Bora Bora, French Polynesia

IMG_1005IMG_1011Blue waterIMG_0988Views from our bungalowIMG_1057This is me in front of blue lagoon.

From the moment we landed on Bora Bora I knew this was a special island.

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Isn’t it beautiful ?  This is the view I saw from the plane. Notice how on the outside of the island the water is dark blue and on the inside of the lagoon is it crystal clear.

The plane flew in on a Motu, which is an island. We took a ferry over to the mainland.  This is the view from the airport.  I loved looking at the view from the airplane of the islands, its amazing, you can see the reef and see it go from dark blue to clear inside the lagoon.  Our hotel wasn’t the best, it was on the beach and that is convenient BUT we had a bungalow was in the mix of a bunch of plantings and trees and there was  a TON of bugs, especially mosquito’s.IMG_0989this is our bungalow. Sawyer and Dad slept in one bungaow and Me and Mom in another because only 2 people per bungalow can fit.  The other day I opened my chapstick because my lips were chapped, after I put it on I noticed that there were two dozen small ants crawling around in the chapstick….it was so gross and I realized it after I used it , I rushed to the bathroom to rinse out my mouth…I honestly don’t know how the ants crawled in the chapstick. It was not a pleasant moment (for all I know I might have swallowed some ants).

IMG_0995 these are the views from our beach front area.  Thats me on a floating chair. It was meant to be in the water and me and Sawyer had a lot of fun trying to surf on the chair and not tip over. It’s harder than it looks, we had a good time. Each day we snorkeled outside our beach, there was a bunch of mini coral reefs here and there.  I spotted a family of 7 Eagle Rays and a few stingrays.  As we were snorkeling DAD yelled “Riley come quick” I swam over there as fast as I can, before I knew it we were looking at a Moray EEL, we looked at it for 10 minutes before it hid in the reef.  A Moray EEL is green and has a vicious looking head with sharp teeth. It is skinny but long.

can you see why it looks vicious. These pictures are from the internet of the EEL.

FUN FACT: EEL’s like to make their home inside the coral reef, most of the time they are hiding and emerge to kill and eat. .

IMG_1000we enjoyed looking at the Over Water Bungaloes.

IMG_1002these are the famous Over the Water bungalow’s that Bora Bora is known for. The people that stay here pay more for one night in these bungalows than we did for 4 days.   They are located in all the fancy hotels.  We did not stay in the resort but it was located directly next to our hotel so we just walked over and explored. (Don’t tell anyone because we weren’t supposed to be there).  We ended up snorkeling in the water below here almost every day.  I saw sting rays bury themselves in the sand at the bottom of the ocean.  They do this to try and camaflague themselves and find food.

FUN FACT: Eagle Ray’s have white spots are their back and are a diamond shape and sting rays are more round.   Sting rays and Eagle Rays have  mouth’s that are on the bottom side of them so they are bottom feeders , creeping along the ocean floor when hungry. 

One day we took a boat excursion that circled the entire island of Bora Bora, it lasted 6 hours and we stopped in a lot of places.  We got to see the island and lagoon from the water and the blue water of Bora Bora is amazing.  We first snorkeled with sting rays.  I love petting the sting rays.  I all ready wrote about doing this in Moorea too.

Our next stop was at a beautiful reef called “coral gardens” we saw SO MANY CLAMS.  I lost count but at least 100.  no exaggeration. Also beautiful coral and colorful fish. I was fasinated with the clams, I got a piece of coral that was floating around and poked  at the opening of them .  I liked watching them close up, it was really interesting.  Sometimes the clam would bite down very hard on the coral stick and wouldn’t let go.  Good thing I didn’t use my finger.

I saw clams in all colors, green, purple, blue, shades of brown and a bunch of tie dye clams.  We saw big ones and baby ones.

IMG_1040IMG_1057some other stops on our boat included viewing Reef sharks and Black Tip sharks /  We snorkeled in deep water for this looking down about 30 or 40 feet at these black tip sharks.  Mom was a little scared because there were a lot of them but I wasn’t.  These sharks were 10 feet long at least. The little reef sharks were 4 feet long and I swam pretty close to them.this photo taken from the internet.  Cool Huh? After a bunch of snorkeling stops our boat stopped on a Motu to have a lunch buffet. There were some Tahitian food that was good. We got to see a demonstration of how to survive living off coconuts.  I tasted shreaded coconut fresh from the coconut.

FUN FACT: if you grab a handful of shreaded fresh coconut shavings you can squeeze it in your hand to make milk.

I was snorkeling in a logoon and saw lots of clams, I poked every single one I saw.

