Get Away With Fran

May 5, 2010

In the water with sharks in Bora Bora on Paul Gauguin cruise

Filed under: Cruise — admin @ 5:51 pm


Okay, ready. Get the theme from “Jaws” in your head. Think shark.

Now combine that with the musical “South Pacific,” and views of the most gorgeous island on earth, Bora Bora, with its impressive volcanic peaks and sea in all kinds of shades of blue and green and swaying palm trees and the silkiest of white sands.

And yup, you pretty much have my day. Well, add a few friendly stingrays to the mix and a bunch of different kinds of fish – Bora Bora serves up an undersea world well worth exploring too.


Five of us headed off from our ship, the Paul Gauguin, with Ringo Tours (you can book them via the InterContinental Bora Bora Le Moana Resort) in a six-person boat in search of sharks. And when we found them, we got in the water and snorkeled with them.


No worries, these were small black-tip sharks (about 4 feet long), more interested in the sardines proffered by our boat captain, Aree, than in us.

Still when four are nearby, that voice in your brain goes “shark.” So I stayed back when some of my companions ventured further, and that’s when I noticed a much bigger shark hanging out way below in the 32-foot sea. Turns out he was a lemon shark (maybe 10 feet long).

I watched him for awhile and he seemed to notice me too. I knew he was probably harmless, but when he circled back for a closer look, I decided it was time to scurry back up on the boat.


I was a little more comfortable getting cozy with stingrays. When Aree, after some singing on his ukulele, steered the boat to a waist-high spot of water, big gray discs started to appear.


We jumped into the sea and the stingrays rubbed against us, like dogs looking to be petted, their skin velvety smooth. Even though we were on a reef in the middle of the sea, and not in some aquarium, these stingrays sensed meal time and about a dozen hung around us looking for Aree’s sardines.


A third stop on our excursion took us to a coral garden, in about 16 feet of water, which was jam packed with many kinds of fish including some decent-sized ones and beautiful colorful coral. A fourth stop offered the same.


After all that snorkeling, we headed to a private motu, where lunch was served in a hidden cove, and we’re talking a gourmet lunch with a cold bucket of champagne awaiting, with breathtaking views everywhere. I can’t imagine Captain James Cook, the first westerner to sight these shores (the Paul Gauguin actually anchors in the same inlets as Cook) ever imagined tourists here could have it this good.

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