Breathtakingly Beautiful Bora Bora
– Laurette Veres
photography by Tom Flynn
Honeymoon a la Nicole Kidman and Kate Walsh on the secluded, mystical isle of Bora Bora.
This past spring we were privileged to experience the allure of this French Polynesian island first-hand. We couldn’t dream up a more majestic place to celebrate the beginning of a new life together.
When we landed in Bora Bora, a private yacht picked us up from the airport and escorted us to the only over-water lobby on the island at the Bora Bora Nui Resort and Spa. Our private over the water bungalow was situated on a little islet, or motu as locals call them. We were just off the coast of Bora Bora and our room directly faced the enchanting island. The walls of our hut were covered in solid, dark wood and authentic Polynesian artwork. The glass paneled patio floor, living room end tables, and bathtub paneling all looked directly into the ocean floor. The roof was pitched 16 to 20 feet above our heads giving the room a palatial, majestic aura. Every night we slumbered in a large canopy bed surrounded by white linens that created a private, intimate shelter.
Relaxation, recreation, and rejuvenation were all we thought about during our time at the resort. Sweeping ocean views, the largest infinity pool on the island, and hillside treatment rooms at the full spa were just some of the reasons we fell madly in love with Bora Bora.
From snorkeling to kite surfing, the island is a paradise for water sport lovers. We joined Maohi Nui Tours for a lagoon excursion. They picked us up in a red, flower-encrusted boat piloted by an authentic Polynesian warrior. His long bushy hair, tanned tattooed body, and tribal dress were slightly intimidating at first. More than once he looked over and snarled, “Who’s for lunch?”
We first snorkeled through a magnificent coral garden. Next, we swam with and fed stingrays with our bare hands. We floated past the island’s protective reef into 30-foot crystal clear water. The water boiled as our warrior guide threw some fish nuggets overboard. The dorsal fins of large sharks zipped past our boat. “Into the water,” our guide ordered us. “You stay in boat, I bite.”
Scary? Yes. Incredible? Absolutely. There were thousands of tropical fish and about 15 black tip sharks ranging from four to six feet in length. They swam next to us, at us, snuck up behind us, and darted out from under us. At first we hug the hull of the boat for dear life (like that’s going to save us!). Gradually we swam out into the open ocean. Far below, a giant shadow slipped out of our view only to return later with a friend. Lemon sharks six to sixteen feet swam along the ocean floor searching for dinner. We spent thirty minutes swimming with sharks, yet the memory will last a lifetime.
Our warrior changed into festive tribal garb as he steered the boat with his feet and played an eight-string ukulele. He sung traditional chants and ended with “Stand by Me” as the boat docked on a private beach. He rolled back banana leaves from a hole in the ground and finally showed us who’s for lunch—a Polynesian barbecue. Half of a pig, breadfruit, bananas, poi, and chicken with spinach had been roasting all morning. Raw tuna mixed with slaw and assorted chilled fruits were ready for us on a small table. No silverware here, hibiscus leaves were our plates. Ice-cold beer accompanied our feast. After our warrior shared stories and lessons from his grandfather, we sailed back to our resort to the hum of his soft voice and melodic ukulele.
As we mourned our impending departure on our last evening in Bora Bora, we looked up and saw the famous constellation, the Southern Cross—a textbook finish to our picturesque, starry-eyed getaway.
From the dramatic scenery to the once-in-a-lifetime adventure, Bora Bora is unequivocally a paradise for honeymooners.