24 March 04
Kathy's journal notes, continued:
A quiet sail inside the Bora Bora lagoon
Sleeping on deck, Kathy was up well before sunrise with the light, with Pam not far behind. Kathy meditated on the trampolines between the catamaran bows. When the sun started glaring on the table, Pam and Kathy put up the sun shade, which involved zipping a long piece of canvas to the edge of the roof (bimini) and then connecting the loose corners to the outer lifelines of the boat with ropes to make the canvas taut. Kathy learned once again why not to walk backwards (a bit of advice that Ed gives her frequently). She backed up and dropped her left leg through an open hatch up to the hip. Pam hauled her out, not much the worse for wear except for bruises to her amour propre.
After a breakfast of Sue's cinnamon buns made out of the last of the fresh bread dough and coffee (stove working again, thank goodness), we motored around the island clockwise as far as we could go -- there is no passage around the south end of the island. We anchored not far from a huge hotel construction site for lunch, so we had our cheese bread with herbs (newer, sweeter batch of dough) to the sound of a pile driver. We weren't all that happy with the east side of the island because of there was so much construction, largely of hotels with long bungalow piers out into the water. We did speculate that perhaps dynamiting a gap in the reef would improve the general health of the lagoon because greater sea flow could wash out the man-detritus. The Bora Bora lagoon has only one major opening and one small gap, so the flow is less than around other islands.
Walking on the dead coral of the fringing reef
requires good balance and tough shoes
Jon, Sue, Pam, and Kathy took the dinghy to a small motu by the reef and walked across the reef and along its sea side. Pam and Kathy were very glad to be wearing water shoes instead of sandals, since the coral is rough, uneven, and sharp. We walked out into the water and could see by the color changes -- from light green and brown to deep blue -- that there was a steep drop off in a very short distance. Sue looked for shells, while Kathy looked for samples of different kinds of coral. They vary not only in shape, but also in the size and arrangement of the little holes that show where the living creatures emerged, and lived. Apparently the colors of coral come from the algae that live symbiotically with them. We also found a small giant clam with the two shells still attached so that the ridges fit together snugly when closed.
The women were very graceful
About this time, we missed Jon and started looking for him, leading us back to the motu and the dinghy. We pushed through the growth around the edge of the motu and found him in a clearing husking coconuts that had been lying on the ground.
We decided we were tired of the construction noise, so we moved Ocelot back around to the south very close to the Bora Bora Hotel, seeing a sea turtle in the water on the way. Sue and Jon took the dinghy to the hotel to find out the time of the fire-dancing performance, and then stopped by another nearby boat to visit. Pam and Kathy snorkeled around the coral heads near Ocelot, seeing many clouds of the tiny iridescent blue fish and several black fish with long forked tails. Around 6, Kathy & Pam started nudging Chris to start cooking -- fresh tuna from the store on the menu. So Chris radioed over to the other boat for cooking instructions from Sue -- sweet and sour sauce with the tuna. We needed to finish in time to make it to the Bora Bora hotel in time to buy drinks and get seated before the evening dancing.
Amanda puts on a good show.
The male dancer was impressed!
As we pulled the dinghy up to the dock at the hotel, we saw a manta ray leap out of the water close by. There were several people standing on the dock looking out into the water. The dock had underwater lights, and whether it was some source of food or the fish are attracted to light like moths, there was lots of underwater activity. The most enchanting were the three manta rays that would swim up to the lights and then turn back flips right by the dock. We believed it had something to do with sieving the food into them. We found it difficult to tear ourselves away for the dancing.
Drinks in hand (piña coladas and wine again), we found places to sit around the stretch of beach where the performance would occur. When the dancers and musicians appeared, we found that they were the same ones we'd seen at the Bora Bora Nui last night. Later we asked the older woman musician, who said they performed 4 times a week in different places. The performance was very similar to the night before, with Amanda being one of the people chosen to join the dancers. She did a confident and competent hip jiggle, which she showed us later is mostly in the feet. After the first set of performers, there was a fire dance. It reminded me of baton twirlers, except that the batons were torches with fire on both ends. One of the dancers looked like Bill Cosby, except shorter and covered with tattoos.
Afterwards we stood by the pier watching the fish and manta rays until it got late for everybody. Back to the Ocelot, Kathy trying to sleep on deck but going below when it started to rain in the early morning.
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