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Bora Bora Ocean Activities

The ultimate to-do list when visiting a tropical heaven on earth

by Ariston Anderson in Travel on 04 August 2011

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While Bora Bora might be the obvious choice for honeymooners seeking a romantic getaway, adventure-seekers the world over flock to the island for year-round activities. Beyond offering a wealth of deepwater sight-seeing for any seasoned scuba diver and an ocean pass that offers daredevil surfers the waves of their life, Bora Bora has a range of activities to please any skill level.

The plane ride from Tahiti to Bora Bora is a quick 40 minute trip. Le Méredien Bora Bora, which hosted my stay, is centrally located on the island and took care of organizing every last detail of my venture-filled stay. I woke up every morning and dove off the deck of my over-water bungalow, the only way I would recommend staying in Bora Bora, straight into the ocean for a morning of snorkeling. Beyond the enjoyment right outside my door, here are the activities I explored while on the island.

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Bora Bora Aquabiking

Imagine driving around on a cross between a Vespa and a submarine, and you'll have an idea of the aquabike experience. To get to the right spot, you need to take a boat to another part of the island where you get on a van, drive around the island, and then get on another boat and ride out to the middle of the ocean. Next, you sit down on the electric-powered bike with a friend in tow. A bowl filled with oxygen covers your head allowing you to breathe normally when fully submerged. Here's where all the effort becomes worth it as an expert diver leads you along the ocean floor to navigate around schools of fish, coral reefs and a few hidden surprises along the way. It's an entirely surreal experience, and a great way to sea the ocean floor if you're a deepsea novice. Other than one place in Mauritius, there's no where else in the world that offers the aquabike experience.

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The Marine Turtle's Protection Center

Of the many treasures in French Polynesia, few mean more to local culture than the turtle. At Le Méredien, The Marine Turtle's Protection Center has partnered with the Ministry of the Environment to serve as a rehabilitation center for injured green turtles and imbricated turtles. The expansive visiting center in the resort's private lagoon allow guests to view turtle feedings, learn about their environment and swim and snorkel among the over 100 turtles in resort waters and local channel. The opportunity to swim among these endangered species at Le Méredien is unique to French Polynesia.

Kainalu XT Paddle Boarding

To up your island workout, schedule an afternoon of paddle boarding. Led by fitness experts Kainalu XT, who come out to your hotel with full equipment in hand, they'll guide you through a workout that focuses on deep core strengthening as well as overall conditioning. Skipping the general challenge of surfing by learning to get up on a board, paddle boarding is an entertaining exercise for anyone with even a smidgen of balance. It's a rhythmic yet challenging workout, paddling in and around the bay and through bungalow bridges. The workout ends with a sunset cruise around the island, powered by your ever-energetic Kainalu XT instructors.

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Shark and Stingray Feeding

Another must-do afternoon of ocean sight-seeing: feeding a large mix of sharks and man rays in shallow ocean water. First, choose a great tour guide. We were led out to sea by Cilly (aka the Tahitian Keith Richards), who was armed with a ukulele and a do-anything attitude. Cilly is part of Tahiti tourism favorite Fanfan Excursions. After a round of snorkeling looking for the elusive Manta Rays, we threw anchor in another well-trafficked ocean spot.

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Throw some fresh French bread into the ocean and watch as you're instantly surrounded by scores of attractive fish. Then upgrade your bait to a bucket of scrum and witness a herd of black fin sharks and friendly stingrays circling in on you. Stingrays here are used to human visits and not shy to get close. You'll soon discover that one of the softest textures in all of Polynesia is the padding on a stingray's nose. A daring visitor can even ride one like a jetski. After the feeding, Cilly will sail you an islet for a traditional motu picnic of fried bread and raw fish tossed with coconut milk.

Email fanfantaxiboat [at] mail [dot] pf for more information.

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