Bora Bora

James and I last visited Tahiti and Bora Bora in 1985. We have to say it was romantic and if  you are looking for the most beautiful lagoon to set a Tiffany’s commercial, this would have to be it. The Aranui came into the lagoon off of Vaitape and anchored. We had a wet landing and disembarked to a motorised pirogue or canoe. Other passengers, went to swim with sharks and rays and others decided to take a truck tour around the island of Bora Bora.

Bora Bora’s Otemanu’s Peak hidden in clouds

The rain didn’t dampen us because we were under cover on the canoe but we missed some of the Tiffany blue water. The barge took us to visit the shallow lagoon, the sharks, rays and terns and then to a beach where you take a swim and a mudbath of coral shells. We also passed a turtle sanctuary and so many bures posted over the water.

Our guide was the very image of Disney’s demi-god, Moana, but was beautifully spoken in French and English.

That’s James in the yellow shirt and our guide driving.
Black tip reef shark, Bora Bora

Even though the sky was grey, the water is turquoise. No rays, though. These sharks seem used to humans but they will go for a shiny ring, so keep your fingers in the boat. (Davo, would you like to hop into the water? Me neither)

Ric and Sandy, sunny smiles in the rain


We went past the Le Meridien bures on the water but we didn’t see any turtles. Still we were glad to hear an International hotel is looking after the sea turtles. We went for the mud baths with the white coral mud, simply rejuvenating as you can see in the photo.


The sun started to peek out of the clouds and still on the canoe with Moana we went to a motu or small atoll, which belonged to his Ukele playing uncle.  We could have a swim, they gave us fruit and coconut in abundance and the best part would have to be the singing and ukele.

Bora Bora ukele and singing

These little motus are the Bora Bora half acre, just private and lovely. You need something from the shops, just take the pirogue.

Pirogue and white coral sand beaches

Back to the Aranui because our picnic on Motu Tapu, was rained out. Later we go pearl shopping and playing in Vaitape but we didn’t have enough time to visit Bloody Mary, which only opens in the evening.  But in the evening we consoled ourselves with mohitos and chichis and the Aranui took off for Papeete.





Rangiroa, Islands and Pearl Farms

This morning we sail into Rangiroa. The island is brilliant and sunny. It is also my birthday. James and I meet Rick and Sandy on the bridge early to come into the Tuamotu and Rangiroa.

It had rained earlier and there was a rainbow. Then another rainbow appeared. As if nature wanted to be sure that I was at my happiest, dolphins came up to Aranui and said hello.

Frosty, I know you will need proof.

If you want a natural high, I suggest you start your birthday with a wonderful husband, rainbows and dolphins and good friends. Yes, I know the picture could be sharper but isn’t the water the most spectacular colour?

Rangiroa is the second largest coral atoll in the world. If climate change raises water levels, these motu will be submerged. Visually, you see blue and white dominate the landscape instead of the lush green volcanic islands of the Marquesas. To fully see Rangiroa, you need a drone or an airplane.

If we look at island formation, we see first an erupting volcano thrusting out of the ground and in time it is covered in trees and plants and birds. These are the Marquesas Islands. Over millennia, a volcanic island like Bora Bora will develop a ring of coral around its edge and begin to subside and erode. Instead of getting taller the mountains of the island will wear away. BoraBora is a subsiding volcano with a ring of coral creating its lagoon.

The third stage of this island making is a coral atoll, a subsided volcano, now enclosed in a coral reef. This is the stage the Tuamotu are in, sand bars on top of coral. Whether the coral attached to a submarine volcano or a subsided volcano there is no volcanic activity in known history.


If you are coming for a vacation here, you will be happiest if you are a scuba diver or a pearl connoisseur. Speaking of pearls, we went to the pearl farm and discovered how they cultured the pearls in Rangiroa.


Black Pearl oyster


Unlike Australian Paspaley Pearls or Japanese cultured pearls, black pearls come in a range of colours, which is influenced by the insertion of a piece of mantle from a sacrificed oyster, into a tiny pouch on the accepting oyster. The mother of pearl of the shell above is quite silvery and you can see the pearl in the tiny pouch ready to be harvested. Pearls are used for three pearls and then their pearls lose their quality. Tahitian pearls are graded and cost ranges on quality.

Carefully adding a pearl nucleus to the pouch with a bit of mantle

First let me mention that we have it on the highest authority, that the best way to motivate your children to do well in high school and continue onto university, is to send them to work on a pearl farm. After six months or so, they will be begging to return to school.

Rangiroa has the white coral sands we expect to see if the South Pacific, beautiful beaches and spectacularly coloured water.

There was a small handicraft stall which had the loveliest hand painted pareus. They are made on the island and worth the extra you might pay for a pareu in Papeete.






Retracing our steps to Nuku Hiva

In this part of our voyage, we are following in the path set by Captain James Cook in his second journey (1772-1774) navigating around a treacherous and moody Cape Horn towards the Marquesas Islands. He was a navigator extraordinaire, no GPS nor even a chart to follow. Some of his sailors felt they would possibly sail off the ends of the earth. He improved nutrition as well as insuring his men had a ration of beer each day, which probably kept their hydration up.

When we have sailed in the Pacific, many of the soundings noted on the charts were made by Captain Cook. Some of his journals are kept at the State Library Of NSW and you can request a viewing of these historic documents.


We are on our way back to Nuka Hiva to collect a container, now divested of it contents from Papeete and full of copra or bananas. You have to admire the efficiency of the crew of Aranui in getting the containers  on loaded so quickly. We have a bit of time and go into Taiohae to see some replica Tikis in the park.

Stone carving Taiohae

These tikis remind me of other prehistoric stones and instances of ancestor worship we have seen in Europe. It reminds me of sacred places the world over, where ancient man would use stone and sites to worship their ancestors or perhaps use them as a nemonic system. Wouldn’t it be great to ask them?


Replica – Cultural site Temehea


We repeat the loading exercise in Ua Pou and then we depart at 4:15 pm for the return 40 hour journey to the Tuamotu and the island of Rangiroa.

Marquesas Islands


Polynesian Evening with Dancing – Visuals

The staff of the Aranui were tremendous, welcoming and professional. There were several special evenings and even a Polynesian Breakfast. We would often have a lovely dinner in a harbour, very festive with very little boat motion. These are photos of the Polynesian Banquet.

Some of our Dining room Crew


Tave helped me make purchases in the shop and often helped us tie our pareau on securely. The staff participated in both looking after us and entertaining us. They were all quite talented. Even the men of the Supercargo did a haka for us one evening that was quite amazing.

Tave and friends


Ric dressed for his performance and James ready to show his model boat. Aranui expects everyone to do most of the activities.

Waiting for the entertainment
Dancing with Nahau
Watching the model canoe competition
The Competitors Model Canoe Comp. We believe the Frenchman in the black pareau was the winner. Most of the boats were rougher and readier than his, but his real secret was naming his boat Nuka Hiva or an island name. Helen won third prize. Good efforts.


Jame’s model canoe was the largest but not a winner, with some other entrants. Winner wasn’t here, but it was quite a looker.


Dancing class lead by the graceful Hanalui, Sandy is in pink. The men dancing are behind us.


Men’s dance troupe
Tahitian dancing class
Our Musicians – The music is fast and rhythmic. You can see that the drummers stand on a stool to be high enough to play those drums.


Marquesian Dancers – amazing bird dance with incredible tattoos.
Marquesian Dancing – so fluid and all the dances tell a story.


So the Polynesian night is definitely a night to remember. The flower crowns alone made us feel like we were in Paradise. If you go on the Aranui, join in. Don’t hold back.






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