Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Honeymoon In French Polynesia: Bora Bora, Tahiti

Day 10 - Bora Bora

We woke up around 8:00. I got ready for diving and left for the dock at 8:45. At 9:00, I was picked up in a 10' narrow motor boat and we were off. There were two divemasters, one French and one Japanese, and five divers, all American. We traveled outside the lagoon and half way around the island. A one point, we saw 5 dolphins in front of us, but they disappeared when we stopped the boat...very cool. After about 35-40 minutes, we stopped at what is called Tupitipiti Ocean. We were told that this was mostly a cave and coral dive. We dove for 35-40 minutes through caves very close to the reef. The current was extremely strong, as we were diving right on the barrier reef that separated the ocean from the lagoon. Although we didn't see alot of fish, (I saw a turtle which I hadn't see before) the dive was very cool, as I had not dove in caves and crevices before. We then traveled back to the hotel. While I as diving, Jill was reading and sunning on the beach.

Bora Bora Safari
At around noon we went to lunch in the same place we ate yesterday. I had a vegetarian sandwich (omlete, lettuce, tomato, cucumber and cheese) which was served with fries and fruit. Jill had fish and chips. Again we enjoyed the meal.

After lunch, we came back to the room and napped through about 1-1 1/2 hours of rain. At about 3:00 we walked around the hotel grounds and found the games hut, where we played ping-pong (there was also a pool table and alot of workout equipment.) We then reserved a rental car for the following day and made dinner reservations at the Bamboo House (on the mainland) through reception. The people at reception were always very helpful.

We then thought about taking the ferry/boat over to the mainland (a free service) but decided not to, as we would be spending half the day there tomorrow. We went back to the room to gather the camera equipment and then hiked to the top of the hill on our motu for the sunset. The hotel was still in the process of constructing stairs up the hill, so some of our hike was more treacherous than the rest. Overall, it was pretty easy. The view from the top was perfect for the sunset, however after a while the mosquitoes got to us and we went further down to a large cement platform that I assume will be a look-out platform when completed. The sunset was very nice, however we didn't want to hike down in the dark, so I took some final pictures back on our porch.

We then showered and got ready for the 7:30 boat ride to the mainland for dinner. The ferry ride took ~7 minutes and got us to the hotel's "base" on the mainland at around 7:40 where we waited to be picked up by a van from the Bamboo House. (This complimentary shuttle service is also provided by the renowned Bloody Mary's.) The ride was about 5-10 minutes. As expected, the restaurant was almost entirely constructed from bamboo and was very quaint. I had a goat-cheese salad and fetucine in basil alfredo sauce. Jill had a ceasar salad and shrimp fettucine in alfredo sauce. The food was very good and was slightly cheaper than hotel meals. Afterwards, we were shuttled back and caught the 9:15 ferry to the hotel. (They have a regular schedule which is available at reception.)

Once back in our hut, we relaxed and then went to sleep. Again, we slept pretty well, but were a little warm.

Day 11 - Bora Bora

We woke at about 7:30am and then caught an 8:45 ferry to the main island of Bora Bora, where our rental car was waiting for us. We were picked up right at our ferry drop-off by a Europcar representative and taken the short ride to their small office. We rented the car for 4 hours. By 9:05 we were on the road in our Fiat Panda with a canvas roof that opened to the sky.

We backed tracked about 1/4 mile in order to stop at Chin Lee (THE biggest and cheapest supermarket on the island.) Here, we bought some breakfast...yogurt, fruit, bread, juice and water. They have a nice selection of foods, toiletries, souvenirs, and film. Next, we pulled into a small shopping center parking lot and ate. After eating, we were off to tour the island.

Our first stop was to take a picture of the Bamboo House, where we had eaten the previous evening. We then ventured a short distance down the road to check out the infamous Bloody Mary?s. After seeing the place, we decided that we would eat dinner there that night. We proceeded to drive around the island, stopping at various scenic spots to enjoy and take pictures and video. When we had completed a trip around the island, we decided to go around again and make stops at the various shops and spots that we liked. (The entire circle around the island took less that 1 hour, including stops.) Let me say at this point, that the island is absolutely beautiful!

On the second go round, we checked out several bazaars (shops with various trinkets, pareos, black pearls, etc.) It started to rain lightly, but the rain blew over rather quickly. At about 12:00 we decided to stop at a little patisserie called "L'Patisserie" for lunch. I had a cheese, vegetable, and alfalfa sprout sandwich with chips and a coke. Jill had a piece of Sicilian style pizza and vanilla ice cream for dessert. The shop was cute and I liked my lunch, however Jill did not love hers.

