Today is the day that we do our Shark and Ray cruise tour around Bora Bora. We are a bit excited and a little nervous and really don’t know what to expect. People I know honeymooned here about 6 months before our trip and said that it was their best day. We had to do it, or something similar.
Shark tour, whoop
We did have breakfast, I am sure. I lost all of my notes from our stay and I haven’t written these days up previously. Tikehau was posted but I lost everything on Bora Bora. I had a lot of notes, specifically on this tour. Anyway, I am also sure we set off reasonably early for our half day shark and ray tour.
There is a few people in the boat. Couples, families, us. It isn’t super crowded and everyone seems to want to keep to their own group. Which is fine. No small talk here.
We apply sunscreen, generally get ourselves ready. The first stop is sharks just outside the reef wall, in the deep blue.
When we arrive, sharks are just circling the boat, they are everywhere. Someone asks if we are Australian as they have hear us talk, as our boat moves in to position. Triston answers that we are and then we hear about the movie. The one based on a true story. You know, on the great barrier reef. The tour company just left them behind.
While we hear the entire plot of Open Water, we are sat stationary waiting. We are both standing ready to get in but others are in the way of the stairs. The tour leader/boat driver person asks if anyone is actually getting in. We have been waiting for those at the front. Hearing about the true story behind Open Water was interesting the first time you hear it, the movie is as boring as watching paint dry. Listening to someone recite the movie, I may as well have the golf channel on the radio. Boring!
Meet the sharks
Triston half shouts that he will get in if no one else is, if they will move. The guy who has been rambling on about people being eaten by sharks then says that it makes sense for the Australians to get in first. What about that makes sense. We live in the country where these people were supposedly eaten by sharks and have just heard about every shark attack in the last few years. Yes, there was a few in a short time. So why should we be the first in?
Reality is that we enjoyed swimming with them on Tikehau so can’t wait to do it again. There doesn’t appear to be any or many at least at our resort so if we don’t get in we may not get a chance again. We get in. Slowly, eventually, so very slowly, others follow. They literally take so long to get in that this part of the tour is almost over before they step off the ladder. One or two people say no. It is deep water, they are afraid of sharks and their inability to swim. Fair enough.
Next, we move just inside the reef wall. Shallow water and all of the other boats await us. We are here to meet stingrays, yes, the thing that killed Steve Irwin, let’s all hear about that on the short ride over. We aren’t bothered but others are actually scared so these stories don’t really help. He may have been ok if he didn’t pull the barb out, did that calm anyones nerves. I don’t think so but I did say it.
We arrive and some eager sharks come rushing over. I guess all the other boats haven’t fed them enough. Sharks, sharks and more sharks. Oh, there are some stingrays too.
Meet the rays
This time everyone gets in. I find the sharks ok but the stingrays are pushy and strong and really demanding.
The guide has some fish and he is hand feeding some rays to bring them closer to our boat.
Then he starts giving some out to others so they can feed the rays. Triston has a go. It is more difficult than he imagines because their mouth isn’t where he decided it should be.
The guide gives him a little help and he is chuffed. The water is so clear you don’t really have to get out of the boat but you may as well because you can’t hand feed the rays from the boat.
Then, this really, um, almost trip ruining thing happens. Well, it almost happens and if it happened it would have ruined ours and everyone elses trip.
I am given food to feed the stingray. It comes at Triston and kind of circles away in a rage so I hold the food in the water as it circles back. Trying to get its attention. I have the food not Triston.
So while I am holding the food out, Triston decides he will film me feeding the ray to show where the mouth is.
As we are both waiting the ray, this little fish is having a nibble. I feel it pulling down. Finally our ray is coming back around and out of the corner of my eye I see something behind me. The jaws theme plays in my mind.
The ray had taken too long to come back around and a shark snatches the fish from my hand. I am holding on only with the tips of my fingers but as my mind processed the shark coming, I raised my hand.
Feed the shark, do do do do do
A few other people see it and they say something. They kind of worry if I am bleeding because they think it will start a frenzy. I let go of the fish just as the shark for it so I wasn’t really near his teeth. Lucky I saw him coming though because he was behind me and he was getting it whether I was ready or not.
And then mr ray arrived, looking for the food he had promised. I no longer had any food. He corralled the troops and they pushed me around a bit but eventually they left me alone.
Triston still goes on about how I hand fed a tame but wild shark and I shouldn’t have. He is sure it is really bad. Feeding them to encourage them to be in one spot is one thing. Doing it by hand is a whole different thing.
Soon after that we are off to our next spot. This is to see manta rays. The big ones. We see them and even though we are inside the lagoon the water is deep. The mantas dive down deep. Some people swim over the top of them to take photos. I was in the boat, one of the last to get out, I really should have stayed in. For us, on that day, the view was better from the boat.
Our final stop before lunch was a snorkel spot over a coral farm. It was pretty. There were eels. Lots of fish. This spot was pretty far from our resort. Far being relative to the small size of Bora Bora.
This is the best thing about Bora Bora
We head to lunch but we complete the loop around the centre island before landing on a nice sandy beach. This is on the same Motu as our resort but around the corner so we can’t see it and it feels private even though it isn’t.
The circle of the island and this day tour generally has affirmed our belief that the water bungalows are not very private. We have been able to see into every one, their pool, their bathrooms for the most part. We see people on their beds, people reading books, people rushing to close curtains.
Some people appear to have convinced themselves that there is too much reflection on the glass or that maybe the glass is tinted and we can’t see in. No, we can see every single movement through the glass. And there will be a never ending line of boats to come. Plus this tour runs in the afternoon and there is the all day version. Let alone any of the other various water activities. It seems a whole lot of money and time spent to get here to have every man and his dog gawk at you on holiday. You have to remember that the boats don’t stop at night.
So we dock at the beach and are greeted but some stingrays. Triston comments that we didn’t need to go on the tour we could have just walked over here.
Over lunch we made some friends. Well, I tried. There was a honeymoon couple from America and one of the first things they said was they didn’t have an underwater camera and wished they did.
Did we make friends in Bora Bora?
After trying to draw them in to a conversation that they didn’t really want to have I said that they were welcome to have our photos if they would like. They would be in some but also they could see their memories, it just so happens they didn’t take those photos. Same day, someone else holding the camera.
They were so shocked by that, I don’t know why. I guess people in the real world are only thinking of themselves. I am glad to live in a relatively tame and decent fairytale land. Anyway, we copied the photos to a USB which we were giving to them to keep and left it at their door, possibly in their mailbox, while they were at dinner.
Later we got a call, they were so appreciative we were invited to their room to share some wine. It was lovely. I didn’t have any of their wine but we learned a bit more about them and they were so super interesting. Totally deserving of a random stranger handing them something they wished they had. Sure there isn’t many selfies of them on our film roll but you know.
It was lovely to meet them. We spoke about the overwater based on their experience of being overwater. Their thoughts and we bonded over the fact that they got married on Good Friday and we got married on Easter Sunday. I hope to run into them again someday.
We did see a shark in the water. Maybe they only come to the resort at night. Once we were finished it was off to sleep, we will pack in the morning.
Bora Bora day 4 was 4 April 2018
Updated 4 October 2019