Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Inside the Lagoon

FIRST – NEW PHOTOS labeled Bora Bora 1

Yesterday, we took a "walkabout" on Bora Bora. We went the opposite way from town (the way we had previously walked). We went past the Bora Bora Yacht Club and stopped in to check it out. It is a well-known spot amongst cruising sailboats and quite nice. We ran into some friends and then continued to hike. We went along Fannui Bay which is a large protected bay surrounded by pretty hills. On the way back, a woman on a bicycle stopped us and suggested we hike up to see the cannons (this was done in Tahitian, French, English and charades). She sort of described the turn-off to get to these World War II US cannons. As we got to this point, there was a man clearing some brush and Michael asked him about the cannons (again in Tahitian/French/English/charades) he told us where to head. So we did! It was quite a hike up a hill, around a few bends and then into the mud. And it was muddy. Ankle deep in places. We never did see the cannons – it was getting late, the bugs were coming out, the mud was getting thicker and we needed a beer! So we retraced our steps (now with very muddy shoes) and made our way back down the hill and back to Mai Kai Yacht Club. There we had a few happy hour beers. Mai Kai is a very nice place with extremely friendly people and a very nice restaurant. They had live local music that night.

This morning we left our mooring ball behind at the Mai Kai Yacht Club to explore the other side of Bora Bora. This meant an interesting motor in a narrow channel close to the main island. Bora Bora is a true atoll with motus and reef surrounding an inner lagoon. We are now anchored behind one of the motus in 10 feet of gin clear water over a nice sandy bottom. There are a few bommies around – but they are easy to see and avoid. The main island which has a few high points is very beautiful – especially from this vantage point with the turquoise water between us and the main island.

The wind is still blowing from the east 18 to 20 knots and though we are well protected from the swell and chop by the motu, it is still howling. We won't be able to get too far in the dinghy thanks to the wind (there is a place to swim with manta rays – but it is quite a dinghy ride away). We will be able to explore the coral heads near the boat and if we get ambitious enough, we'll launch the dinghy and head to the white sand beach of the motu. This morning it looked like a wedding on this beach with drummers helping provide the background music. With the swaying coconut palms, white beaches, turquoise water... it is very beautiful here – even with the howling wind.

Now the history lesson:
Bora Bora's interesting name goes back quite a long way. Before the arrival of the Europeans (and the missionaries) it was called Vavau and also, Mai Te Pora. The first means, "risen from darkness" and the other "created by the gods." Ancient legends claim this was one of the first islands to rise from the water, Over time, "Pora" or "Popora" became "Pora Pora" and then ultimately "Bora Bora."

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