Since being in the French Polynesian islands, we've been trying to "swim" with manta rays. They have been in a few o f our anchorages and we've managed to watch them as they swam by the boat. Finally, the last two mornings, we were in the water with them and it was a incredible experience. On Monday,we got up early to beat the dive boats and snorkelers to a sight that is supposed to have manta rays regularly. We beat everyone else to the sight and got in the water and swam and swam in search of the huge plankton feeders. Finally, Michael spotted one pretty deep in the murky water. We were able to follow it and got a pretty close look at it as it swam underneath us. This large (probably at least five foot wingspan) didn't have a tail but had wonderful white markings on its dark wings. Way cool. This morning, we decided to try the manta spot again, this time going a little farther. We were rewarded with sightings of many very, very large mantas. At one point there were four swimming together – but they were often in pairs. We followed them as they swam so gracefully. All of these had tails and again the wonderful, and different, markings across their wing tops. Some were very large and a few were quite small by comparison. We stayed in the water well over an hour to savor this wonderful experience. They are magnificent creatures and we were honored to be able to see them so close.
Of course, our underwater camera (Panasonic Lumix) got flooded so we will be without water creature pictures for awhile. Panasonic isn't being very cooperative about customer service for us folks out in the middle of nowhere – so by the time we get it back to them our warranty will have expired. That's too bad because we are now getting to areas where the underwater life is supposed to be incredible. No more Panasonic cameras for us.
To catch up – on Sunday, we have come back around Bora Bora and are anchored in an area that is called the Lagoonarium – a lagoon that has such clear water its like an aquarium. It is very pretty over here and we are simply waiting for a good weather window to start our trek towards the Cook Islands. We ave a great view of Bora Bora's mountain, though it is regularly under a cloud.
On Saturday night we splurged and went out to a nice dinner. This is something our budget rarely allows us to do...but we decided that it would be the last time for quite awhile to eat out at all (even to cheap places). We went to Maikai Yacht Club and had an incredible feast. Ann and Bob from Charisma joined us and we enjoyed cocktails aboard their boat first. The restaurant is very pretty and we sat outside on the deck. There were two locals playing music in the restaurant and they were very good (and Barbara reports the one with the pareo, no shirt and Tahitian tattoos was very nice to look at). It was a great evening with great company, great food in a wonderful setting. The bill was typical French Polynesian prices – but we did get four additional meals from Barbara's leftovers!
Its been lovely here in Bora Bora and we've enjoyed our time.
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