RSSC Paul Gauguin Cruising Review

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Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Pearl Beach Resort Wednesday, January 07, 2004
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Waking up in the Tropics

Headed To Bora Bora

I awoke at 7:00 a.m. to an overcast sky with intermittent periods of sunshine. This is typical for a Tahitian summer, especially for Papeete which has lots of rain this time of year. A new feature of my travel writings will be using my GPS to get fixes on where landmarks are in addition to some fun information. After resetting the GPS (so it has some idea where in the world it is) I took a fix on the beach directly between the over-the-water huts and the resort. 17 deg 38. S latitude and 149 deg 36.758 W longitude. Sunrise was at 5:41 a.m. and sunset will be at 6:39 p.m. local time. The Moon rises from the east at 7:12 p.m. and sets at 5:30 a.m. (phase is full Moon). It is 5,663 miles to the waypoint I set up at my condo, in downtown Madison. I am using a 220V converter that comes as an accessory kit to recharge and power my PowerBook. In case you do not have plugs, there is a 110V/220V shaver outlet in the bathroom which is pretty universal around the world, so if all else fails, you have backup power. Generally, these outlets are not rated for high current draw, but the work perfect for low consumption devices, such as cameras and portable computers.

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Movie-Bora Bora Huts and Beach

Relaxing Morning by the Pool

Bora Bora Airport Shuttle to Viatape on the Main Island

After a bit of tan action, I had a nice lunch at the restaurant in Le Meridien comprising of some tuna sashimi and a cheeseburger. The open air restaurant overlooks a reflecting pool and the beach. Checkout time is 11:00 a.m. If you plan on checking out later, then notify the desk people or your room swipe card will not work. Le Meridien also offers internet service at 1000 CFP (I guessed per hour, but was not sure). Remember now, most internet access abroad is Window's based, and in French countries, you have that pesky French keyboard, with misplaced characters.

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Movie-Bora Bora Lagoon

Departure to Bora Bora

Society Islands From The Air

Tahiti Travel arranged a ride for me, and the driver picked me up on time and about 20 minutes later was checking in. It's a nice touch to have the driver walk you right up to the counter for check-in. There's no air-conditioning in the airport, so wear something light. I actually checked to see if there was a WiFi network at the airport-- there is not.

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Movie- Bora Bora - Hut Outside 2

45 Minutes to Paradise

Commuter Flight

The flight aboard the ATR twin engine turbine prop took a total flight time of 45 minutes, and passed by Moorea, Raiatea, Taha'a and finally the island of Bora Bora. The horizon was full of cumulus clouds with numerous buildups which were resulting in very localized showers. Where the Sun could peak through, it illuminated the turquoise waters surrounding the islands. Words cannot truly describe the myriad of colors.

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Movie- Bora Bora - Hut Inside

Gateway to Paradise

Welcome To Bora Bora

The airport at Bora Bora (BOB) was first build by the US military during W.W.II. Now it is the most romantic airport in the world, with the dormant volcanic peaks of Bora Bora in the background. Luggage is taken to the open-air terminal via a small farm tracker, and the luggage handlers play bocce-ball to pass the time while the small commuters are unloaded. The resorts all have representatives there at the airport, and since the airport is on an off-island, a resort launch takes you to your destination. There is also a big power cat for those going to the main port in Bora Bora. After about 30 minutes, I was checking into the Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort.

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Movie- Bora Bora - Hut Bathroom

Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort

My Hut - Bungalow 34

With the halo cloud-encrusted peaks of Bora Bora as a backdrop, the Pearl Beach Resort is one of the most beautiful locations in the world. The resort is comprised of thatched huts over the water, around the pool and garden huts with their own Jacuzzi's. The check in was brief and I was soon being escorted to my premium over-the-water hut, number 34.

