A Travellerspoint blog

French Polynesia

Diving in Bora Bora

16 May 2014

sunny

Curt and I couldn’t leave Bora Bora without trying a dive so we spent this morning with Top Dive for an ocean and lagoon dive. The ocean dive site was called Tapu and we nearly went down right on top of a lemon shark and we spent most of the time looking at this pretty large but friendly guy. We also saw an eel and some black tipped reef sharks that were uninterested in us.
shark in the deep blue

shark in the deep blue

lemon shark 2

lemon shark 2

lemon shark 1

lemon shark 1


The lagoon site was Toopua and it is known for the eagle rays which we saw several of but none close enough to get a picture. A videographer on the trip got a video of a stone fish eating another fish and there was a surprisingly mobile flounder. The video guy also had bread with him which brings out a LOT of fish for feeding time.
a little splash of color

a little splash of color

curious fish

curious fish

feeding time

feeding time

poop or worm

poop or worm

goodbye to another day in paradise

goodbye to another day in paradise

Posted by ErinDriver 11:15 Archived in French Polynesia Comments (0)

Just another day in Bora Bora

15 May 2014

Another agonizing day of relaxation that I don’t know how I suffered through! I barely tore myself away from my book long enough to take a few dips in the water and spend some time in the pool before dinner. We pretty much custom ordered our dinners with Curt requesting steak and me having tuna with blue cheese dressing and pasta. Dessert was pineapple flambé with ice cream (coconut for me!).
reading at the pool

reading at the pool

sundowners

sundowners

the neighbor

the neighbor

our own little pool

our own little pool

my cabana boy

my cabana boy

having a swim with doby

having a swim with doby

Curt out swimming

Curt out swimming

another day in paradise

another day in paradise

Posted by ErinDriver 11:11 Archived in French Polynesia Comments (0)

Bloody Mary's

14 May 2014

semi-overcast

breakfast at Eden Beach

breakfast at Eden Beach


Breakfast at our hotel is beautiful overlooking the ocean and before I know it we are done and Curt is back to napping. I spend most of the day with a Dirk Pitt novel outside of one brief kayaking stint. The movie Couples Retreat was filmed just down the water from us so we paddled down to see if we could recognize anything.
our little slice of paradise

our little slice of paradise

preparing to Kayak

preparing to Kayak

one side of the island

one side of the island

the other side of the island

the other side of the island


trying to paddle together

trying to paddle together


After the exertion Vlad whipped us up some tasty pasta with shrimp to sustain us through the rest of our day spent relaxing.
home sweet home

home sweet home

good morning Bora Bora

good morning Bora Bora

Doby the watchdog

Doby the watchdog


Around 1700 Vlad took us in the boat next door to the intercontinental to meet Lindsay and Chris for happy hour. We enjoyed the sunset and a few drinks before catching the ferry to the other intercontinental hotel. Here we met the shuttle to Bloody Mary’s restaurant. The restaurant is frequented by the rich and famous and they even advertise all the names of those that have enjoyed a meal there. The food is the catch of the day by local fisherman and it is displayed in front of you when you walk in. Before you even sit down you chose your food from an area of lobster, fish and appetizers. The food and company is good and we start our trek back to Eden Beach fat and happy.
happy  hour

happy hour

sunset at the intercontinental

sunset at the intercontinental

Bloody Marys

Bloody Marys

dinner selection

dinner selection

wall of fame

wall of fame

Posted by ErinDriver 18:09 Archived in French Polynesia Comments (0)

Last day on the catamaran :(

13 May 2014

semi-overcast

Our last day on the catamaran dawns very rainy and ominous. Fabrees tells us the swells are going to be up to 15 feet in the open ocean. Right after breakfast the rain pours down but he gives us the option to snorkel at one last coral garden. Curt and I take him up on it but aren’t in the water long thanks to the quick current and sediment kicked up by the storm. We can’t see much so don’t waste time getting back to the boat. The weather clears as we sail on to our hotels.
titanic photo

titanic photo

bye bye catamaran

bye bye catamaran

bye bye Candace and Fab

bye bye Candace and Fab


We sadly leave the catamaran and our crew begins their sail back to Raitea as Lindsay and Chris settle in to their over the water bungalow at the Intercontinental. Curt and I are picked up by our neighboring resort, Eden Beach. We are quickly taken to our bungalow by the water by Vlad, our host from Czech Republic and his dog Doby.
Lindsay and Chris hotel

