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Author Topic: The Two-Stop Pacific Hop: Bora Bora & Melbourne (A Mrs. AJK Special)  (Read 40632 times)

Offline Yaalili

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Re: The Two-Stop Pacific Hop: Bora Bora & Melbourne (A Mrs. AJK Special)
« Reply #180 on: December 22, 2015, 08:54:58 PM »
Wow nice!!

Offline AJK

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Re: The Two-Stop Pacific Hop: Bora Bora & Melbourne (A Mrs. AJK Special)
« Reply #181 on: January 07, 2016, 01:17:18 AM »
[AJK: Before proceeding, I realized I forgot some pictures from the previous segment so am repeating the last few lines of the last part with pics included. Can never get enough BOB pics!]

We were met by a woman who handed us two flower leis which they must have sprayed with floral perfume because they smelled phenomenal. She escorted us to a golf cart parked on the dock.

DSC05465 by AJK DDF, on Flickr


A little red emergency phone attached to a stand on the dock began ringing and she picked it up. After conversing with the person on the other end for a minute she hung up and asked us if we had any food we needed to store in the freezer. AJK had emailed the general manager regarding our food prior to our arrival and it seems he was pretty organized.

We took once last glance at the boat upon which we had made our voyage and then we were off to check-in.

DSC05466 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05467 by AJK DDF, on Flickr


We took our cooler with us in the golf cart, and while showing us a tour of the property we stopped off by the concierge desk where we were met by the head-chef and the general manager. We quickly explained how the heating up of the POM meals works and we were informed that they had a kosher wine list we could choose from to go with our meals.

DSC05497 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

We were also informed about the same $10 heating and $10 delivery fee. [AJK: While I didn't like the fee anymore at the Thalasso, at least they informed us we'd be charged.]

We were shown to some chairs in the check-in area, and they checked us in while they brought us drinks and cool towels.


DSC05468 by AJK DDF, on Flickr


We were then driven to our over-water bungalow. The entire resort, including the pretty grounds, are newer and nicer than the Intercontinental Le Moana on the mainland. The bungalow itself is decorated beautifully and feels very luxurious and quite spacious. Really well-done.


DSC05469 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05470 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05471 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05496 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05498 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05473 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05474 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05478 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05491 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05481 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05483 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05484 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05485 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05487 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05486 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05489 by AJK DDF, on Flickr









Apparently, *someone* was in a rush to clean the bathroom... eh?








DSC05490 by AJK DDF, on Flickr



The deck off the back has two lounge chairs to sit outside and relax on, as well as a table and chairs for eating. A few steps down from that porch you have a large dock area with a ladder leading into the ocean as well as a fresh water shower for rinsing off with after swimming in the ocean.

DSC05475 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05482 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05492 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05493 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05494 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05495 by AJK DDF, on Flickr




We couldn’t resist the light blue, sparkling water right outside the room and immediately took a dip right off of our room. The water is the temperature of a pool which is quite refreshing and enjoyable. After swimming around for a bit we got out and decided to go exploring. We headed off to check out the grounds. [AJK: And of course, take some more pictures!]




DSC05500 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05501 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05502 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05504 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05506 by AJK DDF, on Flickr




We headed off to the dive shop at the resort to book diving for the next morning.

As the dive shop was shut for the day already, we walked over to the concierge desk and asked the young lady to look into setting up some dives for the next morning. Although the first three places she called were fully booked for the advanced morning dives she remained quite persistent on our behalf and told us she would find something and then call our room to let us know the results.

We walked over the restaurant next and asked them to heat some food up for us. When it was heated we picked it up and headed back to our room where we enjoyed delicious blintzes on our porch over the ocean.




Afterwards, we were drawn back to the beach by the sounds of live music and by the hope of being treated to a spectacular sunset. The resort is set up for a perfect view of watching the sun sink behind Mt. Otumanu spread out over the waters of the lagoon. Alas, the sunset was pretty muted [AJK: Oh, how quickly we get spoiled... you be the judge of the picture below.] we get and so we had to console ourselves with happy hour drinks and by listening to the musical entertainment which was actually quite good.

DSC05507 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05508 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05510 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

DSC05511 by AJK DDF, on Flickr






We both found ourselves dozing off and by the time the musician wrapped it up it was dark outside and we decided we would have them heat up our dinner. Seeing as it would take an hour for the food to be ready we thought there was no better way to spend that hour than night swimming in the resort pool--which we had completely to ourselves--and doing some stargazing.




DSC05520 by AJK DDF, on Flickr



The pool was more bathtub temperature than pool temperature, and it provided the perfect warmth for a swim at night. The hour passed quickly and we hopped out to pick up our food and head back to our room. The walk back to the bungalow at night provides a different kind of beauty than during the day, but quite beautiful all the same. The dock is lit up with little lanterns casting a glow on the bungalows and over the water but not enough to take away from the myriads of stars spread out above the water. We sat on the back porch and enjoyed a dinner of Sino steak and beer.

DSC05522 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

 

We then headed to bed in anticipation of an early morning start.


