Bora Bora, Society Islands, French Polynesia

We set sail for Bora Bora just before dinner and passed by Raiatea’s sister island of Taha’a (photo) before exiting the lagoon.  At 8:00 pm we arrived at Bora Bora and anchored in its very tranquil lagoon.  The ship offered tender services to shore during the night for those who wished to go.  The main feature of Bora Bora, which James Michener called the world’s most beautiful island, is Mt. Otemanu which is often covered in a cloud as it is in the next photo. The island is seven Million years old and either was created by a volcano or by the God Ta’aroa. It was discovered by a Dutch explorer in 1722.  Nearly 50 years later, it was claimed by Captain James Cook for Britain but was annexed by France a century later.  It was a strategic operations centre for the Americans in WW II and they built the road, a large dock and the airport all of which are still in use today.  There are apparently some remains of old guns but I did not see them.  I did see an old armaments shed. (photo) This is an island for the rich and famous.  It has many five star hotels including two Sofitels, two Intercontinentals, a Four Seasons and a St. Regis Hotel. However, with the recent recession, these $1000 per night hotels have seen a drop in business and four island hotels, including the Club Med have closed down.  Most of the hotels and the airport are on long motus (islands)  which surround the main island. I have a photo of some of the typical beach houses on stilts for which Polynesian hotels are famous. I also have a photo of a condo on stilts  but I am not sure if it is the one that belongs to Jack Nicholson or Marlon Brando! I took a round the island tour today and among other places, we stopped at a pareo factory where out guide Ouena showed us how to tie pareos many different ways (photo), the restaurant Bloody Mary’s made famous in the movie South Pacific, the public beach (photo) and many places of scenic beauty (photos). The last is of a crab which is epidemic on the island.  These crabs will eat anything including clothing that falls off the clothesline! Tomorrow we are in Tahiti.

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