Tag Archives: snorkel

Day 14 – A Beach on a Motu

Friday was a beautiful day. We started with taking pictures of the sunrise, which meant a walk to the end of the pier at the resort and watching for the sun behind Mt. Rotui and some clouds, so it was not exactly the same as other sunrises we’ve watched, but it beat yesterday when there was nothing but cloud and rain.

We rented a kayak for our second attempt to cross the lagoon channel and get to the motus.  Success this time.  The kayak responded much nicer than the outrigger canoe.  It still took some work, but in general it was a much more positive experience.  Of the two motus, most of the property, meaning beaches, are privately owned, so we had to be careful where we landed.  We ended up on a not quite pristine white sand beach, instead pulling up on some rocks that had sand covered with pine needles.  That’s okay, we were there for the snorkelling more than the beach.


The snorkelling was good, but by this time we had figured out that our best experiences were by far in Bora Bora.  This was still fun, but after maybe an hour we had had enough.  After that time we still hadn’t seen any stingrays, but we had been out to where the lagoon meets the reef.  The current was very strong there, and the waves crashing into the reef meant that we couldn’t even think about trying to see what the water was like outside the reef.

After a break we decided to try to find some stingrays.  We had luck only because we creeped into a tour group who had a guy leading the tour that was feeding them.  We spent maybe 10 minutes with them, and had a chance to touch a couple.  They are very gentle creatures and it certainly put a smile on my face to swim with them.

We collected our kayak and headed across to the other motu that has a small restaurant on it, Coco Beach.  It was our best meal of the entire vacation to date.  I had shrimp in a curry sauce, and Sandi had grilled saumon in a vanilla sauce.  Included with each plate was rice, fried banana, pineapple, papaya and mango on a bed of butter lettuce.  Sandi’s pineapple was grilled.  We pretty much didn’t need to eat for the rest of the day after that!

We spent the rest of the day on the beach of Les Tipaniers after that, each of us having a nap.  It was very hot out, right into the evening.  The best place to try and cool off was the beach where there was a nice wind.


To close the evening we took pictures of the sunset, along with about 20-30 other people, and around 8:30 took an attempt at taking some pictures of the stars.  There has been enough light pollution everywhere we’ve been, be it from the moon or just lights along the beach, that there hasn’t been a good opportunity to see the stars or take photos.  While this was our best opportunity, it wasn’t ideal.  We probably would have been better off walking to a spot where there was little to no light to take pictures.


All things considered however, another good day in French Polynesia.  Tomorrow we have more than half the day on Moorea before taking the ferry back to Tahiti to board our flight home.  We plan to rent a car and drive around the island.

Index of all posts of our French Polynesia trip October 2016


Day 11 – Kayaking Bora Bora

Tuesday was a relatively quiet day.  We began with a kayak trip across the lagoon.  Our original plan was to go the farthest motu and pack a picnic lunch.  There looked to be a public sandy beach there.  However, when we went to get the kayak, we were told that we had to have it returned by 12:30 and also weren’t allowed to take the kayak that far on account of a strong current in a channel, so that altered our plans.

Instead, we paddled around two small islands that are owned by the Sofitel resort.  The back side of the main island is where the big coral garden on Bora Bora is.  We were able to pull our kayak onto a rocky shore right beside it.

The coral garden is awesome!  Fish everywhere, all of them looking for a snack.day11-snorkel2

There is a “I ❤️ Bora Bora” design made out of rocks on the bottom of the lagoon at the coral garden.  So, I decided to take the time make our own design, “Brynne ❤️”

Day 10 – The Bora Bora Lagoon

We asked at the front desk about excursions to see manta rays.  We had one in mind that we had read about on Trip Advisor called Pure Snorkeling but they suggested a different one that was quite a bit cheaper for the same length of time, so we went with that one and were really glad we did.  At 9:00, Vincent picked us up on our beach and we were the only 2 on the boat.  He is French, but spoke English very well.


So, we headed out to the manta ray spot.  Apparently, they like deeper water, but in the morning, come up nearer the coral to feed on little fish.   We borrowed fins from the front desk so we could move a bit faster.  The 3 of us swam back and forth over the manta ‘spot’ for about an hour with sadly no luck.  He said that 9 times out of 10 he finds them, so we just hit a bad day.  What a workout – it felt like I was riding my bike up a hill for an hour!

Next we went to a spot with reef sharks.  They hear the boat coming and think they are going to get fed, so get excited and follow the boat.  When we anchored, there were 20-30 sharks circling the boat – very cool.  So, what do you do in that situation?  Jump in the water!  There was one stingray in the crowd and a school of about 50 bright yellow fish approximately 5 inches long.  After a while, they realized we didn’t bring food and dispersed.


