Friday, October 28, 2011

Snorkeling etc

October 24, 2011... snorkeling day! We decided to book the snorkeling excursion thru our hotel. Pick up was scheduled from the hotel at 830 am, so we had a hearty breakfast buffet, packed some sandwiches and pastries for the trip (the hotel staff was very accommodating about that) and headed to the dock. We got into a traditional Polynesian boat and were greeted by our hosts: Steven, Louie and papi - we never got to know their real names but they were amazing entertainers throughout the trip and kept us in splits! I couldn't stop laughing! We headed out from Le Meridian over to Sofitel Marara, then Sofitel Motu to pick up more couples...yeah, that's the thing...there are only couples everywhere in FP...its like no other tourists ever come to this place! DH and I wondered how out of place we would have been had we tagged our 5 yr old DS along...oh, well, good thing we didn't. Once all the passengers were on board, we headed to the open passage where the motus of Bora Bora opens up to the ocean. The snorkeling site we went to is called Tapu. We used our own snorkeling equipment but others were provided with the requisite snorkeling gear. I was so glad I took my wet suit along! For tropical weather, the water is still pretty cold! I was completely unprepared for the sight that awaited me once I got into water. Thousands of tropical fish - mostly black but also blue, yellow etc swimming around..they looked stunning against the turquoise blue water! Steven and Louie were feeding the fish so we kept seeing schools of these fish swim by. There were also black tipped sharks swimming right next to us! It felt like someone had dropped us into an aquarium! Then there were 10 ft lemon sharks swimming right below us. Louie would keep diving down, holding the fin of the shark and swimming right along...it was so amazing. Once we finished our fill of viewing the sharks and tropical fish, we headed back into the boat and onto another site to see the stingrays. This was in very shallow water.... 4-5 ft deep only. We skipped the fins and got into water in our booties. Again tons of rays came gliding by...the first time a ray slid by me, touching my skin, I screamed ...but quickly got used to the idea. Their tails feel rough (the barbs are removed) but their body is smooth and slithery. Louie, in fact, showed us a french kiss with a ray! Yikes! We saw some more black tipped sharks and some tuna. From there we headed to another site called the coral garden. The water here was very choppy, so it wasn't my favorite snorkeling site but we saw thousands of more tropical fish and a huge moray eel. After spending 20 mins looking at the beautiful corals and fish we headed back. The hosts kept us thoroughly entertained with music, jokes and plenty of tomfoolery. We even got to eat some coconut and watermelon (delicious!) Once back at the hotel we grabbed beers ( only because every other drink was way too expensive), some fries and headed back to our room to chill in the balcony. After another beer, stroll by the beach, many more picture-taking moments later we showered and got ready to head to Vaitape by boat. We wanted to go to La Bounty tonight but it was closed. Villa Mahana was booked till Friday (boy-o-boy), so we picked Bora Kaina Hut. Turned out to be a fairly good choice. The place resembles a Goan shack with sand floors and rustic wooden tables n chairs. Taking advise from a Trip advisor review we asked our hotel concierge if she could request the best table for us....we got what we asked for - the best table in the house....it was a private hut by the corner....extremely romantic and very nice. We ordered some cocktails, again based on some reviews we had read. This was the only bad choice we made. Wine would have been a better option. Our drinks were terrible, mostly coz I am not a huge fan of coconut milk and yet I chose a coconut based cocktail, so that was my bad. The food more than made up for it though. I got the grapefruit gnocchi (excellent) and DH got the grilled Mahi Mahi cooked n served on a hot volcanic lava rock. We ended the meal with the lava cake which turned out to be better than the one we had at Fare Manuia. Again excellent but expensive meal! Ride back to hotel was uneventful. We got a couple of Bailey's to wash off our cocktail experience and sat by the pool. I got some interesting night time shots. Another lovely day ending with a lovely meal and drinks.


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