IMG_1008here is Dad waving.IMG_1048

 

After the coconut demonstration a famous person from Bora Bora who is the Champion coconut tree climber (they have contest every year where one person from each island goes to Tahiti to compete in climbing up a coconut tree first)  This guy did it in 10 seconds with no equipment.  It was really cool, you can tell he’s been doing this since he was a kid. Sawyer and I wanted to try it but didn’t get to.IMG_1005

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I am so glad I am with my family on this trip because I have a good time with them. And I love playing with Sawyer..even though we do get into fights sometimes.

Bora Bora is a amazing place. it is so beautiful.  I cant get over how blue the water is.  Its not even blue its see through.  When I get older I want to came back to the French Polynesia because its such an awesome place to be.

FUN FACTS:

The English word ‘tattoo’ comes from the Tahitian word ‘tatau’.

 The Tahitian alphabet contains only 13 letters: the vowels a, e, i, o, u and the consonants f, h, m, n, p, r, t and v.

 Noticed that there is no b in the Tahitian alphabet? That’s why Bora Bora is actually Pora Pora, meaning first-born, but early visitors heard it as Bora Bora.

 Bora Bora is known as The Romantic Island, Moorea as The Magical Island and Tahiti as Queen of the Pacific

Tahitian words for Hello .  yanana

Tahitian word for thank you. maururu

My email is rileymeckley@yahoo.com .

 

 

 

 

MOOREA, French Polynesia

IMG_0916MOOREA

This is what Moorea looks like from the air.

We took the ferry from Tahiti to Moorea.  The ferry was 45 min. As soon as the Ferry entered the lagoon I noticed that THIS is the south pacific that I see in the pictures.  Crystal clear blue water with a reef surrounding the island.  Took a public bus to our Bungalow.  This is where we are for 5 days.  A cool bungalow literally right on the beach, steps away.  To be exact 12 steps to the beach.  See the small island in the distance (that is called a MOTU) we swam and snorkeled to it each day. The beaches here are very narrow, not like it is at home when you think of Jones Beach in NY or Montauk, NY but the water is the best here. Warm and so blue  and clear.  We snorkeled a lot here, all over.

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Our bungalow is awesome, although we have to sleep under a mosquito net. We are all bitten up.IMG_0931

IMG_0921this guy named Elvis, Yes that was his real name, climbed a tree to get us a coconut. We drank the milk, it tastes like flavored water. Dad really loved it.

FUN FACT:We watched a video about CORAL and learned about how coral breaths and excreats waste out of the same opening.  Coral is an animal. It lives , breaths, reproduces and dies.

Things we did in Moorea:

*sitting on our porch overlooking the water, watching a bunch of wild chickens running around.

*playing soccer with Sawyer

*Swimming and snorkeling in the ocean/ lagoon.

*went on snorkeling excursion on  a glass bottom boat.  We went around the lagoon and saw the island from another view .  Saw the fancy “Over the water ” bungalows too.  We swam with Stingrays and Reef sharks – they are harmless. The stingrays crowded around me, actually touching me, going over my shoulder and arms. At first I was freaked out but then I enjoyed touching them, they are very slippery and have a mouth on the bottom side.  The tail is as hard as a pipe. Long and has little points on it. There was about 15 stingrays and tons of reef sharks swimming around. We also saw large turtles swimming around. I enjoyed seeing the different kinds of coral and learning about them. I also saw a lot of small colorful fish. They looked very tropical.

*We did school work on the porch, and read a lot  ( I finished the “Diary of Ann frank”)

*Kayaking

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from our hotel we were able to kayak over to a small island called a motu. It  was hard to get out of the kayak and step on the island because of the millions of pieces of broken coral  it hurt my feet but I did it. The island was the size of three classrooms but had a lot of things like crabs, coral , a cave , trees , the remains of a shack , and a beach area. It felt like I had my own private island  I even planted an apple core with seedsIMG_0960IMG_0965

I brought over an apple and ate it there and buried the apple core  and seeds there.  When I get older I want to come back here to go to this island to see if my tree grew.  Now I feel like I left my mark on the world.  I would like to do something different of leaving my mark in each country in a good way.

 

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IMG_0937we had a great area to practice our soccer, as long as we avoided the wild chickens.

