Bora Bora: Swim with the Fishes

January 19, 2018

Face mask plus snorkel. I wasn’t being attacked by the creature from Alien. 

Rain shower over the mountain. Tikis on stilts over the water. 



‘…the South Pacific at its unforgettable best’ — James Michener


I used to snorkel a bit at David’s family’s place on Lake George, but all we ever saw were sunfish and bass babies in fish nests on the bottom alongside the boathouse.

Yesterday, I swam with stingrays, butterfly fish, flute fish, pilot fish and reef sharks with signs around their necks: ‘I’m vegetarian.’ Warm water that our Shore Excursions manager — who has been to 140 countries — says is the clearest she has ever seen. And it was. Our captain was beautifully tattooed, but, since this is a family show, I can’t show you all of them, just a Before and one After. There was more aft...











Another version of Kiss the Fish:










We anchored in shallow water to do that first fish bit, then moved along to a reef. There weren’t a whole lot of fish there, but I’d never swum among coral before. Because it is fragile and endangered, I was especially careful to stay far above the coral and not bash it with my giant Blue Boobies.



Second excursion of the day was called ‘Le Truck,’ a sort of truck cum bus cum railway car on tires. Though everyone’s heard of Bora Bora, it ain’t big, only 4 x 2-1/2 miles. The seaside road all around the island is 20 miles long. Our daily handout says it is considered by many to be the world’s most beautiful island.

The guide talked non-stop for the hour-and-a-half ’round-the-island tour. Still in French Polynesia, the language is still French, plus the local language, though our Swiss-born guide spoke excellent English. They collect plastic and metal and send it off-island for recycling. I commented to the guide how clean it is compared to countries in  Central America. She said, ‘It's coming.’ Certainly no more litter than there is along our roads. Once upon a time there was a Club Med, but it was sold off and then abandoned... we passed by the site, and all the buildings are empty. Also passed the over-the-water bungalow Marlon Brando had built when he was filming ‘Mutiny on the Bounty.’ You can rent it by the night. Inquire within.

Some other local real estate…

The hibiscus flowers (above left) are in holders outside each Truck window. They are ‘bait’ for the land crabs we lured from their holes for their moment of totally unmemorable foto fame.

One stop was at a family-run pareo cottage industry making not very good pareos, like a tie-dyed sarong. Here’s their dye palette...

And one of their creations (below). They start with plain white cotton cloth from China, but the dyes are all local and natural. More gender sociology: The most interesting part of this was the fact that the smaller woman on the left who talked us through the dying process introduced her ‘sister’ on the right... who had obviously been born a male. 

The little girl was listening to her family’s band. These pareos were printed in Tahiti on rayon imported from Indonesia. #




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