Bora Bora - Part 1 of 2


To celebrate our 30-year wedding anniversary, we traveled to Bora Bora, which had been on our "bucket list" for a couple of decades.

Bora Bora is an island that is part of Tahiti, which is part of the Society Islands, which in turn are part of French Polynesia. It is located in the South Pacific, about 1,800 miles south of the equator, and 3,600 miles east of Australia.

When our overnight flight from Los Angeles arrived in Tahiti, we transferred to a smaller turboprop plane for the flight to Bora Bora. And at the Bora Bora airport we boarded a small ferry boat for the ride to the outer island (motu) where the resort is located.

The ferry ride was an enjoyable & scenic 10-minute trip.

We were mezmerized by the many different colors of the water.

Just couldn't get enough of the beautiful shades of blue and turquoise water!

There's our resort, the Bora Bora Pearl, on the horizon, with the 'over-the-water' bungalows visible from a distance.

Approaching the resort dock.

Our first view of Mt. Otemanu, across the lagoon on the main island.

It was a short stroll from the dock to the lobby.

Behind the sign you'll find a small jewelry store and a gift shop.

Checking in was a relaxing experience, which was great, because although it was 9:00 in the morning here, we hadn't had that much sleep and were still groggy. Rather than standing at a counter, we sat on a sofa while the manager greeted us and served us fruit-flavored waters, each with a different tropical flower garnish.

Ann admired the pareos in the lobby.

We were fortunate that our room was available early, so we were escorted through the beautiful grounds to our beachfront bungalow. We stayed here for two nights, before moving to an overwater bungalow.

Ann thought it was fun that our first bungalow was #57, the year we were born.

We're almost there . . .

At our door, the manager told us about this cylinder, which serves as a quiet door knocker, as well as a visual cue for housekeeping indicating the status of the room. The manager told us to simply rotate the cylinder to the desired position to alert the maids to our preference at any given time.

The bungalow had a very Polynesian feel. The bedroom could be closed up and air-conditioned, but what you see here through the open shutters is our own spa in the outdoor (but private) bathroom/back yard.

This is a deep sofa (like a day bed) in the open-air sitting area (or covered porch).

And this is the view through the (open) shutters in this same sitting area.

This is the open-air/outdoor bathroom.

This angle reveals the shower.

The fenced back yard (and open-air bathroom) contained lounge chairs . . .

. . . and a 'tepid' Jacuzzi, no heater.

Our back yard was surrounded by lovely tropical vegetation.

After unpacking a little, we headed to the restaurant for a late breakfast.

It was still morning, and we were already parked on the beach for the day under the shade of a large tree!

This was the view from our lounge chairs, of beautiful Mount Otemanu on the main island.

The temperature was in the low 80s, which was great in the shade, but a little warm combined with the humidity, so we would wade out into the water occasionally to cool down.

This was the view looking back at the beach bungalows from the water.

We both love the color of the water with the light sand bottom, even if there aren't any coral heads or fish.

We never got tired of watching the changing light and shadows on Mount Otemanu.

We are avid readers, and we kept our Kindles within reach, but we never picked them up for long because it was so amazing just gazing at the scenery.

Even this cargo ship was a lovely turquoise color! There was a bright red one too.

The next morning we walked back to the resort dock to catch the resort ferry over to the main island, to do some grocery shopping.

Of course we had this lovely view on the way there. And once we docked on the main island, we got on a small shuttle bus for the 15-minute ride into the town of Vaitape.

The bus wasn't air-conditioned, so the driver left the door open.

Vaitape is a one-street, no-stop-light, small town. It consists mostly of shops selling clothing and pearls (Bora Bora's specialty is black pearls).

Vaitape also has a church, a gas station, and a grocery store. We bought enough bread, cheese, fruit, nuts, salami, smoked salmon, beer & wine to make 'dinner' for the next several nights.

This is the peak you see next to Mt. Otemanu in so many photos.

Back at the ferry dock, we were ready to head back to the resort and get our food in the fridge, but the captain wasn't there. So Ann prepared to shove off.

Here's Ann posing on the wind-swept palm not far from our bungalow.

We suspect someone recently got married or renewed their vows on the beach.