After lunch, we returned the car and walked back to the ferry to catch a 1:30 boat. Upon returning to the hotel, we changed into swimsuits and relaxed by the pool for the rest of the day. We also signed up for the Jeep Safari on the mainland for the next day and had the hotel make reservations at Bloody Mary's for tonight. As usual, we took pictures of the sunset.

Our reservation was at Bloody Mary's at 7:15, so we caught a 6:45 ferry. It was very windy at this point in the evening and the main ferry dock was being tossed around like paper, so the hotel shuttled us to their marina which was protected from the wind. The boat was waiting there for us and the trip across was not that bad, considering the weather.

When we arrived at the main island, we were picked up by Jay Boy from Bloody Mary's. He is a very nice American guy who spends some time every year down in the islands, and works for the restaurant when he is there. This was the first time I found out that Atlanta won the World Series, which ended almost a week ago. He told stories on the ride over to the restaurant, making the ride fun. The restaurant was great. We all (two other couples we met were there as well) had fun and thought the food was good. We left for the boat at 9:30 and arrived back at the hotel at about 9:45.

After a long day, we turned in around 10:15. Our night's sleep was the same as the previous two nights. A little warm, but OK otherwise

Day 12 - Bora Bora

Wow, our last full day. We awoke around 7:45 and got ready for the Jeep Safari which began at 8:45. We caught the 8:30 boat over to the Main Island and were picked up in a green Land Rover jeep right on time. The jeep was fulla and I sat in the front seat with the driverand the guide, who was straddling the stick shift. Jill sat in back with 6 other people with their backs facing out of the jeep.

As we drove along the main road around the island, the guide and the driver pointed out many interesting facts about the landscape and the people of the island. For example, we learned that the very long mailboxes we saw were used for daily bread delivery. They also pointed out that Tahitian families bury their dead in grave yards in the front yard of their homes. After about fifteen minutes of driving, we turned off the main road and ventured up what I must call the bumpiest and rockiest road I have ever been on. It was fun. At the top of the mountain/hill that we climbed, we stopped between two 7 inch guns that the U.S. used during WWII, when we thought the Japanese were going to try to take the Polynesian Islands. The guns, as you may or may not know, were never used as the Japanese never did move on Tahiti. After taking pictures of the guns and the beautiful views, we headed back down.

After traveling a little further on the main road, we made several other climbs up mountains/hill around the islands. We stopped at a house that rather large and interesting grounds. There we saw nice flowers and a grave. All side roads were similar to the first...very bumpy and rocky with deep grooves. All views at the top were absolutely magnificent. One view was of our hotel. The pictures should be awesome.

One stop which we loved, was at a pineapple plantation. Here we learned about pineapple plants, papaya, vanilla, coconut, banana, lime and many other fruits and plants. We were treated to the sweetest pineapple and papaya that we ever had. We learned a trick when eating papaya...squit some lime over the fruit after you cut it. It was delicious.

The rest of the trip was thoroughly enjoyable. We highly recommend taking the Jeep Safari tour while on Bora Bora. It is a perfect change from sunning and enjoying water activities.

We returned to the hotel's main base around noon and headed back over to the hotel. We had a quick lunch in the cafe restaurant. We both had sandwiches. We then spent the rest of the day relaxing on the balcony, beach and in the water. For our last half-day, we wanted nothing more than to relax and enjoy the weather and scenery.

Our last dinner was at the restaurant at the hotel. We had meals very similar to those at the hotel restaurant three nights earlier.

After dinner, we relaxed in our room and on the balcony. Although we knew we wouldn't want to wake up and face our trip away from this paradise, we slept rather soundly that night.

Day 13 - Bora Bora/Tahiti

Well, what more needs to be said? We awoke at around 5:45AM and headed out to the ferry dock. We were shuttled over to the airport by boat and arrived at 6:30. Our flight for Papeete left at 7:25.

We arrived at Papeete at 8:10 and received our last shell lei of our trip. I am not sure that we pointed out that each time we arrived on an island or at a hotel, we received a flower lei, and each time we left, we received a shell lei. This is a local custom.

Our flight back to L.A. left at 9:15. At that time, we boarded the plane that would lead us from the most incredible trip we have ever had. Although we were looking forward to getting home and starting our new life together, this was a trip that we will never forget.

As they say in Tahitian...Mauruuru! (Thank you) We had a fabulous time and hope to return.

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