Bora Bora 1999, compared to Nevis, West Indies and Palau in Micronesia

On Tuesday, we thought we better do something for a change than lazing around our private lagoon and waiting for the time to have the next drink or meal. We took the LeMeridien’s shuttle boat to the main island of Bora Bora, a 10-minute trip from the outer reef. There, we rented an Atos car by Hyundai (alles dabei – Hyundai), stick shift, no a/c. but that was not needed with the open windows and the fresh cool breeze coming into the car from the sea often only 2 meters away. Once around the island is exactly 32 km, like in Nevis. All the rest is very unlike Nevis.

Photo courtesy of Isamu Kitafuji

First, there was not one pothole in the road (compared to the many on Nevisian roads). People were bicycling, scootering, all very slowly. Maximum speed is 60 km/h and even the Bosshards for once did not exceed it, not because we did not dare, but it was too beautiful to speed through it.

We also went to find a house that we spotted from the merchant harbor, and we did find the street, the only one that left from the Main Road (not Mane Road like in Nevis). It became something like a very narrow and steep road, but even in the end, better than the one leading to the House of Dick Mayo and David Davis in Morning Star in Nevis…

Up there, we found the well kept house of a local artist and his wife, selling beautiful wrap around cloth (Pareo) and not even expensive though generally prices on this island tend to be on the high side as all is related to the free spending tourist, especially those staying at the Pearl Beach, Bora Bora Lagoon or LeMeridien Resort.

We found a supermarket that was stocked with all a true gourmet might desire: foie gras, pat�s, wines, champagne, fine cheese, saucisson sec, etc. etc. We could not resist to buy of the latter two as the our LeMeridien Resort only offers Baby Bell for breakfast, no other cheese for their otherwise sumptuous dinner buffets! How strange for a French establishment. The watermelon and papaya are exquisite; the mango will be ripe in a month time. The trees are overloaded with the green fruit. The bananas are good also, the melon taste a little bland.

On the way home, we found a little seaside restaurant where Uschi had the Carbonara Noodles and I an Entrecote with fine Roquefort sauce that was great with the really excellent French Fries. I guess only the French (and some Swiss) know how to make French Fries properly, moist inside, crispy and golden on the outside. It needs a two time frying approach that is the secret.

I have just ordered a Mai Tai and another tropical concoction from the bar; it will be delivered on a golf cart and drunk on our little wooden terrace deck quite similar though smaller that the pool deck at our Nevis House. I will quickly dispatch this message before I get the drinks.”””

This is another message sent to some of my diving friends:

We arranged all hotels and activities in Tahiti and Bora Bora by ourselves, absolutely fabulous here at LeMeridien, less than 2 years old, with their own lagoons, islands, etc. We live in a little local-style house on the Beach, 5 steps to the water, great food like at your place though less personal with roughly 100 guests, thus mostly elaborate buffets, but great variety with something for everybody.

The diving is great, nearly as excellent as my favourite spot, Palau. There is no pollution. The only problem is that they do not have a big enough BC so I have to take the largest and close it with ropes… Also, I dive without suit at all, in the outer reef that can be quite dangerous for all the corals. Their stuff is all too small. I should have brought a 2 mm acryl suit; I do not need neoprene, as the temperature is 29 degrees. But something just to protect from inadvertent touches would be great.

I have been twice with the shop master as his other dive masters are young kids who may know their jobs but are far too inexperienced and ‘week’ to handle a big man like me should something go wrong. He keeps two hands on deck during the dives. My wife is back at the hotel snorkelling. She cannot stand the breathing apparatus and refuses to try again though my son has used all his patience to teach her in a pool.

The visibility is excellent, the fish are rich and colourful, and we saw mantas, lionfish, nurse sharks aplenty, a school of sleek barracudas, some turtles and plenty of reef fish. Two moray eels, one I spear fished for the locals who love to eat them…. I put some injured crayfish in front of his hole and as he came out to get it, I shot him from 3 meters, but missed to get him really attached to the arrow/line. So I got closer and used the trident. He came like a bullet straight at me, wrapping himself around the trident which he took as the enemy. The boat guys were extremely happy, as they will have a nice meal (11 lbs).

The last time we were there was in 1992, flying in from Tokyo, via Guam.

It was a fabulous time then, and it was equally enjoyable and peaceful in 1999 in the warm and turquoise waters of Bora Bora.

Written at LeMeridien Tahiti, on November 18, 1999.

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