunning and snorkelling (and eating of course - all the fresh tuna we could stuff into our mouths!!). In the mornings we took a two person kayak/canoe from our hotel and canoed around the lagoon - out around the smaller motus and around some of the other hotels. We canoed out to some of the further reefs and one of us would just jump off the canoe and go for a snorkel before paddling back... a great way to see how the colours of the water change as well as to exercise off some of the food we have been eating! The highlight of our canoeing was when two sting rays started following us as we canoed along and came up close enough to our canoe for us to pet them! The tour companies were charging $50 for this pleasure so we were excited to know that we found them on our own.
On our final night, we went to a Polynesian show at one of the larger hotels which was really fantastic. During the show, Jonathan kept taking photos of the Polynesian hula-ladies - and one young girl in particular. His dreams came true when at the end of the evening she invited him out into the middle of the sand pit to teach him hula! His night only got better when during his "turn" to give his demonstration of his newly acquired skills for the rest of the audience, ALL of the hula ladies surrounded him and were dancing suggestively. He was particularly suprised when one of them got particularly close and gave him a good bump and grind from behind. He was shocked when he turned around to discover it was not "his" girl, it was more like "his" grandmother - it was the only hula lady who was much older and didn't have any teeth! His face was priceless and I was laughing so hard that I forget to take a photo... ah well, at least that look will be implanted on my brain for years to come!! For those of you who know Jonathan, yes, he had had 2 very strong drinks as well as a bottle of wine before he comfortably danced with his arms above his shoulders!! And, for those who know Jonathan well, he has never been one to complain about very much. When the waiter brought us a warm glass of chablis, Jonathan asked that they take it back and return with a cold glass. They said that didn't have any cold, so they brought us the whole bottle, in an ice bucket, ON THE HOUSE! I was really glad that I had picked the expensive glass because we got a $60 bottle of wine for FREE! GO JONATHAN! Never settle for less!
Finally, we have always said that we are not "beach people" - I think that after Bora Bora we may have changed our minds! It is not really a conventional beach location as there is very little sand... mostly lagoons which is why the "OWB" was great. There was plenty to do and we spent the majority of the day in the water anyway. It is a truly beautiful place and one of those "beach destinations" that we hope to go back to sooner rather than later. On those wet, depressing autumn days in London when we return I will dream of Bora Bora to brighten up my spirits!!