The Faaroa River in Raiatea

The next island on my vacation was Raiatea. This island is home to the Faaroa River, the only navigable river in French Polynesia. Unwittingly, I had actually booked two excursions on the Faaroa River on the same day, one in a flat-bottom, motorized boat, and another in a canoe. The only real difference between the two vessels was that the canoe had an outrigger. There wasn’t much to do on these trips except look at the scenery. The boats put-putted along, as far up the river as they could go. Then, they put-putted back to the lagoon.

Faaroa River - 1

Faaroa River – 1

SOURCE: Faaroa River – 1 (Raiatea, French Polynesia); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 09 April 2016.

Faaroa River - 2

Faaroa River – 2

SOURCE: Faaroa River – 2 (Raiatea, French Polynesia); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 09 April 2016.

Faaroa River - 3

Faaroa River – 3

SOURCE: Faaroa River – 3 (Raiatea, French Polynesia); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 09 April 2016.

Faaroa River - 4

Faaroa River – 4

SOURCE: Faaroa River – 4 (Raiatea, French Polynesia); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 09 April 2016.

Copyright © 2016 by Stephen J. Danko

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Riding the Waves in Bora Bora

So, I’ve wanted to ride a Jet Ski or WaveRunner for a long time now, and this visit to Bora Bora was my chance. The island of Bora Bora is surrounded by a lagoon which, in turn, is surrounded by a barrier reef. Each guide took a group of four riders with him, and each of us was on his own Yamaha WaveRunner. The ride through the lagoon around Bora Bora took about two hours. Part-way through the ride, we stopped to the guide’s private motu for some coconut water (drunk directly from green coconuts) and tropical fruit. Some hermit crabs tried to crash the party on the motu. I suppose I can chalk this one off my bucket list, but I really want to do this again!

Bora Bora Lagoon

Bora Bora Lagoon

SOURCE: Bora Bora Lagoon (Bora Bora, French Polynesia); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 08 April 2016.

Steve on Waverunner

Steve on Waverunner

SOURCE: Steve on Waverunner (Bora Bora, French Polynesia); photographed for Stephen J. Danko on 08 April 2016.

Hermit Crab

Hermit Crab

SOURCE: Hermit Crab (Bora Bora, French Polynesia); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 08 April 2016.

Waverunner View of Bora Bora

Waverunner View of Bora Bora

SOURCE: Waverunner View of Bora Bora (Bora Bora, French Polynesia); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 08 April 2016.

Copyright © 2016 by Stephen J. Danko

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Views from Bora Bora

Before heading back to the ship, we stopped for a photo opportunity. While taking pictures of the scenery, one of the almost daily showers approached.

Steve on Bora Bora

Steve on Bora Bora

SOURCE: Steve on Bora Bora (Bora Bora, French Polynesia); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 08 April 2016.

View to the Peaks

View to the Peaks

SOURCE: View to the Peaks (Bora Bora, French Polynesia); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 08 April 2016.

Coconut Palm

Coconut Palm (Cocos nucifera)

SOURCE: Coconut Palm (Cocos nucifera) (Bora Bora, French Polynesia); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 08 April 2016.

The Daily Cloudburs

The Daily Cloudburst

SOURCE: The Daily Cloudburst (Bora Bora, French Polynesia); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 08 April 2016.

Copyright © 2016 by Stephen J. Danko

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At the Paarara Mountain Artist Studio

During a 4×4 excursion through Bora Bora, we stopped at the Paarara Mountain Artist Studio. I don’t have photos of the studio where hand-painted pareos (similar to sarongs) are decorated, but I do have photos from around the studio. Nestled in an impressive landscape, the studio was surrounded by flowers, bananas, papayas, and breadfruit. The owners of the studio offered samples of fruit and the opportunity to purchase one of their beautiful pareos. I would have bought one, but I discovered that I had left my wallet behind when I left the ship that morning!

