Driving Around Bora Bora
23 June 2017 | Bora Bora
Although the Avis delivery guy was supposed to fetch us at 8:30, he didn't arrive until 9AM, telling us that despite having both fetched us and delivered us at the yacht club, he waited at the wrong place. Crazy.
We finally departed Viatape at 9:20, after the usual paperwork war with Avis. We elected
Philippe to drive since he likes to drive, is French so the paperwork was simpler, and easily reads signage.
We drove sou from Viatape, driving the route that we had biked the day before. The air conditioning made the trip considerably more comfortable! We continued around the southern end of the island and drove up the east side, seeing a part of Bora Bora that Conni and I had never seen. Wherever we drove, we were constantly on the search for coconuts that we could break into with my cutlass. When we found one, I sliced off the top and we feasted on the refreshing water and the cool meat inside.
Eve. At a snail's pace, we made it around the island in 1.5 hours, it only being 25 km. Debbie read from her guidebook and we followed every interesting lead. Some were successfully, most were not. We tried to find the banyan tree that inspired James Cameron's Avatar tree, but the directions were too sketchy. As we searched, though, I found a short papaya tree and cut several leaf stems to use as straws. Cool! Straws for our coconut!
We followed the directions, and paid $5/each, to see two 7-inch guns from World War 2, a cool thing to see. Since my veteran father died two years ago, this kind of thing has meant more to me. As I looked at the guns in their emplacements, I mused that every planner, every construction person, and most of the guys manning those guns is gone. That great struggle for survival that so deeply influenced me, through my parents, is truly history, now.
We had lunch...actually way too much lunch, at Bloody Mary's bar. It's a local and world famous beach bar, and it was nice to introduce D and P to it.
One interesting entry in the guidebook was the "Marine Museum" that the book claimed was very good but seldom open. We drove by and open it was! Inside was the life-long collection of hand-crafted sailboat models, all to the same scale. Triremes, the Bounty, Slocum's Spray, all in all about 50 beautiful models spanning a 1000 years and worlds of distance. The creator did appear and gave us his impressive story, having started building the models when 17. The museum, then, showcased a lifetime of effort.
We had arranged to leave the car at the yacht club, so we strolled through, hopped I. The dinghy, and motored back to Wings, where we ran the generator until we departed again.
The Bora Bora Heiva ("Hay-eva") is the largest and most important Heiva other then the Papeete event, and we grabbed the opportunity to see an evening of it. The first group wore beautiful costumes with white flower headdresses, and sang a host of traditional songs in Tahitian. The second group, from the nearby Fa'aroa Bay, was a huge troop of dancers, half male, half female. They were fantastic and danced for a full 45 minutes. The male dancers were athletic and fast, performing the traditional male dance by swinging their bent knees in and out with feet flat on the ground, making what appeared to be stylized combat moves with their hands. The females were no less rehearsed and talented, showing their mastery of the hip shake. Both groups had three costume changes, and each had a session to themselves as well as complex dances with both groups on the sand. The drummers were SO fast and synchronized! All of the dancers appeared to be young, between 12 and 20, or so it appeared from the stands. Female tourists flocked to the sand to have their photos taken with the sweat-gleaming male dancers, but the females made a quick departure. We all thought that the very cool temperatures were helpful to the dancers.
Although the stands had not filled for the first group, it certainly did for the Fa'aroa group, and standing spectators were watching ten deep. A sizable part of the Islands's population was present. At $15/seat, we had chosen to sit in the stands, but most stood watching at no cost.
At the end of the evening, we chose to walk the 45 minutes back to the yacht club rather than pay the $30 taxi fare.
What a fine day of enjoying Bora Bora.
Debbie and Philippe depart tomorrow and both Conni and I sad at the leaving. They remain the lowest maintenance guests that we have aboard. They're happy with anything that we do, have boundless enthusiasm for trying new ideas, and require no help or attention to keep themselves entertained. The longer that they've been aboard, the better they've become at helping on boat tasks. They shower in the cockpit with no issues and live in very tight quarters without going stir crazy. Debbie is my one and only sister and I love her, of course, but she is bright and a lot of fun, too. With a PhD in psychology, she is perceptive and articulate. Philippe is a master of plants since he's a landscape architect, and he's the last word in French since he is French. A better match for traveling in French Polynesia couldn't be imagined. We'll miss them.