Caldera in Bora Bora

Surprise Suprise: Bora Bora

What a surprise Bora Bora turned out to be.  I can only imagine your response as you read that opening line.  “Seriously, Christine?  Who doesn’t love Bora Bora?”  On previous posts, did you read between the lines?  Could you tell that I was not enamored with the island?  All I could see were the tourists, cruise ships, pearl shops, and visitor activities.  However, we’ve taken the time to get to know her a little better while waiting for a weather window to leave.  We snorkeling with lemon sharks, black tip sharks, sting rays, and tons schools of various fish in jade colored waters.  We hiked through the lush vegetation to the tallest peak of the island and overlooked a striking island, bay, and lagoon.  I am a Bora Bora convert.

Southeast Side of Bora Bora

The southeast side of Bora Bora had yet to be tamed.  For the most part we stayed on the northwest side (near the main town of Vaitape and the tip of the island).  There is only one way to get to the southeast side of the island and that is to go all the way around the top to the other side.  It is a 2-hour motor over several shallow spots.  In fact, two boats have run aground on this passage in the last few weeks.

There is another route that is more direct which takes you around the bottom tip of the island.  However, this passage is not accessible to large boats.  No surprise here, we were reluctant to make this journey.  But as they say “Suck it up Buttercup!”  We wanted to snorkel the “aquarium” and visit the long, white sandy beach.  Both of which are over on the southeast side.

See the map below.  We are anchored near the purple arrow and want to go to the green arrow.  Once anchored at the new location we want to snorkel the Aquarium located at the blue arrow.

Map of Bora Bora

Map of Bora Bora

Rachel and Nicola wanted to snorkel the aquarium as well but they did not want to bring Agape through the shallow waters.  So, they came aboard Sugar Shack for the ride.  Nicola and I were at the bow looking for “bombies” or “coral heads.” Rachel was watching the computer charts and depth and Matt was at the helm.  We crossed over some really shallow spots putting all of us on edge.  The lowest point was 1.8 meters and we draw 1 meter!  Not much wiggle room.  Only one time did we abort our direction and head a different path.  We made it in 2-hours with plenty of time to snorkel before dark.

Made it Safely to the Anchorage

Our anchorage is off Motu Fareone which has a beautiful, white sandy beach.  We loaded our gear and made our way over to the private Sofitel Resort island.  Just off this island is the aquarium.  We visited on a day that gave us crystal clear water showcasing the large variety of friendly fish.  One clever entrepreneur had a private surprise message for his snorkeling clients.

Aquarium at Bora Bora

Aquarium at Bora Bora

The coral was struggling in places, but for the most part there was lots of sea life.  A wide variety of fish who all wanted to get to know you better.

Sea Life at the Aquarium

Sea Life at the Aquarium

We dropped the girls off at the mainland where they hitch hiked back to Vaitape.  Matt and I enjoyed a quiet evening on the boat (still recovering from Rachel’s death march).  Another stunning sunset.

Sunsets in Bora Bora

Sunsets in Bora Bora

PASSAGE TO TAHA’A

The next morning we got motivated early.  We left our mooring ball around 0800, headed around the island and out the pass toward Taha’a.  We were able to follow our tracks over the shallow parts, but it was still nerve racking.  On the way out, we passed by all the lovely huts over the water.  Four Seasons, Intercontinental, and Le Meridian.

Hotels along the motus in Bora

Hotels along the motus in Bora

We were joined by a kayaker about 20 minutes into our journey.  He easily fell into our wake and managed to keep up with our 6 kt speed for well over 30 minutes.  Evidently, he was training for a race from Taha’a to Bora Bora.  Last year, the fastest person has completed this kayak race in 3 hours.  Keep in mind it will take us 5 hours to get there by boat.  This guy was well into his 60’s and was all muscle.  In fact, he had to slow down several times to avoid going under our boat.

Kayacker along for the ride

Kayacker along for the ride

Matt captured the Bora Bora’s caldera perfectly in this photo.  What a surprise to see it from this perspective – so stunning!

Caldera in Bora Bora

Caldera in Bora Bora

Passage Details:

Departure:  Bora Bora

Arrival:  Taha’a

Travel Time:  5:45

Max Speed:  8.9 kt

Average Speed: 5.8ky

Total Miles: 33.1nm

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