Bora Bora, Society Islands, French Polynesia

French Polynesia is called French Polynesia because that’s where it is and it was colonized by the French. It is one of the Society Islands because there are a bunch of islands that seemed to form their own society. We  spent the day playing in and on the water rather than listening to culturally enriching lectures so I don’t know anything about the name Bora Bora.

Bora Bora is another volcano caldera surrounded by coral reefs. It was the location for the movie version of South Pacific and the colors look like the technicolor movies of our youth. Matira Beach and the Bloody Mary Bar, featured in the movie, were as advertised. I’m not sure that bar was in the movie but the movie people were certainly in the bar. Snorkeling from the beach was delightful but too shallow, and maybe too warm, for much in the way of sea creatures; some little black fish and an occasional string ray.

Mount Otemanu, about 2,400 feet above sea-level, was very photogenic and was appealing to some hang gliders or base jumpers, who never seemed to come down. In case you missed it, there is one a little higher than  the top of my hat just to the right of the mountain.


The highlight of the day, and maybe the trip so far, for Doré was a two-hour ride around the lagoon on a glass-bottom boat. It took us to the coral reef that defines the lagoon. The fish like to hang out in and around the coral, either to hide from bigger fish or to eat the littler fish. While there were always fish in view as we drifted along the reef, they really went insane when our skipper/narrator/singer/ukulele player joined them in the water with handfuls of raw tuna. I have pictures but I only managed to get the one uploaded.

In the Pacific, when a volcano gets tall enough, it becomes an island. Corals begin building their structure along the shore. Then as the volcano ages and becomes extinct, it begins to sink. If it sinks slowly enough, the coral keep building on their  foundation to keep getting enough light and lagoons form between the volcano/island and the coral and you have a barrier reef. Eventually, the island  can sink back under the water leaving the coral as a ring reef.

This is the tropics, not too far south of the Equator. While the temperature is not that high (mid-80s, which is close to 100 degrees higher than Minneapolis a few days ago), the sun is not the sun that Minnesotans and Brits are accustomed to any time of year. Hence, there were a lot of red faces (and I assume other body parts) at dinner last night.

Tomorrow, we arrive at Rarotonga, Cook Islands, but the weather may not permit us to land. Luck has been with us so far.

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