Manta Rays, Tiger Cowrie & Good Food
07 June 2011 | Bora Bora, French Polynesia
This is Steve swimming with a manta ray approximately 25' below the surface.
June 1-5, 2011
On the east side of Bora Bora, we anchored near the posh resorts of the St. Regis, Intercontinental Thalassos, and the Four Seasons where they charge as high as $5,000 per night for a cabana over the water. We all got great exercise kayaking around the motus and resorts and snorkeling in the warm clear water. One day, we went snorkeling and actually saw 3 manta rays within the lagoon and managed to get some photos with our new Olympus underwater camera. It was an exciting sight as we have been looking for manta rays since arriving in French Polynesia and have not sited any previously. Manta Rays can grow to 18'; these were approximately 8'. We then moved on to the SE end of the lagoon near Matira Beach, where we anchored in 10' of water on two very calm, warm days. We kayaked and snorkeled from the boat, and spent a few hours cleaning the hulls of Dream Caper in these calm conditions. Beatty had fun helping us scrub. While looking for a handle from a broken bucket that had gone overboard earlier in the day, Beatty spied a Tiger Cowrie shell. After several tries, she succeeded in diving 10' down to snatch it up. It was a beauty, 3" long. Steve quickly cleaned the critter out so that Beatty could take her prize home with her. In the nearby coral gardens, we fattened up the small tropical fish with old bread and they showed their appreciation by swarming us wherever we swam. We enjoyed a delicious dinner at La Bounty Restaurant and a Polynesian buffet with a Polynesian dance show at a local resort. With weather warnings of high winds coming, we motored for two hours all the way around the lagoon back to the SW side where we tied up at a mooring at the famous Bloody Mary's Restaurant. Since we were only 50' from its well maintained dock, we decided to have dinner there and it was delicious. The floor of the restaurant is soft sand and they offer to check your sandals/shoes at the door. In the restrooms after pulling a chain, water cascades down a small rock waterfall at the bottom of which one can wash her hands with soap from a clam shell. We enjoyed spending time with Rae who was last on Dream Caper in 2002 in Martinique and Beatty who has occupied Rae's time since then. Having a 9-year old on board kept us all active and it was fun watching her first time experiences on the boat and in the water.
We have been carefully watching the weather and sea conditions this past week in preparation for our passage to Pago Pago, American Samoa with a possible stop at Suwarrow Island, Cook Islands. High seas and high winds are expected through Wednesday so we will hang out here in Bora Bora since we need to re-provision, do laundry, take care of some business on the internet and wait for some engine parts which we have ordered from Papeete. Since this will be a long trip in an area with variable sea conditions and weather, we have decided to use a weather service to confirm that sea and weather conditions will be favorable for our passage before we embark on this journey of 1100 miles. We have our own weather reporting services but just want to make sure our predictions agree with someone a lot more knowledgeable than us in weather and sea forecasting.