Lindsay and Chris hotel

pool at hotel

pool at hotel

our view

our view

our bungalow

our bungalow

our bed

our bed

our beach

our beach

relaxing with a book

relaxing with a book

hammock at hotel

hammock at hotel

Eden beach 2

Eden beach 2

Eden Beach 1

Eden Beach 1


We spend the day lounging by the water and reading. Eventually we set out to see the ocean side of the island and do some shell hunting at sunset.
Curt shell hunting

Curt shell hunting

beach buddy

beach buddy

beach at end of day

beach at end of day

ocean side at sunset

ocean side at sunset

end of day at Eden Beach

end of day at Eden Beach

end of day in Bora Bora

end of day in Bora Bora


Dinner is to ourselves at the resort with a complimentary bottle of wine. Curt has steak and I have pasta with shrimp topped off by a homemade tiramisu. I could get used to this lifestyle!

Posted by ErinDriver 18:02 Archived in French Polynesia Comments (0)

Lagoonarium in Bora Bora

12 May 2014

sunny

Lindsay and I are trying to find a way to distract ourselves from the fact that it is our last full day on the boat so the day is packed full of activities. We get a tip that the motu we spent the night anchored near is a private island owned by the Hilton. If we go before breakfast we could have the island all to ourselves so that is exactly what we do :) We can easily walk around the entire thing taking in the surrounds and looking for any shells without a tiny crab in residence.
sneaking on to Hiltons island

sneaking on to Hiltons island

seclusion

seclusion

private island

private island

our own private island

our own private island

dock on the private island

dock on the private island


We swim back to the boat for lunch and head to town for just about the only shopping we do other than the pearl farm. We don't have much time and most of the shops aren't even open yet when we get there but somehow I managed to spend a few XPF :)
world arc boats

world arc boats

shopping in Bora Bora

shopping in Bora Bora

rentals in bora bora

rentals in bora bora

my pareo

my pareo

map in town

map in town

church in Bora Bora

church in Bora Bora

Bora Bora

Bora Bora


Our next unbelievable experience is to dinghy to the lagoonarium which is on a private island. It has sharks, turtles, rays, etc fenced in and we can swim with the sharks. Apparently there are not many sea turtles in French Polynesia because people still eat them! I don't even know how many hours we spend working up our appetite swimming with lemon and reef tip sharks.
lagoonarium sign

lagoonarium sign

another ray

another ray

black tipped reef sharks

black tipped reef sharks

chasing sharks

chasing sharks

he is asking for it

he is asking for it

lemon shark and black tipped reef shark

lemon shark and black tipped reef shark

lemon shark

lemon shark

protected turtle

protected turtle

ray 2

ray 2

shark in the shallows

shark in the shallows

sharks lined up to go somewhere

sharks lined up to go somewhere

these fish are doomed

these fish are doomed


Lunch is pasta salad with salmon and then off to snorkel again. We have bread from lunch to attract the fish and they seem used to this and are very curious about us. Down at the bottom someone has arranged a sign in coral and it is actually quite hard to get your picture taken with it
they think they can eat the camera

they think they can eat the camera

they want to know if i have food

they want to know if i have food

sign in corals

sign in corals

swimming with the fish

swimming with the fish

polynesian boat

polynesian boat

feeding fish again

feeding fish again

Chris and the camera

Chris and the camera


Later we find out that the restaurant we were trying to go to Bloody Mary's is full so Fabreese tries to improve our bad moods with the possibility of snorkeling with manta rays. We head to a coral wall where they are known to come for there daily cleaning. As we drift along we see the ONLY wild turtle of the entire trip and it doesn't spend much time hanging around before swimming off. In the end we do see about 4-5 of the giant mantas and they are just gorgeous. We quickly forget our dinner plans for the moment.
the only turtle I saw in the wild

