BORA BORA, March 16 – 19 – And exactly why do we ever have to leave this fabulous paradise on earth … ???
It was a 5 1/2 hours flight with a gain of 5 hours in time, and so we arrived just after we had left. Our arrival into Papeete, capital island city of Tahiti, necessitated leaving our luxurious silver ‘sky bird’ Boeing 757 and transferring to a smaller inter- island turbo prop plane chartered exclusively for us. This Air Tahiti Nui aircraft quickly sped us across the islands of the southern ocean to Bora Bora. Our first glimpse of the iconic towering rock sentinel was the glittering blues, greens and aquas of these pristine calm lagoon waters, white sandy beaches, and lots of little Motu (tiny islands). We were all excited to be coming to that place made SO famous by the stage show and movie “South Pacific” … Bali Hai was indeed Bora Bora, and we had arrived! (More recently ‘Couples Retreat’ starring Vince Vaughn was filmed here using our St. Regis Resort)
Bora Bora is the epitome of French Polynesia tranquil sybaritic island life. In fact author James Michener called it ‘the most beautiful island in the world’ … and he had seen many. Bora’s steep island rock peak – never ascended by man due to its vertical sheer cliffs and slaky soft rock – towers out of the surrounding crystal clear blue-green water lagoons. During the Second World War this tiny island was an important and essential island station for the US Military with over 5000 US military based here.
Our exclusive St. Regis Bora Bora Resort – one can only arrive here by boat – is almost entirely OVER-water, at least all of the gorgeous guest accommodations are this way. Such a wonderful way to experience this paradise … safely perched right over the water in very large spacious bungalows with large verandas and glass block in the wood floors in order to see right into the clear waters below. At night under-bungalow lighting lights up the beautiful water. Here at the resort the lifestyle is all about ‘island exquisite’ in all aspects including delicious dining. Our guests all ready to indulge. Some enjoyed the various beach sports and activities available. The spa was a noted highlight for renewing massages. Some preferred to stay put amid this blissful environment for the entire time of being here.
Lakani included two different half day excursions … one being a 4×4 Land Rover jeep excursion around and up to some of the highest points of Bora Bora. Amazingly steep ascents on rough rocky tracks, some Incredible views, even finding up in the forest on a strategic ridge two of the huge cannons that the Americans had brought here in World War II. Following our jeep safari we ended at a waterside pearl farm. Black pearls are a very important industry here. At the pearl farm, some of our guests ‘dove for pearls’ … from canoes in shallow waters they collected oysters and chose one to be opened as their prize pearl. No one was disappointed!!
We also enjoyed an excursion out on a large catamaran, Maori Hui, with our lively fun Polynesian crew and band. Directly from the resort we cruised the vast lagoon between the low Motus and the high massif. Idyllic. We came to a place of coral reefs just a few feet under the surface and many enjoyed an easy snorkel experience with myriads of brightly coloured fish all around and below us. We cruised around the island point and in shallow waters we came upon the place of habituated rays and black-tip sharks. Here we stepped into the warm waters with our guides amid some initial shrieks and howls we were in a ‘love fest’ with the rays and circled by the small sharks. Small sardines were being given as ‘peace offerings’ … we wanted to ensure that we left there with all of our fingers and toes! This was a highlight of our catamaran boat cruise. We cruised on to our small Motu where an excellent seafood luncheon was served, French wines and fruity rum punch, with some of us sitting at tables (under umbrellas) right in the water with our legs and feet cooling in the water, small fish swimming all around us.
Back at our resort, Lakani arranged a colorful & delicious private beach party starting with a sunset ‘sundowners’ cocktail hour. We all mingled in paradise … the envy of ourselves again. Appetizers of crab cakes and grilled prawns, as well as seared foie gras. Enormous fresh lobsters on the grill, as well as juicy steaks and suckling pig. Exotic sauces. Taro root, sweet potatoes, and tiny sweet bananas in honey milk as well as lemon meringue. We sat on soft-sand beach at festive banquet tables with tropical flower decorations. This was all an example of Polynesian feasting of royal style. As well, an entertaining energetic Polynesian dance show filled with powerful drumming, beautiful dancers, warrior fire dancers, and romantic Polynesian harmonies. We danced on a beach under a sky of millions of stars. We were entertained, we were enchanted, we were euphoric … we wonder why we ever have to leave?
More adventures awaiting us as we speed our way further west across the Pacific … on to the biggest ‘island’ of them all, Australia. We’re here to see two of our world’s most renowned World Heritage Sites. Our flight from Tahiti to Australia requires a refueling stop in Fiji. Here, we’ve just flown across the International Date Line that dissects the Fijian Islands. So we’ve flown from Thursday late morning and within 5 hours flight we are in Friday early afternoon. From Fiji we fly on to Cairns (northeast Australia) where gaining more time westerly we arrive in the late afternoon Friday. Our crew has served us well with a delicious luncheon service of fresh mixed greens salad, a grilled Papio fish or roast duck entree and an irresistible Black Forest chocolate gateau dessert. Later, an afternoon meal service of chilled lobster salad and assorted international cheeses. Everyone will be enjoying ‘dine by choice’ in Cairns tonight where they will be checking into Suites at the waterfront Shangri-La hotel.
Click here to follow us to our next tropical destination, The Great Barrier Reef, Australia.