Friday morning we got the early morning start we had been anticipating, just at about two hours earlier than planned. It is difficult to describe the incongruity of lying in bed in an over-water-bungalow with the water gently lapping at your porch steps one minute, and then the next moment feeling as if you are a homeless person who made the bad decision of sleeping on the sidewalk outside of a busy Manhattan construction project.

Yes, you read that correctly. At 7am sharp AJK rolled over, sat up in bed and said to me, “wth!” To be clear, this is not the usual way he greets his beloved wife in the morning, but the circumstances demanded something a little stronger. I got up and pulled back the blackout shades and gauzy curtains covering our full floor to ceiling windows with views of the lagoon and the beach. And honest to G-d, spread out before me was sparkling, flawless, turquoise water leading to a white sandy beach, with two large backhoes revved up and creating a cacophony of immense proportions that was being carried across the water and rousing the inhabitants of all over-water bungalows and likely the people sleeping at the resort two miles up the lagoon as well. "Wth" indeed.



Turns out that a few weeks earlier a large storm had sent a swell along the beach of the resort and had wiped out some parts of the resort’s beach. Lucky for us, the two days picked to restore the beach using construction equipment brought over on a barge from the mainland, were the first two days of our stay.

Turning lemons into lemonade we got up early, enjoyed the sunshine, and set out to the dock to meet our dive boat. I’ll let AJK describe the diving experience in Bora Bora. For those of you terrified by the thought of scuba diving you can skip the following paragraph, and you can also live the rest of your lives with the knowledge that you are missing out on seeing some of the greatest wonders of the world and experiencing some of the most spectacular phenomenon of our universe.


[AJK: Well, with that exuberant and gushing introduction, I must be frank and admit that the diving did not measure up to MLE or the GBR. To be sure, it was beautiful and fun and relaxed, but it was not the *best* I've ever done. 

At about 8:30 AM, I was picked up at the dock and off we went.  As Mrs. AJK said earlier, because I waited until the last minute to book diving, my first choice of dive shop--TopDive, the one *at the resort*--was already fully booked. But no matter, the concierge had hooked me up with two advanced dives (i.e. to 30 meters) with Bora Diving Center which had excellent reviews.  As it turned out, it was our dive guide's first time leading a group (interestingly, he had one blue eye and one brown eye), but he seemed to have everything under control... except for one thing which wasn't really his personal fault and which I'll talk about later.

Anyway, we boated to a couple other resorts to pick up some other divers. IIRC, there was a total of 6 of us not including the guide.  Had I known how beautiful the boat ride itself was going to be to the other resorts and dive sites, I would have gone even even if there wasn't any diving available.

Pictures and video (taken on GoPro 4) from the ride picking people up and to our first dive site:

GOPR0019 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

GOPR0022 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

GOPR0023 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

GOPR0029 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

GOPR0031 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

GOPR0033 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

GOPR0035 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

GOPR0039 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

GOPR0041 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

GOPR0043 by AJK DDF, on Flickr





On the first video (and all need to be watched in 1080p!), please excuse my fat fingers which are clearly too big for the small GoPro  :-X










Our first dive site was Tapu, #1 below:






Water was breathtakingly clear with some of the best visibility I've ever had, and we did see a black tip reef shark (sadly no lemons), a huge school of 2-300 barracuda, and a school of fish I can't I can't identify...






GOPR0046 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

GOPR0047 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

GOPR0048 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

GOPR0049 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

GOPR0051 by AJK DDF, on Flickr




After a 46 minute dive with a max depth of about 75 feet, we surfaced, re-boarded and headed to our second dive site, Toopua, #5 below:





And we were treated to another wonderfully gorgeous 10 minute ride.  I dub the below picture "The Otemanu Volcano."




GOPR0053 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

GOPR0055 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

GOPR0071 by AJK DDF, on Flickr




Shortly, we were back in the water for dive #2.  During this 45 minute dive at a max of 80 feet, the visibility was nowhere what it was at Tapu, but we were treated to four or five eagle rays, giant clams, and moorish idols.


GOPR0072 by AJK DDF, on Flickr

GOPR0073 by AJK DDF, on Flickr


You can make out the two rays in the middle of the picture, the black triangles :P


GOPR0074 by AJK DDF, on Flickr


It's bit easier to see them here:


GOPR0075 by AJK DDF, on Flickr


Too quickly, the dive was over, and we were back on board for some more exotic scenery.








At this point, my GoPro died. Why, oh, why did I not bring my Alpha 6000? Views were stunning. But, without the camera, it allowed me to just bask.

There we were, without a care in the world, fatigued from diving, just enjoying the scenery headed back towards the east of Bora Bora to the IHG and the LM (where a couple of the other divers were staying)... and the boat just dies. In the middle of the lagoon. Ten minutes away from the hotel.

This first-time guide heads back to the engines, primes them a couple times, returns to the cockpit and we all hold our breath to see if they'd turn over. Viola!

We were off again.

...until we weren't.  Seconds later it died again.

