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Author Topic: The Two-Stop Pacific Hop: Bora Bora & Melbourne (A Mrs. AJK Special)  (Read 40656 times)

Offline tzifanya54

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Re: The Two-Stop Pacific Hop: Bora Bora & Melbourne (A Mrs. AJK Special)
« Reply #60 on: December 13, 2015, 07:56:36 AM »
When and where did you get certified?
From his TR:
"We both became certified on our trip to MLE."

Offline AJK

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Re: The Two-Stop Pacific Hop: Bora Bora & Melbourne (A Mrs. AJK Special)
« Reply #61 on: December 13, 2015, 11:19:54 PM »
The airport is located on a tiny little island that contains the airport and nothing else. You must take a shuttle boat to the main island or to the island where your resort is located... unless you plan on spending your vacation in the airport. Which, I might add wouldn’t be as unlovely as say spending your vacation in JFK or in the third world country that passes itself off as an airport called Laguardia.

This “airport,” if you can call it that, has one runway, and a thatched roofed hut that doubles as check in area and baggage claim. A word about the baggage claim--No rotating, mechanized carousels here. The sign notating baggage claim is over two aluminum racks where baggage handlers (two men who literally look like I could bench press them) place your suitcases. The “parking lot” of the airport is actually a little dock where the resorts send boats to collect the incoming passengers.

[AJK: Some pictures of what might just be the prettiest airport on the planet...


DSC05295 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05283 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05286 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05287 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05288 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05293 by AJK DDF, on Flickr



[AJK: Just to give you an idea of what the above photo depicts, namely airport pickup, see below, where the larger red box corresponds to airport pickup. (The smaller red box is where the first pic, the "Aeroport De Bora Bora" sign, and one of my fav pics, was taken.)]










For those of you interested, you can make out the same sign on the pic below, though truth be told it's just another excuse to post more pictures of this wonderland:

DSC05294 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05290 by AJK DDF, on Flickr




This is how Polynesians pickup family from the airport... no Uber here!

[AJK: Our seder hayamim for BOB was as follows: First night at Intercontinental Le Moana (booked with IHG CC free night), then nights two, three, and four at the Intercontinental Thalasso (booked with points), and night five at the Intercontinental Tahiti (booked with IHG CC free night). I didn't know it at the time, but having the first night at the Le Moana was quite fortuitous as it turned out, as we'll explain.]

We were informed by the Intercontinental Le Moana that using their shuttle boat from the airport was mandatory for all guests at the low price of ~$60 per person per way.




While most people would accept this as Gospel and chalk it up to the costs of a luxury island vacation, AJK ain’t no fool. (Like I said people, always in planning mode.) AJK researched and found that there is a complimentary boat offered by Air Tahiti Nui that takes people from the airport island to the main marina on the main island, Vaitape.

We grabbed our stuff and headed thatta way. The transfer boat is a bi-level catamaran and it’s a great opportunity to have a free boat view of the islands.

DSC05289 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05316 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05299 by AJK DDF, on Flickr



We got some great shots of the main mountain on Bora Bora, Mt. Otemanu, and we tried to capture the colors of the waters. I don’t know if any of you were lucky enough as children to have a set of markers called magic markers. [AJK: These guys.] These miraculous little wonders colored in one shade and then you could roll over them with a white tipped marker that would magically transform the shade to a lighter, electric shade. Now, for those of you who are sitting at your computers nodding and saying, “oh, yeah, I remember those” good, now you know what the water in Bora Bora looks like.

For those of you who are scratching your heads, first of all, go out Target right now and buy your kids those markers because you’re a horrible parent for holding out on your kids. And, while you're at it, grab a set for yourself, they’re a lot of fun, trust me. And also, you can take a look at some of the shots taken by AJK. The water goes from a light baby blue, to electric blue to, aquamarine blue, to dark blue and back in a matter of feet creating a landscape of colors that you literally cannot look away from. (If you don’t know what color aquamarine is, then your wife was obviously not born in March, or she was and you owe her a piece of jewelry with her birthstone in it.)


