Bora Bora is one of the most famous islands in French Polynesia (next to Tahiti). It is a small island covering 38 kilometers and has two towering mountains. The tallest Mt Otemanu is 727 meters tall. This island was formed 4 million years ago after many volcanic eruptions. The eruptions continued over hundreds of thousands of years. Since then, the island like all islands, in French Polynesia has been and continues to sink. Its lagoon is encircled by a wide coral reef that encloses several big motus with white sandy beaches.
The island’s initial name was “Pora” and then that changed to “Pora Pora” which means first born – the first island drawn out of the ocean after the creation of Havai’l (Raitea).
A little History about this island:
- Originally called “Pora” then “Pora Pora” and finally “Bora Bora”
- 1769 Captain Cook discovers the island
- 1888 The island attaches itself to France
- 1942 U.S builds large navy base and airport
- 10,550 Inhabitants which entirely cater to tourism
- 7 million years old and is considered nearly an “atoll”
- 1946 Americans left the island
New “Rules” Impacting Cruisers
In May 2019, Bora decided to mandate that all visiting yachts must use moorings and be charged for the service. Prior to May, yachts were able to anchor in approved anchor zones at no charge like all the other islands in French Polynesia. This new “rule” has been wildly unpopular for a number of reasons.
- The main purpose of forcing cruisers to use these moorings was because the locals were not using lights at night and were running into anchored boats. Not sure how this is the fault of the visiting yachts….
- The fees are expensive.
- The boats are not insured should the mooring fail and no plan has been put into effect to check and maintain the moorings.
- Eleven boats have had moorings fail since this rule has been in place June 1, 2019.
We prefer to anchor because we know our ground tackle and we trust our skills and expertise in anchoring. We also don’t have to rely on anyone or anything else to keep our boat, our home safe.
Cruisers are certain this is just another revenue generating tactic that will be implemented in other French Polynesian islands. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the upcoming months.
Bora Bora is known as “the pearl of French Polynesia” but to be honest, it is very touristy and crowded. It is beautiful, has crystal clear turquoise waters, green mountains, and friendly locals. But Raitea, Mo’orea, and Taha’a have the same things with far less tourists, free anchorages, and a more intimate feeling.
Because Bora Bora is so well known it can get crowded with tourist. But knowing the hidden gems and out of the way activities makes this a magical place.