Leap Year - Reefs of Bora Bora
Trip Start Feb 25, 2012
15Trip End Dec 31, 2012
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Where I stayed
A beautiful place to await the ship! Off the plane and walk right onto a boat to take us through atoll lagoon to hotel of Bungalows. This is "heaven on earth", the bluest water we have ever seen. From the original Bora Bora Hotel of 1961, there are now 12 hotels and some 700 over-water bungalows. Very fun and private. No roads..Also very empty -- this is low season, and about 20% full only. Also, rainy season - but we have spectacular weather.
We have been swimming with rays and sharks - the manta rays have their stingers removed, thank goodness so they are safe. In the coral were shimmering purple and green clam lips! We saw a huge moray eel, four feet long jaws open for fish. Swam above Lemon Sharks and also Black tip sharks (small and friendly; well fed, hah).. Two crazy guys took us out all around reef, Cheech and Chong. They egged on all these critters with bloody fish heads.
Only one ship is here, the famous Paul Gaughan, beautifully restored in Australia 3 weeks ago and built specially for these islands and Cook Islands. Artwork is amazing on board; original 1800's maps, charts and artifacts. We were invited on with captain and owner, who just bought Le Levant, the ship we were married on!! Has great plans for her, under a new name Terra Moana in 2013. He owns 4 hotels here; very caring to environs/culture; doing interesting deep seawater technology - first of its kind in World for environmental option to air condition buildings using freezing seawater, aquifer style; with no use of fuel, electricity. Fascinating. Pete liked engineering feat of this, we spent hours there. Also will open new Marlon Brando Resort - Leeds certified- 2013 on remote Tetiaroa, 35 miles to north. This was King's Refuge in Captains Cook era, 1769. Soon, you too can go here, 235 years later. For about $1500 a night, fit for a king.
In Moorea, we will visit their Sea Turtle Sanctuary; they have found ways to stop poaching of turtles. Nice to meet such good people here - beyond tourist track.
We have another 48 hours to see Le Austral, sailing in. No sign of Captain LeMaire, who may be here early. Have learned all about great reefs of Tuamotus, the string of islands called Australs and the Marquesas, they say most beautiful of all. Small ships now include these on 14-day trips from Papeete. Can't wait!!
The stars are incredibly prolific, so still at night with few lights... Very, very quiet.
So long from our bungalow on the blue lagoon. Hope you like the blog update
Pete and Robin