DSC05311 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05314 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05309 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05310 by AJK DDF, on Flickr




The 10-15 minute boat ride was too short considering the amazing views it afforded, but we arrived at the marina in Vaitape quite quickly.




DSC05315 by AJK DDF, on Flickr



From there, we grabbed our bags and within minutes were approached by a middle-aged guy in flapping Hawaiian print shirt who offered his taxi for a ride to our hotel. We agreed, and while he loaded our things into his 1970 model Volvo, AJK walked a couple mins down the road to the Bank of Polynesia and took out about $100 in XPF.

For the total price of $20 we were deposited at the Intercontinental Le Moana instead of the $120 the hotel had insisted was their mandatory shuttle price. AJK - 1, Intercontinental - 0.



DSC05331 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05332 by AJK DDF, on Flickr



We were at the check-in desk by about 10:30 in the morning, and we were checked-in along with a few other couples (who by the way hadn’t questioned the mandatory shuttle route and had paid the $120 to take the hotel shuttle boat). We were shown to a little open-air seating area, given cool towelettes, a cold drink, and also a cool dose of reality: we were informed that check-in was not technically until 2:00 PM so we were free to wander around the resort, use the shower rooms, or just sit around for the next 3.5 hours.

Ehhhh, not quite going to work for AJK. After asking to speak with a manager, a rotund little, mustachioed man came over to us. AJK said something about admiral status, orange polka-dotted diamond membership, FBI, or things like that (I was kind of not paying attention being slightly distracted by the shining waters of the Pacific spread out in front of me.) But either way, the important thing is that we were immediately shown to our villa after a little tour of the resort provided by a lovely French girl who was interning there for six months from Paris.

Finding our luggage already safely ensconced in our beach front villa, we quickly looked around our new thatch-roofed home and found it quite lovely. We spent a little time exploring the villa and the beautiful beach in front of it. The ocean is literally ten feet off the back porch that has some lounge chairs and a little table and chairs for beachfront dining.

DSC05319 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05321 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05322 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05323 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05324 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05325 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05326 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05327 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05328 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05329 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05330 by AJK DDF, on Flickr



We then set off to ensure that our cooler had made it to the hotel freezer and to check out the day’s activities. Mind you, we passed the other guests who had paid to be transported by the hotel’s shuttle, sitting gamely at the bar, drinking away the fact that they would have to wait there for another three hours before their rooms would be ready.

AJK - 2, Intercontinental - 0.

We headed down to the white, sand beach and appreciated the view of the gorgeous water laid out in front of the resort. On the right side of the beach, the water appeared to be the color of a swimming pool for about a mile out to sea. On the left side, the depths varied more and the water ranged from an electric blue, to what I refer to as melted ice pop blue, to “powerade” blue, to jewel-toned emerald and sapphire colors.

[AJK: We took a round about way to check on our cooler and took some photos of the water from different spots.  Prepare yourself for electrifying beauty... views that reinvigorate belief in a Creator...]




DSC05335 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05336 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05337 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05338 by AJK DDF, on Flickr


One of my faves ^


DSC05341 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05342 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05358 by AJK DDF, on Flickr



We grabbed some stand up paddleboards from the beach attendants and headed out to sea to appreciate a view of the resort from on top of the water. The water directly in front of the resort stays at about three and half feet of depth for approximately a mile. You really could just walk all the way out if you wanted to, but it was more fun to paddle. The water is the temperature of a well-heated pool so in or out of the water is equally comfortable.

After about thirty minutes of paddle boarding I had reached my ‘exercise-on-vacation’ quota for the year and we headed back to shore. We enjoyed the view while sitting in chairs under an umbrella for the next hour or so. The sun is merciless here and you can get quite a burn or a tan without ever intentionally laying out in the sun.

After all that relaxing, we had worked up quite an appetite, so we headed over to the beach restaurant where our cooler was being stored. After quite a bit of back and forth with various employees, we finally were able to get the point across that we wanted one of our meals heated. The majority of people working at the resort speak French, French Polynesian, and a smattering of broken English.