the only turtle I saw in the wild

two mantas

two mantas

manta ray

manta ray


Eventually we settle on The Lucky for dinner which serves pizza and is just what we needed that day. Well, for most of us anyway. Lindsay has a really hard time getting a drink and they never do get there dessert. Getting back to the boat is another adventure as Curt falls in to the water between the dinghy and catamaran. He gives us a good laugh after we find out he is okay and his glasses are retrieved from the ocean floor.
beautiful hotel rooms

beautiful hotel rooms

Bora Bora from the boat

Bora Bora from the boat

Bora Bora landscape

Bora Bora landscape

bungalows

bungalows

the galley

the galley

the Lucky house

the Lucky house

pizza

pizza

sunset 2

sunset 2

sunset 1

sunset 1

Posted by ErinDriver 12:59 Archived in French Polynesia Comments (0)

Coral Gardens and sail to Bora Bora

11 May 2014

sunny

morning rainbow

morning rainbow


Before departing Tahaa, Fabreese takes us to another pearl farm where the owner gives us a lesson on how pearls are made and we have a chance to make purchases from the showroom that is part of this lady's house. Pearls in Japan have a center of plastic but those made in Tahiti have a center made from pieces of shells in Mississippi. This particular location has a Japanese man who does the surgery on the oyster to insert the shell from Mississippi. Pearls are graded based on roundness, color and defects and of course we are mostly shown Grade A for purchase.
pearl farm

pearl farm


oyster demonstration

oyster demonstration

pearl cut in half

pearl cut in half

shopping for pearls

shopping for pearls


Having significantly depleted our budget we move to a coral garden in Tahaa that is free! This is a drift through the corals but first you must walk down the beach to the start. The water is very shallow so it can be a challenge to find a way out but also means great photos. Fabreese attracts some fish with bread and we are off. There are TONS of colorful fish and they don't seem that afraid of us so it makes taking pictures every easier. After two trips down the gardens we are ready to head to the boat for lunch of tuna lasagna.
start of coral garden

start of coral garden

male coconut

male coconut

attracting fish with bread

attracting fish with bread

feeding the fish bread

feeding the fish bread

water doesn't come clearer

water doesn't come clearer

wall of coral

wall of coral

school of fish

school of fish

fish leading the way

fish leading the way

Curt snorkeling

Curt snorkeling

Curt and I snorkeling

Curt and I snorkeling

coral gardens 3

coral gardens 3

coral gardens 2

coral gardens 2

coral garden 4

coral garden 4

coral garden 1

coral garden 1

end of coral garden

end of coral garden

trying to crack a coconut

trying to crack a coconut

Curt trying to crack a coconut

Curt trying to crack a coconut

Tahaa landscape

Tahaa landscape


Next up is our last long sail of four hours to reach Bora Bora. We stop again for ice and then anchor for dinner of tuna steak, mashed potatoes with carrots and warm papaya for dinner. Lindsay and I continue our losing battle with the Tahiti drink.
sailing to Bora Bora

sailing to Bora Bora

landscape with rower

landscape with rower

hitching a ride

hitching a ride

Candace shadow in sail

Candace shadow in sail

Bora Bora boat 3

Bora Bora boat 3

Candace shadow 1

Candace shadow 1

Bora Bora architecture

Bora Bora architecture

boats in Bora Bora

boats in Bora Bora

Boats in Bora Bora 2

Boats in Bora Bora 2

sunset from the boat

sunset from the boat

sunset in Bora Bora

sunset in Bora Bora

tahiti drink

tahiti drink

Posted by ErinDriver 12:48 Archived in French Polynesia Comments (0)

Kayaking down the River in Raiatea

10 May 2014

overcast

Pretty good little Saturday of snorkeling, kayaking and sailing.
prepping for the day

prepping for the day


Breakfast is followed by the drift snorkel waking up the clown fish and checking out the conch shells.
shy clown fish

shy clown fish

beautiful day

beautiful day

another shell

another shell


When we finally tire we have lunch of crab and potato pancakes and crab salad followed by a delicious apple dessert.
dessert

dessert


The boat is moved to the River Faaroa which is the only one of its kind in French Polynesia and is our only chance to kayak. We have to go in groups because there are only two single person kayaks on the boat. Curt and I go down the river and then Lindsay and Chris race back.
clouds over the river

