Bora Bora – Day 4: Sea Turtles and a 4×4 Expedition!

I awoke super early once again and scampered outside (with coffee) to watch the sunrise from our deck. I love being a morning person!IMG_2377

IMG_2374Pretty soon David joined me outside. Today marked our 10-year wedding anniversary! We felt fortunate and grateful and were counting our blessings… and then this guy stopped by. IMG_2387How serendipitous that this funky seagull wanted to hang out with us! So, the THREE of us chilled out and enjoyed the rest of the sunrise together. Mr. Funky Seagull was busy watching for fish but was also rather tame, as you can see by how close I got to him with my iPhone.

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Funky aside, on the agenda for today were some cool things: 1) watching sea turtles being fed and 2) going for a 4×4 safari around the island!

We had a lovely breakfast and then headed over to the adjacent Bora Bora Turtle Center to watch sea turtles get their own breakfast. Sea turtles throughout French Polynesia that are sick or injured are (if they are lucky) brought to this rehabilitation center to get medical care and protection. They are such neat creatures with sweet faces!

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When we left we spotted this amazing EEL in the water!!! Isn’t he crazy looking?

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Our next adventure began at 1pm. We had to catch the ferry to go to the main island pier in the town of Vaitape. It was there that we were going to go on our first scheduled activity, a 4×4 tour of the island! When we got off the boat in Vaitape we found that we were the only ones going on the expedition, so it turned out to be a personal off-road tour!!! The outfit was Tupuna Mountain Safari and Cy was our awesome driver. He took us around the entire island in this diesel Land Rover.IMG_2433

It was interesting to see the main island from multiple vantage points. Bora Bora is actually a bit poor and there are street dogs everywhere, which was kind of sad, yet fascinating to see. Minus doggies, here is a quick video of what it was like to drive on the main street in town.

At one point, we took a turnoff and began our first off-road adventure of the day. We went to the top of a mountain where the radio tower was. The view was spectacular!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

…and we were psyched to see it. 🙂OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We made our way back down the mountain and went to The Farm Bora Pear Company. IMG_2432Here we learned all about the top export of French Polynesia, black pearls! Come to find out, what goes into growing them is quite complex. Pearl farm growers never really know what they’re going to get – there are so many shapes, sizes, colors, lustres and qualities. My favorite color was the rainbow-ish “Peacock” color. Who knew that black pearls weren’t just, well, black?!?

After the interesting and educational stop at the farm, we got back on the road that circles the island. We made another side trip to go off-roading up another mountain. I couldn’t believe how the Land Rover could get through the deep, thick mud. David took a lot of footage but it’s really shaky, as it was a wild ride. However, this short clip gives you an idea of some of the fun we had on the trail.

We stopped at an artist house to see their beautiful fabric paintings and tie-died pareos. There’s a zillion ways to tie these pareos into different outfits! Here I am getting help with Example A:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA …and yeah, I bought it. 😉

Onward! Next stop on our off-road adventure were a few of the cannons from World War 2. You see, the United States chose Bora Bora as a military supply base back then! Seven huge guns were set up at strategic points around the island to protect against a military attack. An attack never actually happened but the guns were shot in routine drills to ensure they worked properly. When they went off, EVERYONE on the island could feel it! Check this thing out…

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…and guess where it was made? At Bethlehem Steel in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania!!!!!

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After exploring around the guns and bunker we made our way back down the mountain to the main road once again. We asked Cy a huge favor… to take us to a grocery store! In my research before our trip, I learned that a lot of tourists had gone grocery shopping in Bora Bora to offset the insane prices of food, and we followed suit. We had brought our empty backpacks and were ready to fill ’em up! Cy took us to the Super U market. He kindly helped us find different snacks and the best deal on bottled water. Baguettes are a local staple for every meal in Bora Bora and they are in constant supply. We grabbed a fresh, hot one for ourselves. Cy then took us back to the docks where we thanked him for our amazing adventure (including the grocery store trip!) and then we hopped on the ferry back to Le Meridien.

Once “home” we munched on the delicious baguette and some tuna while we recounted all the fun we had over the course of the day. That night we were looking through the glass floor (as usual!) and David spotted what looked like a really fat starfish! In this photo I’m taking a picture of him, taking a picture of it – lol!IMG_2447

And below, you can see it on the right (along with a visiting fish on the bottom left). The creature  wasn’t a starfish though. Honestly, it looked like a star-shaped rock and it moved very, very slowly. What was this oddity? Stay tuned and you’ll find out!!!

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