You can imagine that explaining that we need a saran-wrapped meal placed in a microwave for fifteen minutes, and served to us without being opened, not dumped on a plate, and not even having the plastic taken off, was complicated.  Well, you'd be right. Let's just say it was an ordeal. Eventually though, it was worth it, because out came a steaming hot bag of plastic which we took back to our room to eat on our little porch overlooking the water.

After our first experience taking POM meals, we learned that they take kosher pretty seriously and a little plastic knife will not suffice to remove the amount of plastic wrap these people use to cover the meals. So now we travel with a lean, mean cutting machine specifically for the purpose of opening our POM meals. 

[AJK: Specifically, this bad boy: An Assisted Opening Tactical Folding Knife with a Half-Serrated Blade



AJK went to work on the meal, and a few minutes later we lifted the lid to reveal penne vodka and we sat down to eat.






We showered and changed out of our stand-up paddleboarding clothing (yes, we have specific stand-up paddleboard clothing) and headed back out to watch the sunset.

(For those of you who believed we have stand-up paddle boarding clothing then I’ll add that we put on our special ‘watching sunset outfits.’)

On the way we stopped off at the pool bar for drinks where they had seats set up for people to enjoy happy hour and watch the sunset. However, we had done our research and found out the prime sunset watching beach was located just outside the hotel property. The only public beach on the island is right next to the resort and apparently has the best views of sunset on the island. The public beach is twenty feet outside the entrance to the resort so we just headed across the street and started to walk down the beach looking for the best place to photograph from.

What we didn’t anticipate was that the stray dog population of Bora Bora is larger than their human population. We were quickly joined by quite a few mutts including one that looked suspiciously like a pit bull. [AJK: It was.] None of the dogs really paid much attention to us and kind of just walked around us as we set up cameras and found a place to sit. After about ten minutes or so, a little girl probably no older than five walked outside from one of the little ramshackle houses whose backyards open up to the beach. She immediately began playing with all the stray dogs including the pit bull looking one whose massive head was about a foot above hers.

It was at this point I decided that if we let loose a bunch of stray dogs in Brooklyn we could cure Jewish children of their crippling fear of all things four-legged. Watching the little girl play with the dogs was actually more entertaining than the sunset, but I think AJK may have gotten some good pictures of the sun setting over the Pacific.

[AJK: Maybe I did, maybe I didn't... you be the judge!]


DSC05389 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05399 by AJK DDF, on Flickr



We stayed until dark and then headed back across the street to the resort where we found a hammock set up right next to the ocean and we stopped to stargaze and listen to the waves crashing on the shore. (Actually, I’ll amend that to AJK watched the stars and listened to the waves and I promptly fell asleep.)

After letting me nap for a bit, we walked over to the restaurant to try explaining that we wanted another meal heated up.   This time we were more successful and an hour later a knock at the door heralded a tray bearing a hot Pomegranate meal. It also bore a bill for $20 for the ‘trouble’ the resort incurred throwing a tin-foil wrapped square in their industrial size oven for one hour. Seeing as it was already 9:00 PM after a long day of travel, we signed the bill not wanting to debate it with the delivery boy. We ate our dinner of lamb meatballs sitting outside listening to the waves and then headed to bed, where I dreamt of elecrifying blue water and mesmerizing purple sunsets...
« Last Edit: January 01, 2018, 08:46:51 PM by Something Fishy »
2015: 116K bkd | 1.6M brnd | F: OZ,NH,AA,EK | J: UA,CA,TK,DL,TN,AF,VA | LIH,NRT,ROR,PEK,CNS,BOB,MEL,TLV & Pacific Hopper

Online TimT

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Re: The Two-Stop Pacific Hop: Bora Bora & Melbourne (A Mrs. AJK Special)
« Reply #62 on: December 13, 2015, 11:35:22 PM »
WOW!! I can't stop looking at these photos.

Offline cholent

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Re: The Two-Stop Pacific Hop: Bora Bora & Melbourne (A Mrs. AJK Special)
« Reply #63 on: December 13, 2015, 11:43:53 PM »
Incredible! Can't wait for the next installment!
Don't ask stupid questions and you won't get stupid answers

Offline MosheD

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Re: The Two-Stop Pacific Hop: Bora Bora & Melbourne (A Mrs. AJK Special)
« Reply #64 on: December 13, 2015, 11:45:05 PM »
Wow! Those pics are drop dead gorgeous!

