I didn't think I would like Bora Bora as much as I did. I thought it was going to be overrun with goofy tourists and charter boats, the towns would be a "plastic" Polynesia and just kind of hokey. This was not the case. The towns are very low key, and while there were many tourists and tour groups zooming around the lagoon, this worked to our advantage because we followed them to the best snorkeling and dive spots. The fish are so accustomed to people that they will eat out of your hands and the sharks, while they look ferocious, are really quite tame.
Another reason why I had such a great time in Bora Bora is that many of the boats we crossed the Pacific with had the same departure date as us, so we had another rendezvous with lots of friends. For me it makes all the difference in the world to have other people to hang out with and go on adventures with.
From mid-June to mid-July is the Polynesian festival of Heiva. It is the big party month for the locals, and every other night for weeks each village sends a troop of dancers and singers to the main town to compete. Traveling around the islands I saw many groups practicing for their competitions, but we saw the real deal in Vaiape. Huge groups of well-choreographed dancers with elaborate and sexy costumes really gave it their all for their performances. These groups practice for 6 months out of the year. I wonder what they do the other 6 months... On a particularly fun night Adam (friend on Sundowner who I met in Tahiti) and I went into a show and ended up drinking way too much with the locals after the show. That was the real Bora Bora.
I can't decide what my favorite part of French Polyneisa is, and to be fair, any assessment would need to be divided into 3 sections: the Marquesas, Tuamotus, and Society Islands. However we are out at sea and it is very rolly and my brain is not working as well as it should, so I will give a laundry list:
The amazing water, the amazing things living in the water, the friendly locals, the delicious fruit (best pamplemousse in the world), the vibrant culture, the music, the laid back atmosphere (is idyllic-ness a word?) of the islands.... I could go on and on. Don't get me started about the surf (although I did not surf as much as I would have liked).
Alas, yesterday morning we left my beloved French Polynesia. We are now headed for the "Dangerous Middle", where the winds and seas tend to get a bit nastier. We are about 170 miles into a 680 mile passage from Bora Bora to Suwarrow Atoll, which is part of the Cook Islands, out in the middle of nowhere. Its rolly and a bit squally, with gusts of wind up to 30 knots accompanied by rain. Yuck. I forgot how much I really don't like passages, but it is a small price to pay for the places I have gone and the places I am going. More on this next time.
At 7/15/2011 9:43 PM (utc) Rutea's position was 15°38.85'S 154°50.66'W
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