Bora Bora is perhaps the most romantic island on the face of the earth, the scenery and locale bringing to mind the mythical Bali Hai of the musical ‘South Pacific’. A remnant of an ancient volcano, the lagoon surrounding the sinking volcanic mountain is a wonderful place to go snorkeling. The ms Marina visited three times in January and February of 2016.
The red markers (inserted by author) indicate the extent of the lagoon around Bora Bora.
About 3 to 10 feet deep, with a white sand bottom, it is an inviting tropical sea adventure for the not-quite-Olympic-class swimmer.
Given that no visit to French Polynesia is complete without a foray under the waves, the obvious thing is to book an excursion and jump in!
At the dive site, the view is spectacular, the ancient volcanic peak dominating the skyline.
This picture was taken standing on the sandy bottom in chest deep water.
I generally pack my own mask and snorkel, along with a ‘tough’ waterproof digital camera.
Packing your own mask means you get a good fit (having tried them out back home) and clear lenses.
Tour operators had ceased providing flippers for a while, but it seems that flippers are now included again.
Now for our expedition to the world under the surface:
Under the surface, a flash mob of tropical fish greet your arrival. They have the tour schedules pretty well figured out …
Everybody seems up for a good time!
Placid reef sharks slip by, on patrol.
Excursion operators will typically pick locations with black tipped reef sharks which have a pretty good reputation with people around. Animals typically won’t attack anything bigger than themselves, but these are still wild predators and quietly deferring to them is the best strategy. Avoid flashy jewelry, locations where the sharks are larger than you, the surf line in general and, of course, never ever touch them.
Given that this shark has attracted an entourage of three remoras and the six pilot fish (!), it must be the sloppiest eater on the reef!
Meanwhile, sting rays cruise cautiously in our presence, ever watchful they don’t end up underfoot.
All in all, the perfect day.
The serenity, beauty, majesty and perfection of this world beneath the surface is the reason I return each winter.
If ever there was a Bali Hai, it must have been like this!