Tue 26 Aug 2014 23:55
Bora Bora from the East, taken from the island hop plane when Jon and I flew back to Tahiti for him to catch his flight to LA then Heathrow.
We wanted to spend a few days in Bora Bora before Jon had to return to England in time to go back to his studies. It's such a celebrated island that it would be a shame for him to come to the Society Islands and not visit it. Also, we'd heard there were Manta rays here and sea horses too. Jon had hand fed and stroked sting rays, he'd followed spotted eagle rays along the edge of the reef and watch them jump 6ft into the air out of the water, but he'd not yet seen those majestic, gigantic princes of the reef: Mantas.
So we headed up to the North of the island and anchored overnight ready to make an early start to catch them when they came in to feed around 7am. But Jon's blocked nose developed into a thick head, blazing head ache and a sore throat, also the day dawned with 20 knot winds driving drizzle across the reef... seeing Mantas would have to wait for his next trip out to us.
The North of the island - we were anchored just where the yacht on the far right of this picture is when we went in search of Manta rays.
So we moved back around to the South West of the Island, where the sea horses were, for Jon's last two days, hoping he'd feel a bit better and be able to snorkel but also because that was where the famous Bloody Mary's was, a bar and restaurant where the stars and rich of the world hang out.
I'm not sure if the sea horses were sea horses, or perhaps pipe fish, but they were wonderfully cute little red nosed chaps with little fliffily fins on their spines and necks. One had to stay still and watch the reef a while before you saw them - they were so well camouflaged.
Jon spent his last couple of days curled up on board sucking throat sweets and not feeling like eating much, so Phil and I were obliged to have his farewell meal without him. Spike persuaded us to bring him along, as it sounded like his kind of a place. He has developed a taste for the high life, one we'll have to break him from at some stage!
Spike in good company.
Bloody Mary's didn't disappoint, with its relaxed but tasteful cool dark interior, excellent food and friendly staff. The white sand floors were a boon for bringing along a parrot of course, as one never knows with birds when a deposit or two might drop. It was a shame Jon missed it but at least we brought him back a T-shirt!
Once Jon had flown we were ready to move on, but there was one more thing to do before we left French Polynesia. We have sailed nearly half way around the world, survived what could have been a drastic experience in the surf, met so many different people from many different cultures, come to know the sea and her creatures in an intimate way that we could not have imagined before. This is where tattooing originated and is an integral part of the life and culture: it was time to get a tattoo. Enquires led us to Marama Tattoos, right down on the South Eastern corner of the island so we sailed around yesterday - having some very interesting pilotage through the reefs, and touching the bottom at one point. The tattooist, Teriimarima Olsen, has won many awards and, more significantly, is the tattooist of choice for the local population. So this morning he did the deed: