Underwater Life, Bora-Bora
Bora Bora is known as the romantic island, but it's the blue and green water of the lagoons that make it magical! Having learned to dive in Southern California, we were accustomed to cold water temperatures (meaning full suits with extra layers) and not too great visibility. When we got into the water and started our descent, we were overwhelmed by the different experience. The water was warm (we were in spring suits, and really, didn't even need that), and we could see 60 feet to the bottom and at least that in front of us. We saw tons of rays, a school of yellow tail, sharks and a whole bunch of other exotic fish. It will be hard to dive in California again.
We did two days of diving with the same operator, Bathys/Top Dive. They picked us up from our hotel and took us to the dive center. We had a lot of our own gear, but rental equipment is included if needed. Another great thing about them is that they have 1 dive master for every group of 4 to 6 people so you never feel crowded. They also speak English. I would highly recommend booking with them if you visit Bora Bora. They also operate on some of the other islands.
There are so many different places to go snorkelling when you are on Bora Bora, that I am going to just make this a very general tip. Every hotel room in Bora Bora pretty much has gear for you to borrow, so you do not need to worry about bringing your own, but I would highly recommend going out to see all there is to see under the water. If you miss out on snorkelling, then you are really missing out on 75% of the island's sights!
Until this trip, I had always enjoyed going snorkelling, but never saw anything that put me in awe like the coral in Bora Bora. It was so colorful and diverse, I really enjoyed every minute of our small dive. I had always considered learning how to scuba dive, but I am really interested now! During our Safari Lagoon trip, the guide led us through a wonderful water pathway which had many diverse fish and coral in it. He also seemed to know the coral like the back of his hand, because randomly he would stick his hand in several pieces of coral and magically fish would pop out! Being part of an organized tour sure made my snorkelling adventure much better!
During our Safari Lagoon adventure, our guide was able to find an octopus that was swimming in the vicinity and brought it by for a little up close time with the adventurers!
This little octopus was very active! The guide would bring it over to us and put it on our hands like below, then it would take quite a grip to have him un-suck himself from you!
(Note: No Octopi were harmed in the making of this tip)
Continuing with the Safari Lagoon theme of my other tips, I would definitely also recommend getting in the water with some of the French Bread or donuts that your guide will provide you with to feed the fish.
You will be surprised as fish come from every direction for a little food! Although I had seen most of these types of fish near our lagoon bungalow, I was completely shocked at how much larger these fish were compared to the ones hanging out below our bungalow!
This is a kind of outdoor aquarium with the fishes and animals from the lagoon. The amazing thing about this place, you can go in the water.
Book for a full day, you will et a fantastic meal and so many long lasting souvenirs: part of the program is a tour of bora-bora, ray & shark feeding, snorkelling (best spot on the island), feeding turtles, swimming with sharks and rays inside the lagoonarium ...
The staff is really nice and know what they are doing. The atmosphere is relaxed
Don't forget to take an underwater camera, your friends and family will never believe you :-)
They also have some nice souvenirs to take home.
It is very easy to see tropical fishes in Bora Bora. Find some rocks under which they can hide, put on your snorkel gear, and in no time you'll see them swim along in their blue, yellow or red colours… Magical moment !
We found a great spot just in front of the Bora Bora Hotel. The water was quite shallow and the sun illuminated the sea bed perfectly. We even saw a crab on a rock who seemed to be more curious than we were :-)
I was reluctant to use the snorkel at first, and would rather hold my breath...but it is definitely more comfortable to admire the underwater show going on there :-)
Another very good spot was between the piles of our overwater bungalow. Great experience ! It's like snorkeling in your garden :-)) The piles were covered with moss and seaweed on which fishes feed. But the water was quite choppy, especially in the afternoon, and the visibility was not clear. It became more and more difficult to see the fishes at the bottom feeding around the rocks.
Otherwise, we also had a nice view on them through the glass-bottom table in our bugalow ;-)
During a boattour around the island we had the opportunity to see and feed the stingrays. It may sound corny, but it was fun. There were about 60 rays and a few reef sharks.