THE MYTHICAL DESTINATION - SEPTEMBER 2004
Bora Bora, an island in the Leeward group of the Society Islands located some 250 km north-west of Papeete, was discovered in 1722. It is surrounded, like almost all other islands in Tahiti, by a lagoon and a fringing reef, and has two peaks in its centre: Mount Pahia and Mount Otemanu (the highest at 727 meters).
Bora Bora, the «First Born», is one of the most beautiful islands in the world, and probably the most famous, due to books, movies, and its stunning beauty. The fact that, following the Pearl Harbour attack by Japan, the United States choose Bora Bora as a South Pacific military base, surely contributed also to the myth. Actually, it is said that, though the base was officially closed on June 2, 1946, some American personnel refused to leave, and had to be forcibly removed...
"SWIMMING POOL - The next destination of the Tahitian Princess was Bora Bora and its proximity excited everybody. The result was that at 9:00 a.m., while the ship was heading to Bora Bora, lots of people were already around the pool, including at least one direct descendant of the Venus of Willendorf!"
"GETTING CLOSER - Two peaks and blue waters"
"HEADING TO THE CHANNEL - There is only one navigable pass, facing the principal village of Vaitape"
"ENTERING THE LAGOON - Different blues, motus, and Tevairoa on the left hand side..."
"TAPORO VII -While we were entering the lagoon, the cargo container ship was leaving the island. It doesn't seem very attractive..."
"FAANUI BAY - U.S. troops were stationed in Faanui Village and Faanui Bay during the Operation Bobcat, which transformed the island into a stronghold of the US... A supply force of nine ships, 20,000 tons of equipment, and nearly 5,000 men travelled from South Carolina to Bora Bora in late January, 1942. Operation Bobcat remained in action until 1946. Imagine such a beauty crowded with military equipment..."
"MOUNT PAHIA - The main island of Bora Bora rises sharply from the turquoise lagoon with its flat top peak Otemanu and other points covered by tropical forest. The clouds were covering the top of Mount Pahia, as well as Mount Otemanu"
"VAITAPE - The main village of Bora Bora is Vaitape on the west coast"
"TAHITIAN PRINCESS finally anchored at Poivale Bay, just in front of Vaitape. The beautiful blue and turquoise waters were surrounding us!"
"CITY HALL - Vaitape Mairie. There was even a marriage ceremony to greet the visiting cruise ship's tourists"
"TOURIST BUS - Your choices for getting around Bora Bora are limited. One possibility is to take the Otemanu Tours Circle Island Tour, but it didn't seem very attractive. So we took instead a local minibus to get to Matira Beach, and Le' Truck to get back to the Bloody Mary's. Next morning we rented a car, the best option you have available"
"MATIRA BEACH is one of the few beaches with public access on the island. It runs for one and a half kilometre, with its white sand stretches, intermixed with hotels and restaurants"
"BORA BORA GALLERY - At Matira Beach one can find black pearls, local art paintings, and other Polynesian related artistry..."
"WALK ON THE BEACH"
"MAGIC - Beautiful view from one of the Hotels in the area"
"BOATERS & YACHTING AMENITIES just in front of Bloody Mary's"
"BLOODY MARY'S - Bora Bora's lagoon is its most treasured feature, but Bloody Mary's Restaurant and Bar is trying to match its fame with the help of a list of some famous (or infamous) guests..."
"BAR - Anyhow, we needed a drink"