Day 20 Jan 23 (Bora Bora)

16º 30.45 S and 151º 45.50 W

Early rise, breakfast in the cabin.

Got to the theater (where they hand out passes for the tenders to get to shore) at 8:01. I was apparently late because there wasn't anyone there. I got number 3 meaning 1 and 2 were already gone. I had a brief moment of panic. We were supposed to be there at 8 AM and my SCUBA buddies were nowhere to be seen. There had been no announcement that "shore operations were commencing" so I was a bit befuddled. Unlike the day before in Moorea, they had cleared the port (paperwork, passport checks done between port authorities and Amsterdam security people) early and the 1st tender had been cleared to leave. I rushed down to where the tender boarding was to happen and it was just leaving. Another brief panic moment but the next shuttle was already pulling in so I thought about it and realized that after our failure to hook up with the dive boat yesterday my buddies would not want to wait for me and risk a repeat. Sure enough, they were waiting for me on the dock with the dive boat nearby.

We had another two dive trip. The first dive was inside the lagoon around Bora Bora. The coral here was mostly tan in color and one particular variety. Lots of sea bisquits and some interesting fish. Someone told me later that there was a lot of silt washing into the lagoon and it might account for the lack of variety and the color of the coral. Something about reduced oxygen in the water. I had to share air again with the dive master. I think I'm improving but still need to work on conserving air more than I do. We were under 42 minutes to a depth of 42 feet but if I could have done better I think it would have been longer.

The second dive was a lot more fun. We were warned that we might encounter large sharks and that they might be curious enough to come nose to nose with us but not to worry. Right! Actually, I was not scared of the prospect and the fact is that the big ones stayed at least 10-15 feet away from us. So nose to nose will have to wait for another day. Perhaps it is just as well. These dive masters (there were two on this trip because we had some other divers with us) were very confident and I just felt I could trust their judgement about the sharks. This dive was deeper, 81 feet. This time I ran out of air at about 43 minutes (well, I wasn't totally out but at that point I was low enough that the dive master pointed to the mooring line of the boat and I understood and went to it and hung out on the surface looking down at the sharks and things. Not a bad way to kill about 10-15 minutes while the others finished their dive. I was happy that my air gulping didn't cause the others to have to shorten their dives. And, considering the increased depth and that I lasted a bit longer I think I'm making progress.

We were done diving by 11:20 AM so it was back to the ship to shower and rinse off the wetsuit, mask, etc. I had a quick lunch on board and went back to the island to visit and perhaps shop a bit. We were leaving at 6 PM so I didn't want to push my luck by trying to tour the whole island but I did manage to find Bloody Mary's and try one. It was not the best Bloody Mary I've ever had but it was passable. Got a
t-shirt from there too. Bora Bora was a base for the US and Allies during WWII and the name of the character in South Pacific (some of you may remember the song "Bloody Mary is the Girl I Love" from that musical) was Bloody Mary. The claim is that the drink of the same name was invented here at the bar/restaurant. Perhaps so. Origins do tend to get lost in the mist of history right Ron?

Two sea days coming up (I have actually finished writing this just before midnight on the first sea day.) Then Apia, Samoa. Many of us need the break. One of my tablemates, Daphne, has some pretty bad bronchitis. She was absent at dinner tonight (Jan 23).

More in a few days. Cheers!

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