FUN FACT: Moorea is a volcanic island  located 12 miles from Tahiti   It is well known for its beautiful lagoons  and clear waters.  There is a variety of places to stay from budget to very fancy 

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this is me drawing a picture of the island of Moorea  I love looking out at the beautiful blue water.  I can be reached at rileymeckley@yahoo.com

 

 

 

TAHITI, French Polynesia

TAHITI, French Polynesia,

Before we got to Tahiti we had a 10 hour overnight flight that was delayed because of a man who threw up on the plane as we were about to take off.  It was so gross and we were actually sitting behind him.  The smell was so bad and Dad and Sawyer had to move seats and sit in the back of the plane.  Mom and me had to stay.  They cleaned up what they could, and sprayed all this air freshener but still gross.  He passed out again, threw up and the medical team came on the plane to take him off.  This took another 2 hours and we went back to the gate and had to wait again.  It was 1:00 am before we left.  I slept until 8:00 am when mom woke me  for breakfast.  That was good..

Tahiti, HOT HOT HOT.  Went through customs and immigration.

FUN FACTwhen you enter another country you have to fill out forms, go through a line when they check your passport, get it stamped, some countries require you to have a certain “visa” already in your passport or you can buy at the immigration office in certain countries.   Only then you can officially enter the country.   The line in Tahiti was short. The airport small.

FUN FACT: French Polynesia is made up 33 islands, this is only one island, called Tahiti, and the capital, Papeete, is located here. 

In case you don’t know how to locate French Polynesia on the world map this will help…

We will be going to other islands also.  It is not the picture postcard white sandy beaches you think of here. Read below.

Rented a car and  drove to our Hotel.  Mom and Dad explained to us that we would be staying in locally run guest houses not big Hotel chains.  We arrived at Hitimoana and it was totally different.  Our room was overlooking the water and a turtle and fish pool that was 4 steps from our door.  No air conditioning, we were so hot with just a fan on the ceiling but slept well anyway.  We had a small kitchen and went to the grocery store to stock up.  We ate here outside on the table  everyday except one.IMG_0883This is the turtle pool and our room is right behind it.IMG_0882

IMG_0884 WE had turtle races and named our turtles. There were 16 turtles in the pool. They would fight with each other and climb up on the sand platform to bask in the sun.This is Sawyer having a crepe along the road .  It is very green here.IMG_0893

The dock was where we jumped into the water and went snorkeling everyday. It was about 10 feet above the water.  There was no beach just the dock.IMG_0881

We saw a lot of small fish and an eel.  Other days we drove to the public beach, it was a black sand beach, very hot with Huge Waves and tons of local surfers.  We went there 2 days. We body surfed at one beach with the huge waves but only stayed in the shallow area.

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The best part of staying here was the family we met from London and the 2 girls, twins age 9 Natasha and Catherine.  they were real world travelers, having lived in Africa also.  They were on a 6 month trip around the world too.  We played everyday, swam, ate, raced the turtles, played at the beach,  etc. Our rooms were right next to each other.  One night we all packed into our small car (no seatbelt law here) and drove to a local dinner van along the road with the best  food. Had so much fun with them we hope to see them in New Zealand or Australia again because they are going there too. FUN FACT: In England a bathing suit is called a “Swimming costume” and the trunk of the car is called “the boot”

Natasha and Catherine , when you are reading this I want you to know I really liked playing with you guys.  Hope to see you again soon .IMG_0904Here we are.  See the guy on the outrigger canoe behind us?  These are coconuts we are holding.

IMG_0907Dinner with our new friends.

OBSERVATIONS of The Island of Tahiti:

Banana’s grow upwards.  We saw many banana and fruit trees. There was a star fruit tree outside our room .  The black sand beaches are HOT, the waves here were huge, surfers come from all over the world to surf here. There were a lot of rocks on the beaches.  The water was clear but not the blue, crystal clear you see in pictures ( I think that will be on our next islands).  There was a lot of graffiti on walls and signs and houses and fences.  It was not nice. We drove half way around the entire island.  We saw all the local houses, all one story.  We saw the schools and the bus taking kids home from school.  We saw the soccer (football it is called) field and men playing.  Sawyer and I played too.  We got to practice. The houses are either small shacks on the coast or across the street from the water.  The one road goes all around the island, you can’t get lost.  The mountains here are HUGE and they cover 90% of the island so if you are not on the coast, you are in the mountains where no one lives.  Everything is either on one side of the road or the other.

Interesting Facts:  The Money here is different, it is equivalent to $1 equals about 100 Francs.  so…1,000 francs is $10 in US money.  (About)  THe money has palm trees and fish on it.  We studies currency conversion and Sawyer and I like to figure it out.  In Tahiti, as in all parts of the world other than the US, they use International Time, which in the US we call it Military Time.  So….when it is 15:00 it is actually 3:00pm.  We learned this and liked using it. It’s hard getting used to.  Also they use Celcius  for temperature and Kilometers for distance.  That is also hard to get used to but it involves a lot of Math.

IMG_0889We will miss our turtles.

Please email rileymeckley@yahoo.com for any questions.