French Polynesia (Tahiti & Bora Bora)

9/19 -- 9/24/2023

[Gallery] [Back to Photo Page]


French Polynesia is an overseas collectivity of France and its sole overseas country.    It comprises 121 geographically dispersed islands and atolls stretching over more than 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) in the South Pacific Ocean.  European encounters began in 1521 when Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan sighted Puka-Puka in the Tuāmotu-Gambier Archipelago.  British explorer Samuel Wallis became the first European navigator to visit Tahiti in 1767 and another British explorer James Cook arrived in 1769 (for observing the transit of Venus).   French Catholic missionaries arrived on Tahiti in 1834.  In 1842, Tahiti and Tahuata were declared a French protectorate, to allow Catholic missionaries to work undisturbed. The capital of Papeetē was founded in 1843. In 1880, France annexed Tahiti, changing the status from that of a protectorate to that of a colony.  In 1946, Polynesians were granted French citizenship and the islands' status was changed to an overseas territory; the islands' name was changed in 1957 to PolynÚsie Franšaise (French Polynesia).  In 1977, French Polynesia was granted partial internal autonomy; in 1984, the autonomy was extended. French Polynesia became a full overseas collectivity of France in 2003.

Getting there ...

We were just back from Katmai, Alaska 2 days ago (9/17) because I planned the Katmai trip more than 18 months ago due to its lottery system.  In early 2023, Woanyu reminded me that it will be our 30th anniversary in mid-September this year, and she did not think Alaska was a "romantic" place for this occasion.  Therefore, I planned this trip to visit Tahiti and Bora Bora, two of the most popular islands in French Polynesia, as the celebration for our Pearl Anniversary.

We had an 8-hour direct flight from San Francisco at 1:30PM and arrived at Papeete, Tahiti at about 7PM (local time).  After a quick McDonald's dinner and a long wait for our rental car at the airport, we went to the hotel (a simple motel next to the airport) for our first night.

 

Day 2 (9/20) ...

Tahiti is the highest and largest island in French Polynesia.  Formed of two ancient volcanic cones, Tahiti is particularly striking because of its dramatic silhouette, which rises 7,352 feet (2,241 meters) above sea level.  The northwestern portion is known as Tahiti Nui ("big Tahiti"), while the much smaller southeastern portion is known as Tahiti Iti ("small Tahiti") or Taiʻarapū.

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

   

 

 

   

Day 3 (9/21) ...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 4 (9/22) ...

The Bora Bora island is one of the most popular islands in French Polynesia.  The island’s name, the Tahitian spelling of which is Pora Pora, means “First Born”.  Bora Bora was formed over seven million years ago by a volcano.  The main island is surrounded by a lagoon and a barrier reef. In the center of the island are the remnants of an extinct volcano, rising to two peaks, Mount Pahia and Mount Otemanu; the highest point is at 727 m (2,385 ft).  Today, Bora Bora is a major international tourist destination, famous for its seaside (and even offshore) luxury resorts.

 

 

 

 

Day 5 (9/23) ... 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I originally booked an Aqua bike tour (an underwater scooter) which can offer a unique diving experience to discover the marine life of the Bora Bora Lagoon for anyone without any diving experience including non-swimmers!  Unfortunately the tour was canceled due to bad weather condition.  Instead, we booked a "Marine Romance" spa experience for 2 persons in an overwater spa suite, which includes a glass of champagne for each of us while doing a deep aromatherapy bath in a big Jacuzzi, relaxing massage for 80 minutes, and free access to all spa facility like steam baths, outdoor spas, and cold water pool, etc.

 

Day 6 (9/24) ...

 

 

The onsite Lagoonarium is a protected habitat and coral nursery that is home to a thrilling array of marine creatures.  We walked into the lagoon and were surrounded by many fish immediately.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Going Home ...

When I got up early this morning, I checked our flight status and found the Air Tahiti flight from Bora Bora back to Papeete Tahiti was scheduled to delay for more than an hour (from 6PM to later than 7PM).  It will put our connecting flight back to US (departing at 9:10PM) very risky.  However, I could not find any earlier direct flights from Bora Bora to Tahiti (the only available flight I could find would leave Bora Bora at 10:30AM with 3-island hops and would take more than 7 hours to get to Tahiti).  After consult with the hotel staff, we found a new local airline Air Moana (just made its inaugural flight in February 2023) which had a perfect flight at 5PM.  I was glad we made the flight change because we later found our original Air Tahiti flight did not get to Papeete until almost 9PM. 
Although the weather was not so good for a few days in French Polynesia this time (the local staff said it's very rare to have such kind of rainy days in September...), it's still a good trip to relax in the paradise especially for celebration our 30th anniversary!

 

 


[Back to Photo Page] [Gallery]