And also, great write up Mrs. AJK. Thanks for taking the time. I am in absolute amazement after reading this. First class cabins impress me, but this, this is what makes it worth it.

P.s. I love the DROPR attitude
p.p.s. @sf the photos didnt just get better. This is next level  :D

Offline ilherman

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Re: The Two-Stop Pacific Hop: Bora Bora & Melbourne (A Mrs. AJK Special)
« Reply #65 on: December 14, 2015, 01:25:38 AM »
Breathtaking views! You guys had such a great time!!!! And all with little to no money out of pocket!

The great write up together with the pictures actually gave me the feel like I am in BOB right now...  Seriously.

Thanks!
You can say what you think when you think what you say.

Offline SamKey

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Re: The Two-Stop Pacific Hop: Bora Bora & Melbourne (A Mrs. AJK Special)
« Reply #66 on: December 14, 2015, 04:13:17 AM »
Breathtaking views! You guys had such a great time!!!! And all with little to no money out of pocket!

The great write up together with the pictures actually gave me the feel like I am in BOB right now...  Seriously.

Thanks!
+1

Offline benjie1305

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Re: The Two-Stop Pacific Hop: Bora Bora & Melbourne (A Mrs. AJK Special)
« Reply #67 on: December 14, 2015, 07:25:00 AM »
Work hard, Play harder!

Offline 3yummyboys

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Re: The Two-Stop Pacific Hop: Bora Bora & Melbourne (A Mrs. AJK Special)
« Reply #68 on: December 14, 2015, 08:48:33 AM »
Really amazing!! Anyone know the reason for the color gradients in the water?

Offline AJK

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Re: The Two-Stop Pacific Hop: Bora Bora & Melbourne (A Mrs. AJK Special)
« Reply #69 on: December 14, 2015, 08:52:42 AM »
Really amazing!! Anyone know the reason for the color gradients in the water?
I believe it's directly correlated to depth. The shallower, the lighter; the deeper, the darker.
2015: 116K bkd | 1.6M brnd | F: OZ,NH,AA,EK | J: UA,CA,TK,DL,TN,AF,VA | LIH,NRT,ROR,PEK,CNS,BOB,MEL,TLV & Pacific Hopper

Online Moshe123

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Re: The Two-Stop Pacific Hop: Bora Bora & Melbourne (A Mrs. AJK Special)
« Reply #70 on: December 14, 2015, 09:25:06 AM »
STUNNING!!!

Offline jaywhy

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Re: The Two-Stop Pacific Hop: Bora Bora & Melbourne (A Mrs. AJK Special)
« Reply #71 on: December 14, 2015, 09:32:01 AM »
Wow! Good job!
Those photos are jaw dropping.

Offline Luvtotravel

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Re: The Two-Stop Pacific Hop: Bora Bora & Melbourne (A Mrs. AJK Special)
« Reply #72 on: December 14, 2015, 09:36:00 AM »
what a way to greet this drab, grey morning! stupendous TR mrs. AJK and the pictures are truly a notch above!
Don't wait for the perfect moment; take the moment and make it perfect.

Offline yitrap

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Re: The Two-Stop Pacific Hop: Bora Bora & Melbourne (A Mrs. AJK Special)
« Reply #73 on: December 14, 2015, 10:05:15 AM »
Love it!

How much was the room?

Offline Dawie

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Re: The Two-Stop Pacific Hop: Bora Bora & Melbourne (A Mrs. AJK Special)
« Reply #74 on: December 14, 2015, 10:17:05 AM »
Love it!

How much was the room?
[AJK: Our seder hayamim for BOB was as follows: First night at Intercontinental Le Moana (booked with IHG CC free night), then nights two, three, and four at the Intercontinental Thalasso (booked with points), and night five at the Intercontinental Tahiti (booked with IHG CC free night). I didn't know it at the time, but having the first night at the Le Moana was quite fortuitous as it turned out, as we'll explain.]