Sunday, May 19, 2019

A Morning in Bora Bora

First light after our first night on the National Geographic Orion: sighting Bora Bora in the misty dawn. To me, Bora Bora was more mythical than real. I loved our visit there on the morning of May 11, the first day of our cruise through French Polynesia. As a beginning post about this one-week trip, I'm going to post a fairly large number of photos, and describe some of the things we saw.

In the morning mist: Bora Bora's Mount Pahia and Mount Otemanu.
Every trip from the Orion begins with a crossing on these Zodiac boats.
At the dock, I was a bit surprised to find several murals painted on the walls of nearby buildings.

Also painted with local designs: a sightseeing boat.
We boarded our tour vehicles: large Mercedes trucks re-purposed to serve as a bus. These are the traditional public
transport throughout the islands, and are called "Le Truck." This one was unusually comfortable because it was fitted with
actual seats -- with cushions -- rather than long benches.
This bunker is one of the last traces of the major American presence on Bora Bora during World War II. The island was a supply base with an oil depot, airstrip, gun emplacements, and defense fortifications. There was never combat here. Our
tour guide remarked that all that was left by the 16,000 American troops was blue-eyed babies!
We stopped to see a display and demonstration of dyeing textiles.
The waters here are very calm because Bora Bora is a volcanic island with
a protective fringing reef, thus being inside a very calm lagoon. The storage
of boats is on hanging frames, which defeat the ship worms that eat wood.

Our bus was decorated with a variety of flowers, especially hibiscus.
We stopped at an open area full of holes in which little land crabs live.
If you throw down the flowers, the crabs come and drag them into their holes.
We stopped a number of times to take in the incredible views. In this photo: one of the local guides, and our shipboard
cultural specialist, Tua Pittman. I will write much more about him in later posts: he is a master navigator, and extremely knowledgeable about all Polynesian traditions.

As we bounced around the island in "Le Truck" we saw many homes, shops, and churches such as this schoolyard
next to a a church.

After our beautiful morning touring in Bora Bora, we returned to the Orion for lunch. The afternoon was our first opportunity to go snorkeling on a small private island in the lagoon. We had a very rich and fascinating experience, which I'll be documenting more in additional blog posts.


kwarkito said...

Beautiful images and not only wall paintings, but also splendid landscapes. Have a nice week

Merryn@merrynsmenu said...

Such lovely artwork and murals, this is a indeed a place of history but oh so pretty. Thanks for sharing Mae :D

Debbie at Travel with Intent said...

Street art travels well these days :)

Sherry's Pickings said...

i love street art/murals so these look fabulous to me! how wonderful to go somewhere so exotic. cheers sherry

biebkriebels said...

Well there are very colourfull paintings everywhere

Sami said...

Wow Mae, fabulous photos. Bora Bora is on my wish list:)
Loved the murals, the painted buses, the bright textiles, and even the crab dragging the flowers into their holes.
Enjoy the holidays.

The Greenockian said...

Everything is so colourful! Lovely.

Jeanie said...

Color, water, murals! It's beautiful. I don't think I could have left the textile place without buying something -- which, I'm sure, they hope you do!

Iris Flavia said...

Hmmm, beautiful, all of it!

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

I've enjoyed catching up on your Polynesian trip...very exotic and colorful.