clouds over the river

Curt getting ready to kayak

Curt getting ready to kayak

floating down the river

floating down the river

turning down the river

turning down the river

race to the finish

race to the finish

river view 2

river view 2

river view

river view


After we were exhausted the boat is moved up to Utoroa where we stop in the mostly closed up town for the store and ATM. Fully supplied the boat is now on its way to the island of Tahaa where we stop for the night with a bunch of other boats.
stop to get ice

stop to get ice

motu

motu

if you have the big bucks

if you have the big bucks

Does it get better than this

Does it get better than this

French Polynesian view

French Polynesian view

boating get together

boating get together


Dinner onboard is chicken curry with rice and tapioca dessert.
chicken curry

chicken curry

Chris got my camera

Chris got my camera


There was allegedly a chance to hit a party and go dancing on the shore tonight so after listening to some music onboard we are primed for the party. However when we find a spot in the dinghy parking lot we soon find out that some awards ceremony is in progress after a race around Tahaa. We wait it out for about an hour but when the talking is still going on we have lost our steam and head back to the boat. Curt gives us all a giggle when he falls in to another dinghy trying to get in ours.

Posted by ErinDriver 12:02 Archived in French Polynesia Comments (0)

Sailing and Snorkeling in French Polynesia

9 May 2014

sunny

good morning Huahine

good morning Huahine


We are now used to our breakfast of bread, jelly and fruit so we make short work of that and get our snorkel gear out. Fabreese takes us out in the dinghy and we spend 1.5 hours drifting back towards the boat while snorkeling. The highlight of today is an octopus that doesn't seem scared of us and slowly comes out of his hole in the rocks to check us out. We also see more sting rays, eagle rays and lots of conch shells. For a second I wished I was back in Cuba and could take them home.
sea cucumber

sea cucumber

sea worm

sea worm

octopus in the rocks

octopus in the rocks

more anemone with clownfish

more anemone with clownfish

lots of anemone

lots of anemone

just so photogenic

just so photogenic

corals

corals

anemone with clown fish

anemone with clown fish

anemone 1

anemone 1


After our snorkel we moved the boat and had lunch of quiche with Curt's fish, salad like coleslaw with corn, peanuts and curry. This is the first day we have been able to put the sails up so it was a big production.
raising the sails

raising the sails

pretending

pretending

view from the boat

view from the boat

nap spot

nap spot

love in French Polynesia

love in French Polynesia

just another day on the boat

just another day on the boat

boat controls

boat controls

anchor spot for the night

anchor spot for the night


For the evening we moored off a motu and snorkeled again as the sun was going down. There were a couple of puffer fish that were swimming around the boat and Lindsay and Chris actually got to feed it from the boat. Dinner on the boat was curry shrimp pasta and banana cake with taro ice cream.

Posted by ErinDriver 15:48 Archived in French Polynesia Comments (0)

Huahine Tour

8 May 2014

sunny

The promise of seeing the sacred blue-eyed eels are what prompted us to sign up for the 4x4 tour of Huahine. The eels turned out to be a bit of a let down but it was fun to see the entire island of Huahine.
Good morning Huahine

Good morning Huahine

Huahine 2

Huahine 2

Huahine yacht club

Huahine yacht club

local ride

local ride

locals fishing

locals fishing

downtown Huahine

downtown Huahine

Huahine from the boat

Huahine from the boat


view from the hatch

view from the hatch

shell jewelry

shell jewelry

shadow in the water

shadow in the water


We did Poe Island Tours which is guided by Poe whose family appears to own most of the island. She points out her family or their residence for most of the drive. We make lots of stops along the way, first of which is for some archeological ruins (morea). The rocks in the photo are actually the back rests of seats for the chiefs. The higher the platform for the area the more important the ruler.
archeological remains

archeological remains

one of the tour guides

one of the tour guides

Poe island tours

Poe island tours


Next was a visit to a vanilla plantation where Poe gave us a talk about the vanilla plants and then we had time to buy samples in the store. She has a snack of fruit and coffee before we move on.
cemetary

