Bora Bora, Society Islands, French Polynesia
So now that we got that pesky “work” out of the way, we can relax right?
Most of our time was spent at the Bora – Bora yacht club. “Why” you ask? It’s the BORA BORA YACHT CLUB! Two words dude: Bragging. Rights. If that isn’t reason enough, we don’t know what is:
Oh, and they have a thatched roof hut as their main building, which is awesome.
Greg did a bit more work on the computer while Tiffany went on a hike of Bora Bora with some of the other ships’ crews. It was hot. It rained. Everyone was very happy to have an opportunity to use their cheap Mexican ponchos and good times were had by all:
But the two big highlights of Bora Bora playtime were:
1) The diving. Our current captain, Brian, is an avid diver. As in there is a dive compressor onboard along with 4 full dive kits. This means we go diving. A lot. Also, he has a dive camera with a depth rating of about 100 feet so we got some awesome footage of the sea life of Bora Bora:
One thing we should point out: did you notice the “crown-of-thorns” in that video? Well the crown-of-thorns is a foreign invasive starfish that eats coral faster than the coral can grow. It suddenly appeared in 2006 and it has already devoured hundreds of acres of reef. And really guys, it’s not like they had a ton to start with.
Best guess is that it came on the bottom of a cargo ship but the reality is that it isn’t really relevant where it came from. It is literally eating the reef alive and the Bora Bora people aren’t sure what to do about it as it reproduces like a weed (or since it’s an animal, would that be like a rabbit?) Cut off a limb of and it grows back and in addition the severed limb also grows into another starfish. It is also extremely difficult to remove, hence the whole “thorns” part. Did we mention the piercing through the wetsuits? The venom? The swelling? Yeah, kinda bad.
2) The Heiva festival. What is Heiva? Ok so once a year all the pacific islanders get together for a giant, as some of our Texan friends would probably put it, “ho-down throw down.” (no idea if Texans actually use those words but it sounds good so we’re going with it.) We were very lucky that French Polynesia hosted a part of this year’s competition and we were around to see a small part of it.
Why do they do this? Well, assuming “because it’s freaking awesome to watch” isn’t good enough reason for you how about to preserve their already rapidly dwindling cultural heritage? Unlike our previous experiences with Polynesian dance this was not a school or a professionally done show for tourists. These were Pacific Islanders, dancing in a completion judged by Islanders, primarily watched by Islanders from all over the South Pacific. In other words, this was not a “tourist thing”; this was the real deal.
Part exotic dance, part precision drill squad and part historic relevance set to a kicking island beat, this was an amazing experience to witness:
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