View from the Paarara Mountain Artist Studio

View from the Paarara Mountain Artist Studio

SOURCE: View from the Paarara Mountain Artist Studio (Bora Bora, French Polynesia); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 08 April 2016.

Breadfruit Tree

Breadfruit Tree (Artocarpus altilis)

SOURCE: Breadfruit Tree (Artocarpus altilis) (Bora Bora, French Polynesia); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 08 April 2016.

Breadfruit

Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis)

SOURCE: Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) (Bora Bora, French Polynesia); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 08 April 2016.

Papaya

Papaya (Carica papaya)

SOURCE: Papaya (Carica papaya) (Bora Bora, French Polynesia); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 08 April 2016.

Copyright © 2016 by Stephen J. Danko

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The Cannons of Bora Bora

During World War II, the United States maintained a supply base on Bora Bora. After the war, eight cannons were left behind, two of which are located on Mont Poopooureroa. The view of Bora Bora’s lagoon from Mont Poopooureroa is spectacular.

Cannon on Mont Poopooureroa - 1

Cannon on Mont Poopooureroa – 1

SOURCE: Cannon on Mont Poopooureroa – 1 (Bora Bora, French Polynesia); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 08 April 2016.

Cannon on Mont Poopooureroa - 2

Cannon on Mont Poopooureroa – 2

SOURCE: Cannon on Mont Poopooureroa – 2 (Bora Bora, French Polynesia); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 08 April 2016.

The View from Mont Poopooureroa - 1

The View from Mont Poopooureroa – 1

SOURCE: The View from Mont Poopooureroa – 1 (Bora Bora, French Polynesia); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 08 April 2016.

The View from Mont Poopooureroa - 2

The View from Mont Poopooureroa – 2

SOURCE: The View from Mont Poopooureroa – 2 (Bora Bora, French Polynesia); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 08 April 2016.

Copyright © 2016 by Stephen J. Danko

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Sunset in Bora Bora

A wonderful vacation in the South Pacific deserves a wonderful sunset.

Bora Bora Sunset 1

Bora Bora Sunset 1

SOURCE: Bora Bora Sunset 1 (Bora Bora, French Polynesia); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 07 April 2016.

Bora Bora Sunset 2

Bora Bora Sunset 2

SOURCE: Bora Bora Sunset 2 (Bora Bora, French Polynesia); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 07 April 2016.

Bora Bora Sunset 3

Bora Bora Sunset 3

SOURCE: Bora Bora Sunset 3 (Bora Bora, French Polynesia); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 07 April 2016.

Sunset from the Beach of Bora Bora

Sunset from the Beach of Bora Bora

SOURCE: Sunset from the Beach of Bora Bora (Bora Bora, French Polynesia); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 07 April 2016.

Copyright © 2016 by Stephen J. Danko

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The Sunset Catamaran Cruise

I was able to get a seat aboard a sunset catamaran cruise on the first day in Bora Bora. The operators of the cruise took us to a site where we could swim with the stingrays and enjoy the Bora Bora sunset from the catamaran. The catamaran operators served “Tahiti Drink,” a cocktail distributed in what look like milk cartons that contain pineapple juice, passion fruit juice, orange juice, vanilla, and cane spirit. This drink, made in Moorea, contains about 8% alcohol. The catamaran operators also served non-alcoholic pineapple-peach juice and pineapple-coconut juice.

Catamaran Guide at Sunset

Catamaran Guide at Sunset

SOURCE: Catamaran Guide at Sunset (Bora Bora, French Polynesia); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 07 April 2016.

Pink Whipray

Pink Whipray (Himantura fai)

SOURCE: Pink Whipray (Himantura fai) (Bora Bora, French Polynesia); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 07 April 2016.

Motu Toopua at Sunset

Motu Toopua at Sunset

SOURCE: Motu Toopua at Sunset (Bora Bora, French Polynesia); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 07 April 2016.

Bora Bora Early Sunset

Bora Bora Early Sunset

SOURCE: Bora Bora Early Sunset (Bora Bora, French Polynesia); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 07 April 2016.