cemetary

flower at plantation

flower at plantation

vanilla plantation

vanilla plantation

instruction on vanilla

instruction on vanilla

vanilla shop

vanilla shop


Next stop is a pearl farm. We have to take a boat out to it but there they have pearls to but and examples of how they make the pearls.
the group at the pearl farm

the group at the pearl farm

pearl farm store

pearl farm store

oysters at pearl farm

oysters at pearl farm

local boat

local boat

fish at pearl farm

fish at pearl farm


Finally we get to the eels. We were told that we could sit in the water and they would swim around us while we fed them. In the end the eels weren't hungry and they were mostly hiding. Some local girls were trying to rouse them and one of the girls was picking them up when she could.
blue eyed eels

blue eyed eels

girls looking for eel

girls looking for eel

sacred eel

sacred eel


By this time we were starving and ready to head back to the boat but we had to stop for a few more photography stops as well as a drive around the rest of the island in order to drop another couple off at their hotel.
the crew on Huahine

the crew on Huahine

Huahine 8

Huahine 8

Huahine 7

Huahine 7

Huahine 6

Huahine 6

Huahine 5

Huahine 5

Huahine 4

Huahine 4

Huahine 3

Huahine 3

getting ready for dance show

getting ready for dance show

flowers in Huahine

flowers in Huahine


bridge on Huahine

bridge on Huahine


Finally we make it back to the boat and rinse the dirt off from the 4x4 ride. We have a raw fish dish with red tuna with curry, tomatoes, garlic, onion and goat cheese and Curts fish (bonnet) for lunch.
raw fish dish

raw fish dish

Curts fish for dinner

Curts fish for dinner


The Bradens navigativing

The Bradens navigativing

the Driver relaxing

the Driver relaxing

cannonball

cannonball

aquatic dancing

aquatic dancing

flotation device

flotation device

giving back to the water

giving back to the water

prep for snorkeling

prep for snorkeling

stone fish

stone fish

yacht parking

yacht parking


The boat is moved about 1 hour away and we snorkel again before curry, ginger, salft and pepper sautéed coconut for appetizer. Dinner was off the boat at Mahana restaurant where Curt had surf and turf and I had shrimp risotto with crème brule and a Mai Tai.

Posted by ErinDriver 09:17 Archived in French Polynesia Comments (0)

Meeting our catamaran

7 May 2014

overcast 83 °F

Another rainy day but we are hoping that with our flight to Raiatea we will leave the bad weather behind. Not so as our tiny airplane has to make three passes over the airport before we get to land. So our third island of the trip also has nothing but rain for us.
cloudy marina

cloudy marina

Curt and I getting on the boat

Curt and I getting on the boat

Chris and Lindsay getting on boat

Chris and Lindsay getting on boat

island life

island life

home gloomy home

home gloomy home

put the lime in the coconut

put the lime in the coconut


our cabin

our cabin


A short drive away is the marina where we meet our catamaran from Tahiti Yacht Charter. We pick up our snorkel gear and are greeted by our crew with a coconut drink. Our stewardess is Candace from Paris and the skipper is Fabreese from French Guiana.
finding shells

finding shells

conch shell

conch shell


Lindsay on the yacht

Lindsay on the yacht


poisson cru

poisson cru


Shortly after departure we stop for snorkeling, shell searching and lunch. We are noticing a theme with the Poisson cru but we must say Candace makes it taste a bit better.
Curt fishing

Curt fishing

the new skipper

the new skipper

Do you know where we are

Do you know where we are

catching a ride

catching a ride

rower

rower


We have a big crossing to Huahine that is about 3-4 hours of sailing and forces me to take a Dramamine. Curt catches a fish about five minutes after we get going. Nausea is forgotten when we get close to the island and a few dolphins come up to swim along with the boat. But the wildlife doesn't end there, using the fish head from earlier Fabreese takes us out to feed some black tipped reef sharks again. We snorkel back to our new home for dinner of swordfish with vanilla sauce and apple crisp. Ah, life is good!
coral

coral

feeding sharks again too

feeding sharks again too

feeding sharks again

feeding sharks again

our home

our home

fish dinner

fish dinner

pineapple dessert

pineapple dessert

Tahitian wine

Tahitian wine

Posted by ErinDriver 08:30 Archived in French Polynesia Comments (0)

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