A bit of paradise…or maybe not

The phrase “Bora Bora” conjures daydreams of bewitching amour, a setting where passion and flirtation are heightened by the sticky Pacific heat and tranquil emerald lagoons. Or images of an unfiltered night sky bursting with southern-hemisphere constellations.

Bora, Bora, Tahiti

Bora, Bora, Tahiti

The image that sticks most vividly in my mind is our panoramic view of bungalows, beaches and an endless stretch of turquoise water during our approach to the island.  Like this. Nice, right?

We sailed into Bora Bora following an overnight in Taha. The island exudes romance at every turn and is obviously designed for starry-eyed pairs. One can visit the reef-fringed lagoons to snorkel or scuba with stingrays, sharks and colorful Nemo-type clown fish. Or walk hand-in-hand along the soft carpet of white sand collecting sea shells and  inhaling the fragrance of frangipanis and salt-scented island air. Gee – a perfect atmosphere for honey-mooners!

Did I like Bora Bora?

Brace yourself…I was a little bit disappointed with Bora Bora. The lagoon surrounding the famous atoll is indeed beautiful, a deep sapphire, unlike any water that I’ve ever seen. However, the island itself, the locals, the bloody tourists, the cruise ships, and all of the unneeded fanfare was too much for my previous built up image of the perfect, glorious paradise of my dreams.

During the day when cruise ships unloaded for brief interludes the stunning beaches are crowded with the “cap-matching tourist crowds” . And I mean BIG groups of people…all wearing the same red (occasionally blue) sun hats and quite often following a tour-group leader who was carrying a sign with the company’s emblem.

We anchored off of the bay and stayed two nights. Afternoon hikes offered insight into the countryside of the island where roads are paved and electrical lines criss-cross the fields of flowers and lush jungle. The stores are overpriced so we planned to wait until our return to Pape’ete to once again stock up on provisions. And since everyone – expats and locals alike – worked in the tourism industry, we didn’t feel that we had any true authentic cultural experiences.

Bora Bora

A trip to the “untouristy” side of Bora Bora

The QQ crew did make a visit to the islands evening hot spot, Bloody Mary’s. The sand-floored iconic hangout is often visited by celebrities and the rich and famous, and their photos frame the bamboo walls.  Many beers, rum punches and indeed, bloody marys, later, we were best friends with everyone in the bar and dad was in the midst of signing up some hopeful crew members for the next leg of the trip. I rowed everyone back to the anchored catamaran later that evening and we set sail the following morning.

Queequeg’s next leg

Our next leg took us back to Pape’ete to stock up on supplies. Then we will sail down to Tubuai to visit with my dad’s friend, Don Travers and his beautiful wife, Area. My father met Don many decades ago during his first trip around the world. Don met and fell in love with Area and returned to Tubuai where they’ve since lived. We’re looking forward to spending a wonderful week in their delightful company. Dad presumes that it will take QQ approximately two nights/ three days to travel the 340 nautical miles to the southern island.

Another adventure awaits!