Copyright © 2016 by Stephen J. Danko

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More Sea Life from the Glass Bottom Boat

Sea life in Bora Bora could be observed not only swimming past the glass panels in the bottom of the boat, but also swimming beside the boat and in the water itself. The boat made two stops, one to see the sharks (Black-Tip Reef Sharks and Lemon Sharks) and one to see the stingrays (and other fishes). The stingrays I observed were Pink Whiprays. Among the fish I saw were Convict Tangs and Latticed Sandperches.

Black-Tip Reef Sharks

Black-Tip Reef Sharks (Carcharhinus melanopterus)

SOURCE: Black-Tip Reef Sharks (Carcharhinus melanopterus) (Bora Bora, French Polynesia); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 05 April 2016.

Pink Whipray

Pink Whipray (Himantura fai)

SOURCE: Pink Whipray (Himantura fai) (Bora Bora, French Polynesia); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 05 April 2016

Convict Tang

Convict Tang (Acanthurus triostegus)

SOURCE: Convict Tang (Acanthurus triostegus) (Bora Bora, French Polynesia); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 05 April 2016

Latticed Sandperch

Latticed Sandperch (Parapercis clathrata)

SOURCE: Latticed Sandperch (Parapercis clathrata) (Bora Bora, French Polynesia); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 05 April 2016

Copyright © 2016 by Stephen J. Danko

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The Glass Bottom Boat in Bora Bora

No, this article has nothing to do with the 1966 movie starring Doris Day and Rod Taylor, although now that I’ve written that, Google will probably link to this article as if it were about the movie.

The glass bottom boat I’m talking about is a tourist boat in Bora Bora (one of several, I’m sure) that allows visitors to observe sharks and sting rays through glass panels in the bottom of the boat. Well, I not only rode in the glass bottom boat, I was allowed to drive it!

You can trust Captain Steve

You can trust Captain Steve

SOURCE: You can trust Captain Steve (Bora Bora, French Polynesia); photographed for Stephen J. Danko on 07 April 2016.

Lemon Shark

Lemon Shark (Negaprion brevirostris)

SOURCE: Lemon Shark (Negaprion brevirostris) (Bora Bora, French Polynesia); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 07 April 2016.

While most eyes were viewing the sea creatures, magnificent frigatebirds and great crested terns wheeled about in the skies above, looking for lunch.

Magnificent Frigatebird

Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens)

SOURCE: Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) (Bora Bora, French Polynesia); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 07 April 2016.

Greater Crested Tern

Greater Crested Tern (Thalasseus bergii)

SOURCE: Greater Crested Tern (Thalasseus bergii) (Bora Bora, French Polynesia); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 07 April 2016.

Copyright © 2016 by Stephen J. Danko

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Views from Bora Bora

I arrived at Bora Bora at about noon on April 7, 2016. The first view as the ship approached the island was magnificent. It’s no wonder that Bora Bora is such a popular destination in the South Pacific.

Bora Bora

Bora Bora

SOURCE: Bora Bora (Bora Bora, French Polynesia); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 07 April 2016.

Bora Bora is surrounded by an atoll, a chain of small islets made of coral and sand. The small islets are called motus and are generally just a few meters higher than sea level. Around Bora Bora, however, some of the motus are actually volcanic in nature, including Motu Toopua where the Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort and Spa is located. Overwater villas at the Hilton cost more than US$1,000 per night. I did not stay there.

Motu Toopua

Motu Toopua

SOURCE: Motu Toopua (Bora Bora, French Polynesia); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 07 April 2016.

Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort and Spa

Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort and Spa

SOURCE: Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort and Spa (Bora Bora, French Polynesia); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 07 April 2016.

Detail of Overwater Villas at the Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort and Spa

Detail of Overwater Villas at the Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort and Spa

SOURCE: Detail of Overwater Villas at the Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort and Spa (Bora Bora, French Polynesia); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 07 April 2016.

Copyright © 2016 by Stephen J. Danko

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