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Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort

Polynesian Resort Huts

Huts Feature a See Through Coffee Table to View The Fish Below

I have to say, in all honesty, that after I was shown my hut, my hands were shaking for about an hour. The beauty and romance of Bora Bora is just magical. I lucked out, my hut is the furthest out and has a perfect view of the peaks and ever-changing waters below. It's almost too much. The hut is like Gilligan's Island meets Dom Perignon. This is luxury, over the water. The view is spectacular.

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Movie- Bora Bora - Hut Outside 1

Cocktail Hour

Bar At The Pearl Beach Resort

After unpacking a bit, and trying to absorb my new fantastic surroundings, I journeyed to the bar for some drinks. I did notice my ship, the m/s Paul Gauguin anchored in the distance (this being day two of her stay in her weekly visit to Bora Bora). After an hour of drinks, I headed back to my hut. I was going to eat in the linen tabled restaurant, but the bartender said the place was all couples and honeymooner's, so I opted to dine in. My walk back to the hut was equally magical, since the resort still had their little white Christmas Tree lights up on the palms, lining the dock, and main building.

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Movie-Bora Bora Restaurant Reflecting Pool

Moonrise

Docks Lit Up at Night

My hut is located at 16 deg 28.687 South latitude and 151 deg. 46.250 West longitude. Since it was dark already (sunset was at 6:45 p.m. local but was overcast) I turned on the under-the-hut water light which illuminates the area underneath my glass coffee table. All of a sudden, numerous fish appeared, even without making a sacrificial food offering. I went out on the deck outside, and saw a huge black shape coming towards the hut (the water is about 5 feet deep and crystal clear). Quickly I went back in the hut and peered through the coffee table-- it was a huge ray, investigating the activity. At about 7:30 p.m. the Moon rose gracefully over the peaks on Bora Bora, casting a shimmering white beam across the waters within the atoll. The dense, humid, tropical air formed a beautiful white sphere around the Moon, which was full.

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Movie- Bora Bora - Hut - Glass Coffee Table 1

Impressions

Moon Rise Over Bora Bora

It's easy to see why writers and artists alike come here for inspiration. It's almost hard not to be overwhelmed by the sheer beauty.

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Movie-Bora Catamaran and Peaks

Dinner In the Hut

Hut Service - Dinner

I ordered room service (I guess hut service would be a more appropriate term) and had a scrumptious tuna tartar with Mango sauce, Satay chicken and then a fruit plate.

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Movie- Bora Bora - Hut - Glass Coffee Table 2

Fish Watching in the Live Aquarium

Fish Feeding

After dinner, I was going to head back up to the thatched hut bar, but was too fascinated by my view of the Moon coming up behind the peaks of Bora Bora, and feeding the fish through my coffee table. I ran out of bread, so I raided the in-hut bar fridge to see what I could find. I ended up trying Pringles (of all things) and the fish loved it ! Swarms of smaller fish grouped around for the tasty treats. A flood light illuminated the water and sand below, so you could see them perfectly. So much so, that you could go outside the hut on the deck and watch dark shadows glide over the bottom. On two occasions, huge rays came in to take a look, and then to my surprise, a 3 ft. black tipped reef shark came in to investigate.

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Movie-Bora Bora Hut Coffee Table Night

Illuminated Lagoon

Dusk at the Hut

The Moon was so bright, that later on it cast its beam over the placid waters of the lagoon. Since the bottom is made up of sugary white sand the water took on a most beautiful glow. The entire ocean was this beautiful green and blue color. When a cloud masked the Moon, a huge darkness would move across the water, which was followed by the gorgeous colors yet again when the Moonbeam took aim on the crystal waters below. It's this awe that makes you step back and just admire the magic that this part of the world has to offer.

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Movie- Bora Bora - Hut - Glass Coffee Table 3

Traveling to Bora Bora

Incredible Views From The Over the Water Bungalow

If you do ever get a chance to visit this beautiful place, try to get hut accommodations, and do your best to coincide your visit with a full Moon. As for me, I just lucked out, on all accounts. By reading this, your luck will be a bit more predictable.

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Movie-Bora Bora Beach View 2

Additional Photographs: Pearl Beach Resort

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