Now onto a spot with more sting rays.  There were maybe 6 or 7 of them, including one very pregnant female.  Vincent told us that the females are perpetually pregnant.  He stayed in the boat and took a few pictures of us while we swam with them.  We keep expecting them to come right up to us, but they aren’t.  I think they expect to be fed before they are ready to get close.  Still very cool to see up close.  By the way, I am getting very comfortable with the whole getting salt water on my face and breathing in a snorkel thing.  Too much to see to let that slow me down, I guess.


Our last stop was a coral garden with lots of fish – LOTS!  Turns out it isn’t too far from here, maybe a kilometer, so we are going to kayak out there to snorkel again.

Chatting with Vincent, we learned that he lives on a motu (how amazing is that) with his wife and 3 kids.  The oldest is away at university, and the younger 2 get driven by boat to school on Bora Bora every day.  There is only an elementary school here (up to grade 8, I think).  After that, kids go to school on Raiatea and board there, coming home once every 5 weeks.  Wow!  For his family, they have relatives on Raiatea that the kids can spend weekends with, but isn’t that so young to live away from home?

Chris, this guy Vincent reminded me of you and I was thinking that this is what you and Shandra should be doing.  Go find an island with good diving or snorkeling, get yourself a boat and show people around.  Then, we’ll come visit you!

We got back around lunch time, ate bread and cheese (again) and wine (again) on our patio.  Those have become our 3 main food groups.  We had a nap, took our nightly sunset pictures and had a great dinner at the restaurant next door.


I am writing this Tuesday morning.  It’s 6:30 and Graham is already out snorkeling.  Breakfast gets brought to us on a tray around 7:00.  Could easily get used to this…  Today we will take out the kayak.  Perfectly calm waters right now and not a cloud to be seen.

Index of all posts of our French Polynesia trip October 2016

Day 6: Snorkeling and Great Food

Again we started early, chasing the sunrise.  That meant an early-morning walk with our flashlights.  Today though, it is quite windy and overcast.  Sadly, there was a big cloud in the way of the sunrise, but we managed to see a sliver of the sun anyway.  After our walk back we had breakfast on the beach, omelettes this time, and then had a morning exploring our lagoon.

Graham: We started on stand-up paddle boards, and were out for probably an hour.  That was followed by some snorkeling, where Sandi got to see the Clown fish.  We actually saw probably a dozen or so, including a real-life Nemo and Marlin pair, with the tiny Clown fish staying close to the anemone and the larger fish protecting it.  There were so many other varieties of fish to see too; nothing big though, no sharks or rays here yet.

For lunch we went to Chez Tara, which had excellent reviews.  We sat in the sand, at the water, and ordered prawns in a coconut curry sauce, and crab in a coconut ginger sauce.  The prawns were amazingly good!  The crab was good too, but a lot of work for not a lot of meat, so I wouldn’t order it again, but we could get very fat on that prawn dish.  They have a prawn with garlic sauce dish that we may return for.

We had a quiet afternoon napping.  We awoke to strong winds and the resort staff clearing the beach.  It is overcast and the threat of rain is on the wind.  Sandi has joined a weaving class.

For our day tomorrow we have cancelled our reservation for a guided island tour, which we were back and forth on either the land tour or the water tour.  There are lots of these tours, and the one we had reserved came highly recommended by our travel agent.  In fact, both the land and water tours we were looking at were very highly rated.  As it turns out though, in all of these islands, there is only so much to do, and often very little differentiates one tour from another.  Since we’ve already done the water tour on Taha’a the tour here did largely the same thing.  And we’ve got a great lagoon at our resort, so we won’t be doing any tours.  We’ve decided to rent a car instead and will be driving the whole island ourselves, looking for spots we want to stop at based on the guide books.  One in particular, has blue-eyed eels!

Also, for Saturday, I think more snorkeling is going to happen.  A guest here we’ve spoken with briefly just reported a possible manta ray sighting.  I will be asking at the front desk about the rays that are in the area and where to find them.

Sandi here:  I spoke to a man from Norway this afternoon and he told me that the sailboat that has been parked in our bay since we arrived is a couple who are sailing around the world for 3 years.  They are halfway into their trip and have stopped here to get married!  26 guests have joined them for a wedding on Saturday.  He didn’t say where it would take place, but I sure hope it’s right here on our beach.  There is a lot of wine being trucked in by very blond people this afternoon, so I think there will be somewhat of a party here over the next few days.

As for the weaving class, I have created a palm leaf serving tray of sorts.  I arrived late and of course, everyone is speaking French, so I didn’t even know what it was supposed to be at the start.  I finished and then the leader undid my last few steps and ‘fixed’ it.  It’s now much better and I’ll be set for the next time I need to make myself a serving tray out in the wild with only palm leaves at my disposal!

Index of all posts of our French Polynesia trip October 2016