When Peter and I first met, over a quarter century ago, we decided we wanted to visit Bora Bora together. It’s taken us awhile, but we have arrived!
Bora Bora is like a mystery that slowly reveals its truths to you, little by little over time. Bora Bora will not be rushed into spilling its secrets by anyone, especially a visitor.
The first thing that struck me about Bora Bora is that it is a awe-shocking picturesque as travel photographs have lead the world to believe.
Below: view from Tahiti Air as we prepare to land in Bora Bora.
Green and black mountains rise ominously from turquoise water and disappear into a celestial mist. The mountain sides are thick with lush tropical foliage and intimidating sheer volcanic rock faces. It is easy to imagine the mountain as an entity with a personality.
There are only a few beaches and they are fabulously uncrowded and fantasy-beautiful: white-sand meets aquamarine, endless waters.
The lagoon around the island is surrounded by a reef, and from the beach one can watch the distant white surf crash endlessly against the reef.
The Island’s languages are French and Tahitian. I enjoy trying to communicate in French, although it makes my eldest daughter roll her eyes as though in pain. One culinary perk about being in “French” Polynesia is that The Island has French bagets that rival France’s!
The Polynesian people are friendly and reserved (in their private lives) and can sometimes seem a little impatient with the tourists: I snorkelled around a large coral rock and a little too close to where a Tahitian woman was fishing. She let me know my mistake in a very firm voice.
I can’t say I blame them. It is a very small, quiet Island and when I see wealthy tourist speeding around the lagoon on jet skis, I want to send them back home myself.
The air is hot and humid. Coconut and grapefruit trees line the roadsides.
Three are no poisonous snakes, insects or any wild land mammals on Bora Bora but there are dogs, cats and chickens. The dogs bark on and off all night long. The roosters start to crow at about 2 am, for no apparent reason and crow on and off all day long.
Large pit-bull mixed domestic dogs roam the Island and sleep on the edges of the one narrow road that circles the Island’s perimeter. They sleep with their heads inches from the road and at first I thought a few of them were road kill until I saw one startled awake by a pesky wasp.
Although there are several luxury resorts scattered throughout Bora Bora, for the most part, Bora Bora is like the Island modern society ignores: 2 tiny, modestly stalked grocery stores located in Vaitape (the only town on the Island) are the only places to purchase supplies on the Island.
Bora Bora has approximately 9500 residents. That is actually a lot of people for an Island with only a narrow, perimeter of developed land. Every inch of the perimeter is used by the Polynesian Island’s population. There are a fair number of expat French that inhabit the Island too.
The ocean is something else—living, healthy coral right off the beach. The water is the most brilliantly turquoise tropical water I’ve ever seen and it is warm and sting free!
The only other places that I’ve found comparable warm and turquoise waters are in Cuba and The Perhentian Islands (South China Sea); however, in both of these seas, I was constantly stung by teeny-tiny jelly fish.
Bora Bora has the most beautiful ocean lagoon that I’ve swum/snorkelled in. The water is warm, clear, sting-free and teaming with aquatic life.
Earth’s beauty never ceases to astound me. Bora Bora is truly a tropical paradise.
*Stay tuned for details on snorkelling in Bora Bora soon…