Who can resist a hammock?

The resort provided free use of kayaks, outrigger canoes, and paddle boards.

I eventually got the hang of staying upright on the stand-up paddle board, but it was a lot more difficult than I thought it would be!

Ann gave it a go as well, but finally accepted staying on her knees.

One afternoon it rained, well, really it poured, but only briefly, and we enjoyed watching and listening to it from the cover of our porch.

It was fun to watch the lighting on the trees change as the sun went in and out of the clouds after the brief storm.

Here's a shot of the wind-swept palm Ann was leaning on in an earlier photo.

The cruise ship 'Paul Gauguin' stayed anchored at Bora Bora for two nights.

I thought it was interesting that such a large ship would use only a bow anchor, which allowed the ship to swing 180 degrees with changes in the wind direction.

Here it is roughly 90 degrees from the previous photo.

And here it is almost 180 degrees from the first photo.

After two days, it was time to say goodbye to our beach bungalow, and move out to our overwater bungalow.

This is the start of the pier (they call it a pontoon) to the overwater bugalows.

The first 6 overwater bungalows kind of hug the shoreline, and then the pontoon branches off to the remaining bungalows. But we're at the end of a pontoon jutting out into the water, so we took this route to our bungalow.

Not many fish inhabit the shallow waters of the lagoon, but the resort has established a collection of coral, they call it a "coral nursery," to appeal to nearby fish and it has definitely brought them over from the deeper waters to the shallows of the overwater bungalows.

Another branch in the pontoon to reach our bungalow (we turn left here).

The maids and various other staff members get around on tricycles with large baskets at the back.

One last branch in the pontoon to reach our bungalow, straight ahead to #34!

We hadn't asked our escort yet which bungalow we were in, and as we kept going further and further, Ann wondered if we were headed for #30 (signifying our anniversary) which would have been two great bungalow numbers for this trip (guess she has a little bit of that 'numbers' thing from her Mom). But we needed to go a bit further to get to our bungalow at the end of the pontoon.

Our bungalow #34 was one of only a few "end of pontoon" bungalows. They're pretty private, you have to work at it to get even an oblique view of your neighbors. From this angle, you can't see #34. In the foreground on the left is #33 and on the right is #35.

Almost there . . .

We have arrived at our overwater bungalow, our home for the next four nights!

As you enter, the bathroom is on your immediate left, and it has lots of windows (for light and air) as well as water-viewing surfaces.

Cowrie shells adorn the robe hooks, in a 'form and function' way.

The tub area has small windows providing a view to the water below.

The windows on either side of the vanity are translucent for privacy, but can be opened for additional views of the water and to allow the breeze to pass through.

The sink counter also has little windows with views of the water below.

We've never needed to make a phone call while on the toilet, but it's nice to know we can. :-)

There's a wider section of counter and a chair here like a dressing table, although there is no mirror. But Ann set up a small travel mirror on the overturned ice bucket--that works. And of course, you can see there's lots of natural light streaming in from the sliding doors!

Here's the view from our bedroom looking out--that iconic view of Mt. Otemanu!

On our arrival just about every horizontal surface was adorned with flowers.

Even the bedside nightstands had viewing windows, which you could choose to cover or uncover.

This sofa/daybed served as seating in the living area, and in front of it was...

... this glass coffee table with a top that slides open to allow feeding the fish below.

Let's see . . . menus and a phone for room service . . . wine cellar . . . yet more breezy windows.

When we arrived, this employee was cleaning the steps of our ladder.

Our deck and exactly the view we wanted!

One corner of our deck had an L-shaped bench and a table for dining outdoors.

These steps lead to the lower deck, for getting into the water, or a boat.

Lovely 'Ginger' flowers that looked great for our whole stay here.

This catamaran ferry passed by very quickly (and silently) many times per day.

Ann found this turquoise stemware--adorned with 'silk' hibiscus flowers--at one of the 'Dollar' stores at home and thought they would be fun to use in our never-ending-turquoise setting.

Just can't get enough of that view.

Shortly after getting settled in our overwater bungalow, this champagne arrived from our travel agent, Joni Stone of J2 Travels