After the excesses of Bora Bora, we spent four nights on Rangiroa, a simple island, with the world’s second largest atoll and some of the world’s best diving and snorkelling. [Open link for public domain photos of Rangirora]. We completed our month in French Polynesia, with two nights in Tahiti, before taking an Air Tahiti Nui eight-hour night flight to Los Angeles, where we broke our journey home with three days visiting family in Phoenix and three days in Vegas, that was fun!
To see our best photos, please open the following links:
The Air Tahiti flight from Bora Bora to Rangiroa took just over an hour. We were getting well used to the small turboprop planes which are ideal for the islands. It was raining quite hard when we landed, so that took the edge off the natural beauty. We were met at the airport by the owner of our small resort where we rented a bungalow. The airport is tiny with lots of chickens going about their business and the island is just a narrow strip, with the ocean one side and the lagoon the other. It’s just a couple of miles long, with two hotels and other assorted accommodation for rent, with one road the length of the island. There are limited restaurants and a couple of small supermarkets. Most of the coast is coral and there are very few beaches. It is very green and fertile with an abundance of beautiful flowers in wonderful shapes and colours.
Whilst we have seen larger displays of coral in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and India’s Andaman Islands, the abundance and variety of fish in the seas around Rangiroa is truly stunning. We were regularly snorkelling surrounded by sometimes thousands of small fish. We took a fabulous boat trip across the lagoon to the other side of the atoll. The small islands are Robinson Crusoe simplicity. We were in a large, high-powered speed boat but it still took an hour to cross the lagoon and from the center we could not see land in any direction just clusters of trees popping up at unexpected intervals and the swell made us think we were in the open ocean. Our arrival was greeted by shoals of small coral sharks. After exploring the island and the lagoon, we had a leisurely fish lunch and chatted with our fellow travellers. Alf’s French had recovered its fluency and locals and French visitors were impressed. On the way back, Alf joined a group of six ‘twenty something year olds’ and tried drift snorkelling; marilyn had her doubts so stayed on board. Basically you left the currents to carry you across the water and discover a variety of colorful marine life. But the bottom of the sea seems to be travelling surprisingly fast!
Also you might be tempted by our blog, ‘The Andaman Islands India – A New Paradise on Earth‘
Our last few days in French Polynesia we spent in a popular resort hotel in Tahiti, with stunning views of the ocean. It was great just to unwind and read a book by the pool. We also wanted to relax and conserve our energy for the marathon flight home to Cyprus.
We plan to write one more blog on French Polynesia, trying to distill our experiences and share a few tips for other travellers.