And there we sat for 45-50 mins. And then we drifted toward shore.  At one point, because we were headed towards rocky shallows, the guide jumped overboard and, while swimming in the water, pushed the boat towards the dock of an abandoned hotel.  Once there, we secured the boat, and we waited a bit more. Finally, another one of the company's boats came and got us and dropped us at our respective hotels.

All in all, an enjoyable day of diving.
]

After returning from scuba diving, we relaxed in our bungalow and called to ask the staff to heat up a meal for us. After about an hour we walked up to the beach restaurant and enjoyed a delicious lasagna lunch.


DSC05523 by AJK DDF, on Flickr




We then prepared for Shabbos by...




...sitting on our porch, enjoying the view, and relaxing.
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

Offline cholent

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Re: The Two-Stop Pacific Hop: Bora Bora & Melbourne (A Mrs. AJK Special)
« Reply #182 on: January 07, 2016, 01:34:39 AM »
I've been waiting for this installment, and just wow. The pics are incredible
Don't ask stupid questions and you won't get stupid answers

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: The Two-Stop Pacific Hop: Bora Bora & Melbourne (A Mrs. AJK Special)
« Reply #183 on: January 07, 2016, 01:44:59 AM »
Wow oh wow, those pictures are stunning! Thank you both so much  for taking the time to upload this!

Offline MosheD

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Re: The Two-Stop Pacific Hop: Bora Bora & Melbourne (A Mrs. AJK Special)
« Reply #184 on: January 07, 2016, 02:06:04 AM »
Once again, amazing!

Offline Denverite

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Re: The Two-Stop Pacific Hop: Bora Bora & Melbourne (A Mrs. AJK Special)
« Reply #185 on: January 07, 2016, 02:13:47 AM »
Wow oh wow, those pictures are stunning! Thank you both so much  for taking the time to upload this!

+100

Offline AharonInIsrael

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Re: The Two-Stop Pacific Hop: Bora Bora & Melbourne (A Mrs. AJK Special)
« Reply #186 on: January 07, 2016, 07:04:31 AM »
Amazing stuff again! Thank you for taking the time to write and post it!

Offline Mordyk

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Re: The Two-Stop Pacific Hop: Bora Bora & Melbourne (A Mrs. AJK Special)
« Reply #187 on: January 07, 2016, 07:36:26 AM »
Wow!! Very well written. But i was hoping to see what you actually did the whole shabbos over there? Just looking at thw views? ;)

Offline elit

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Re: The Two-Stop Pacific Hop: Bora Bora & Melbourne (A Mrs. AJK Special)
« Reply #188 on: January 07, 2016, 08:04:50 AM »
Are those the actual colors of the water or the pics are enhanced

Offline benjie1305

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Re: The Two-Stop Pacific Hop: Bora Bora & Melbourne (A Mrs. AJK Special)
« Reply #189 on: January 07, 2016, 09:21:04 AM »
Great! So how long was the overall diving tour? 2 hours?
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Offline Luvtotravel

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Re: The Two-Stop Pacific Hop: Bora Bora & Melbourne (A Mrs. AJK Special)
« Reply #190 on: January 07, 2016, 09:58:17 AM »
at the very top of my bucket list...
Don't wait for the perfect moment; take the moment and make it perfect.

Offline @Yehuda

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Re: The Two-Stop Pacific Hop: Bora Bora & Melbourne (A Mrs. AJK Special)
« Reply #191 on: January 07, 2016, 10:00:43 AM »
Beautiful!! Thank you for taking the time to continue!

Some questions:
How deep the water when you step off your ladder?
Is there a concern for sharks or the like in BOB?
On FT there is SO much talk about the room number you get - whether it faces the beach, the ocean, the mountain, etc. it's a bit nuts. Did you look into which room you wanted to get ahead of time and were you happy with what you got?

Offline Ergel

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Re: The Two-Stop Pacific Hop: Bora Bora & Melbourne (A Mrs. AJK Special)
« Reply #192 on: January 07, 2016, 10:48:14 AM »
Did you look into which room you wanted to get ahead of time and were you happy with what you got?
Clearly you don't know AJK
Life isn't about checking the boxes. Nobody cares.

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Re: The Two-Stop Pacific Hop: Bora Bora & Melbourne (A Mrs. AJK Special)
« Reply #193 on: January 07, 2016, 10:50:14 AM »
Clearly you don't know AJK
I was trying to ask nicely. I'm just surprised he got a beach facing room. Does it make it better now?

Offline AJK

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Re: The Two-Stop Pacific Hop: Bora Bora & Melbourne (A Mrs. AJK Special)
« Reply #194 on: January 07, 2016, 01:19:08 PM »
Thanks, guys!




Wow!! Very well written. But i was hoping to see what you actually did the whole shabbos over there? Just looking at thw views? ;)

Next segment, bro!

Are those the actual colors of the water or the pics are enhanced

As stated earlier in the TR, these pics are shot in RAW (aside from the ones I shot diving), so obviously needed to be cropped/edited in post-production. But not using any "fake filters" or any of that nonsense.

Those are the actual colors; take a look at the vids in 1080p to verify.

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