Day 9 - Bora Bora
|Monday, February 28: Sunrise and Bora Bora. It's hard to top that.
|We went up to the observation deck to watch the approach.
|We entered the lagoon and spotted one of the many overwater resorts on Bora Bora, the most tourist-oriented of the Tahitian islands.
|The peaks of Bora Bora are very cool, don't you think?
|This little island has its own little resort of some sort. When we become billionaires some day, we're going to stay in every resort on Bora Bora.
|We sailed past the place where we'd be arriving by tender, and Debbie got another Maersk win when she spotted a container on the shore not far from the church in this photo.
|So, we tendered ashore ...
|... to take a closer look. Maersk!
|Then we walked to the main drag and took a look to the left, ...
|... and a look to the right.
|Aside from a few restaurants and shops, there wasn't a whole lot to see.
|We had read online about a company that offered parasailing, but were unable to find it or to get any answers from the information office. The Princess shore excursions manager hadn't ever seen parasailing either, so we decided to spend our morning back on the ship. Back on the tender once again, ...
|... we passed the Paul Gauguin also moored in the lagoon.
|The tender was almost completely empty heading back to the ship. We had our choice of seats and all the personal space we wanted.
|We decided to spend some time in the pool instead, and found it deserted for pretty much the first time ever. We floated in the sun and enjoyed the view.
|Back to the cabin for a shower and a view. The aqua water in the distance was where we'd be enjoying our two shore excursions.
|After burgers and fries for lunch again, we were back on the tender again.
|As we got to shore, we realized we hadn't brought our waterproof camera case, so Tom got back on the tender in a desperate race to get it before the shore excursion departed. That's his panicked face at the back of the tender.
|We finally realized that there was no way he'd make it back in time, so we decided to just enjoy the day.
|The Aqua Safari boat picked us up and raced out toward our boat and beyond.
|Here were two of our guides. The one on the left was named Guillaume. Tom should really consider changing his name to Guillaume and start using a French accent. The ladies dig that.
|We reached the point where the dark blue water suddenly turned into aqua, ...
|... and saw the host boat up ahead.
|We tied up alongside it and got a quick photo of our little mascot, Orchy, in front of the striking Bora Bora scenery.
|We all moved onto the host boat, ...
|... where our aqua helmets were lined up, ready to go.
|One of our guides used a pulley system to hoist a helmet onto each person, one at a time. We were nearly last, and Tom went first. When it was Debbie's turn, she panicked when the helmet was on and wasn't able to participate. Stupid claustrophobia!
|No problem -- the guide gave her a mask and snorkel so she could watch the activities from above.
|It turned out to be fine that we didn't have our waterproof camera case with us. One of the guides donned scuba gear and took photos of everything. Afterward, they sold us a CD of photos for 6000 francs (about $70), so throwing money at the problem solved it once again. Each person was given a bag of bread to feed the fish, and it really worked to gather the fish.
|Here's Tom enjoying the fact that he doesn't have claustrophobia.
|A ray joined the group for the entire time.
|Guests were invited to touch this anemone.
|Debbie tried to touch it too but couldn't quite reach. She did dive down several times to touch Tom. It was as romantic as it could be under the circumstances, ...
|... but clearly not as romantic as posing for this photo would have been.
|But we did get this one instead. Aren't we cute?
|In addition to the photographer and the guide on the boat, this guide was also in scuba gear to help out if needed. Each guest had a metal rattle to get the attention of a guide in an emergency.
|Even when the bread ran out, the fish were friendly.
|After a half hour, it was time to line up to start the slow process of coming back up, ...
|... one at a time.
|Even though the helmets were heavy, they felt weightless underwater, so it was easy to climb the ladder back to the boat.
|One of our ship's photographers was on the shore excursion, just for fun. Here he is with the friendly ray.
|Here is Tom with the ray, ...
... and here is Tom with THE RAY.
|Back onboard, it was time for another shower, and another washing of the swimming gear.
|At dinner, Debbie ordered a terrine of some sort, having no idea what a terrine is. Apparently, it's a big circle of nasty in the middle of a big square of nasty. Lettuce has never tasted so delicious. The theme for dinner was the Chef's Dinner with a palate-cleansing sorbet for one of the courses. It's always nice to get a little shot of dessert in the middle of dinner.
|After dark, it was time for stargazing. The observation deck's lights had been turned off, replaced by these rope lights illuminating the stairs to the deck.
|On the observation deck, Douglas, the resident French Polynesia expert, told us all about the southern hemisphere sky. He used a red flashlight to show us star charts, and a green laser pointer to point to stars in the sky. He showed us the Large Magellanic Cloud. Most importantly, he showed us how to find the Southern Cross and its evil twin, the False Cross.
|Deck chairs were normally stacked up by now, but this evening, they were set out for stargazing and we were happy to oblige after we had learned all we wanted to know from Douglas.
|We went back to our cabin, where we had total control over the ambient light. With very few lights on the shore and a clear night sky, the stargazing was fantastic.
|In the larger version of this photo, you can almost make out the Southern Cross in the lower left quarter and the slightly larger Diamond Cross in the upper center. They are both shaped like kites or diamonds, but the Diamond Cross is more perfectly shaped, and the Southern Cross has a lighter star close to the top one of the four bright ones.
|Here's the Southern Cross ...
... and here's the Diamond Cross, both visible only in the southern hemisphere.
Copyright © Deborah Schilling/Thomas Bundy