Saturday, March 15, 2008

Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Our next port of call was Bora Bora in French Polynesia. This island in the middle of a beautiful lagoon is known as "the Pearl of Polynesia". I'm sure you'll agree this was one of the highlights of the cruise.

Before clicking on the picture to the left (to get an enlarged image) close your eyes and try to picture the beautiful waters and majestic mountains that took our breath away as the Tahitian Princess sailed into Bora Bora mid-day.

The waters were every shade of blue and green imaginable including emerald, turquoise, powder blue, dark blue, and sky blue. The green vegetation, thatched huts, and billowy white clouds completed the canvas that was unfolding before our eyes as the ship arrived at our destination.

After the ship dropped anchor, we took a tender ashore. We decided to just walk around the village for awhile. Our little walk took us past an old church, quiet streets, and a few local shops. We purchased a few items from the local market and returned to the ship to get ready for our evening excursion - a champagne sail. which started at 4:30 and ended at 7:30 PM.

There were two catamarans that took our group on the sunset sail. The weather was beautiful. The crystal blue sky was decorated with the same billowing clouds that had been in the sky all day long. We knew we were in for a treat when the sun would begin to set. Timing the shot perfectly, the second catamaran was backlit by the setting sun, casting it's shadow onto the water between the two sail boats. We were able to get many more photos before the sun completely set and it was time to return to our ship. The catamaran served as our private tender boat that night, depositing us back where we had begun this fantastic evening.

Our first day in Bora Bora was almost over, but we were not done exploring Bora Bora. In the morning, we continued with two shore excursions . From 8:30 am to 10:30 am, we donned yellow helmets for the Bora Bora Aqua Safari. We then took the Tupuna Mountain Safari And Island Tour from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. We have enjoyed 4WD excursions on other cruises, so that's why we decided to book this tour.

One of our favorite things to do on a cruise is explore under the water. When reviewing the various shore excursions for this cruise, we decided to get a little more adventurous than we had in the past. The Aqua Safari sounded amazing and it truly exceeded our expectations. I should tell you that this was my idea and I'm not a good swimmer. My husband thought I'd lost my marbles when I suggested it, but he went along with the idea and he is extremely glad he did.

We sailed from our ship to a diving platform where we were greeted by the rest of our excursion crew. After a brief safety instruction, we donned yellow helmets that were hooked up to an air supply. The helmets weighed about 75 pounds, but you would not know it because in the salt water, it didn't feel heavy at all. You can keep your glasses on (which was great for both of us). We walked down the ladder and were emersed in 10 feet of water surrounded by schools of tropical fish that came to greet us.

Armed with our individual supply of bread, we were able to keep the fish coming right up to us as we walked along the bottom of the lagoon. Don't worry, we were not alone down there. An experienced scuba diver was keeping a watchful eye on us the whole time. The only time my husband was scared was when they had to switch air tanks. For a brief moment, he didn't hear the comforting sound of air rushing into his helmet, but all was well.

This was the most amazing experience we've had in the more than 20 years of cruising. We both highly recommend this tour - especially in the crystal clear waters of Bora Bora.

Our day in Bora Bora concluded with a 4WD safari which took us to the top of Tupuna Mountain where we got a view of the entire lagoon, our ship, and were able to see the sights of the WWII guns of Bora Bora. We ended our tour at Bloody Mary's which is probably the most famous tourist spot on the island.

Photo Albums:

Arriving in Bora Bora, Bora Bora (Shopping) , Bora Bora - Sunset Sail, Bora Bora - Aqua Safari

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to Bora Bora with me. Make sure you visit our photo albums for more pictures. Words just don't do justice to this "Pearl of Polynesia". Next time we visit our last port of call, Moorea, before returning to our disembarkation port of Papette.

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