Day 74 of Traveling the World, Bora Bora, French Polynesia. April 15, 2018.

It’s Double Talk Week in the South Pacific! We traveled from Pago Pago to Bora Bora over 2 sea days. Interestingly enough, there is no letter B in the Tahitian language! The native name of this island was Pora Pora (“first born”), but the first explorers misheard the name and thought they were in Bora Bora….and the name stuck!

This is thought of as one of the most exotic places on the planet. It is only 6 miles long by 2.5 miles wide in the Leeward Group of the Society Islands of French Polynesia. It was 82 degrees Fahrenheit, but the breezes made it feel cooler. We rented a scooter for the day and drove the island! The first time, we went counterclockwise, and the second time, clockwise. It took about an hour to circle Bora Bora. The scooter topped out at about 30 mph.

We were here overnight, and on the second day, Mike took a diving tour. He stayed inside the lagoon because he was told he would see rays. He did see a “flight” of 9 Spotted Eagle Rays in front of him. He and the dive master sat on the sand on the bottom and watched them gliding in place for about 10 minutes from a distance of about 20 feet.

Like all Pacific islands, including Hawai’i, the land consists of a cooled lava bas, a result of underwater volcanoes poking through the ocean 3-4 million years ago. After being “discovered” by Captain Cook, French military expeditions and British missionaries arrived, and the island’s way of life changed forever. Throughout the 19th Century, the British and French fought for control of the islands. Bora Bora became a French colony in 1842.

In the photos, you can see why European explorers arrived, and stayed…and stayed. The palm trees sway gently in the breeze. The water is several shades of blue as it deepens. The church is St. Peter Celestine, a Catholic church, and the images are painted on clear glass so that you can see their famous peak through the window. The dive boat was Mike’s personal diving adventure with the owner. The island is often described as a necklace, as the center is a lagoon ringed by an outer coral reef and road, where everyone lives. There isn’t a bad view on the entire island. Also noteworthy are the dramatic peaks, one of which is constantly circled by a cloud. You can certainly see the volcanic influence!