BORA BORA

Today, the Columbus dropped anchor off of Bora Bora. On the way to breakfast, we picked up a tender boat ticket, which was the letter ‘O’.

While waiting for ‘O’ to be called, we took a walk around the top deck to get some idea of the lie of the land. It was overcast and looking like rain again – the top deck was already sloshy from downpours overnight – and both Tracey and myself were, quite frankly, struggling to drum up any enthusiasm. This was partly due to a preconception that we had (mostly from Paul’s talk on Bora Bora the other day), that it was just going to be very expensive. We’d changed a load more euros for dollars and couldn’t help wondering if we’d changed enough.

When it boils down to it, all we really want is a beach to go snorkelling from; how hard, or how expensive, can that be?

I’m pleased to say that Bora Bora was nothing like how we’d feared. As we climbed off the tender boat, we spotted a man with sign that said ‘Makita Beach $5 each’ – perfect…

Makita Beach is a public beach roughly four miles away from the port by road. In our book, that makes it just a little too far to walk, although we did see one or two folks doing just that, and we also met one of the passengers who had hired a dodgy bicycle (I say ‘dodgy’ because it didn’t have any gears or brakes}, for 12 euros for the day on the understanding that it is possible to cycle around the entire circumference of the island in just a couple of hours (not a large island, then).

Along the way, our little bus stopped off at Bloody Mary’s, an iconic restaurant where everyone who is anyone has visited. A board outside lists actors and other famous celebrities who have graced the place with their presence over the years. I have to say that the list is pretty exhaustive; I would guess that if you name any famous person, then there’s a high probability that they’ve been there. A few people were getting off here, to eat where the rich and famous have dined, although I’m given to understand that it is a bit on the pricey side. Needless to say, we stayed on; next stop – Makita Beach.

Despite the fact that the bloke who drove the bus assured us loungers would be available to hire for only three dollars each, the cost turned out to be $10, so we just hired the one. We don’t really like placing the beach towels directly on to the sand, and it provided us with a good base in a nice shady spot for all our stuff. There was a small beachside cafe nearby, providing refreshments and loos, so we figured we were sorted.

We swam for a couple of hours or more, and filmed lots of brightly coloured fish with our underwater camera. We even managed to capture a couple of large rays on film, which was particularly exciting and extremely gratifying. The dark, anxious mood of earlier was gone… now we were in heaven!

Bora Bora is an unusual island in that it is protected by a reef some way out that just abouts circles it completely. The knock-on effect of that is that much of the sea off its beaches is relatively shallow, and calm, not to mention beautifully clear and warm, which also attracts large numbers of exotic fish. Because of all this, we were in the water for a long time. Eventually we came out, bought beer and chips from the beachside cafe and were very content.

When we were ready, we caught one of the many little regular buses-cum-trucks back to the pier, and the tender boat back to the ship.

In the evening, we went along to the Show Lounge to watch a guest act who had been flown in from Australia; a Tom Jones tribute act. Not really our thing, but I must confess that I didn’t entirely not enjoy it…

On a descending note; still no internet (gnashes teeth…)

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