I’ve never been to a Club Med before, so I’m not sure how to take the whole game-time scheduled-activity thing. I’m betting that in a different environment, it may be more fun, but in paradise it seemed rather silly. Who wants to leave the beach (or bar) to play games with the staff? We avoided the group time as much as possible and I think most others did the same. In fact, it was the other major time-watching stressor — avoiding game time and tournament time at the lodge. It wasn’t exactly what we were there for :).
As the pictures show, it was intensely beautiful. I’ve never seen water so many intense shades of royal blue & turquoise. The color was so intense that whether when you were wading near the shore, snorkeling, or playing in the waist deep waters, it looked the same as from a distance. Anyone who lives on the Great Lakes can tell you it doesn’t work like that here. Because of the reefs and lagoons, the water was VERY calm, crystal clear and you only had to go as deep as mid-thigh to see fish and coral while snorkeling.
The weather was the same every day except the last day or two. The first 6 days were sunny in the AM and shady in the PM with a very steady breeze which blew all day and all night from the same direction. Since our resort was in the shadow of the volcano in the center of the island, we got our sun during the morning and the chilly shade in the afternoon. About halfway through our trip we decided to catch the boat to the motu, which was phenominally beautiful. Most of the best pictures were of Bora Bora from the motu. Unfortunately for us, it was out of the shade of the volcano and even through 3 applications of SPF 45, we were completely roasted by the equatorial sun. It ended up being okay because the wind started to change directions, bringing a little colder air and a bit of rain with it. We could lay around miserable and not worry too much about wasting what little time we had left–it was raining anyway.
The highlight of our trip was incidentially, the day that that stressed me out the most because I was afraid we had missed the last boat back to the the resort, and the last day we had any fun. In hindsight, it was probably the most enjoyable day of all. We normally spent the mornings in the warm sun & water and the afternoons in the shade of the central volcano. On a warm bright sunny Wednesday morning, we decided to see what the Motu was all about. A motu is a little island on the outer rim of Bora Bora. It has the open ocean (usually) on one side and the lagoon on the other. After lunch we boarded a boat with a bunch of other people from the Club Med and rode over to the motu.
We plodded our way down the gangplank splashed through the water to reach the motu. We wandered to the left as far as we were able and found a house under construction. It was kind of funny to be on paradise and see a BobCat scurrying around the beach moving earth. We wandered back the way we had come and found a bunch of pavillions and some private cabins. We went as far a way from everyone else as we could before it got rocky. It was stunningly beautiful–the warm breeze blowing, warm turquoise water lapping at the shore, hermit crabs crawling along the sandy beach. Most of the pictures were taken that day from the motu.
On Thursday or Friday, we visited the village. The bus dropped us off near the ferry dock to the airport and there are about 10 buildings to the left, 15-20 to the right and that’s it. Only the nearest 15 were “fudge” shops (i.e. tourist stores). There are lots of Black Pearl stores on the island and many of them will come get you from your hotel if you call. There were also lots of t-shirt/pareo shops, postcard, etc stores and a few with nicer knick-knack local art kind of things. We went through the town and found the grocery store and the school. It seems that gym class sucks the world around–there were little polynesian kids running laps barefoot around the basketball court.
I think I counted that I read 15 books on that vacation and Al read 5. Things to note for next time?
– pack less – I wore the same 3 things all week long.
– wheeled luggage is a PITA to haul through airports.. especially if you have more than one! One bag each- backpack style travel bags would be much better suited… I’ll give a full report when we return from our next vacation in a month or two.
– remember to bring an extra bag or leave extra room in the suitcase for trinkets. We were packed full on the way there and had a heck of a time getting things back.