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  • Writer's pictureRuth Mcbride

Stepping Out….

Day 32/138 2022/2023 Viking Neptune World Cruise. Bora Bora

We saw land this morning just after 8am. We were a long way away from the land, but the sight of land after 5 sea days, was quite comforting.

Our first glimpse of Bora Bora at 8am this morning.

Our pilot boat showed up a bit earlier than planned at 9:20am. This pilot boat was a bit more rustic than ones we have had in other ports.

We’re getting closer to Bora Bora! Bora Bora is not a very big island encompassing only 15 square miles, but it looks rather imposing with Mt. OTEMANU at 2,379 feet seemingly jutting out directly from the sea.

The local jet ski welcoming committee were out this morning to greet us! The building in the distance with a brown peaked roof was where our tenders were going to be docking today.

The first of the Viking Neptune tenders hoisted the Norwegian flag and was getting ready to go into service for the first tender today.

Overwater bungalows that I had expected to see were very prevalent as we sailed into Vaitape, Bora Bora.

Beautiful and rugged coastline of Bora Bora.

Our meeting place was the Star Theatre on Deck 2, at 1:30pm, conveniently after we had seen the Buffalo Bills lose to the Bengals. Oh well. Bills Mafia will not be happy, but they are diehard fans in Buffalo, so maybe next year?

Boarding our tender on ‘A’ Deck to go to Bora Bora.

Someone was excited to be going on an excursion today in Bora Bora. The weather had turned ‘tropical’ by the time we left for Bora Bora, and a steady rain was falling in the afternoon.

Just look at the colour of that water! How imposing is Mt. OTEMANU close up?!!

We boarded the Aqua Safari speedboat and unfortunately we were the last to board, and all of the covered seats were taken, so we got pretty wet from the rain, speeding out to where we would have our adventure. It was chilly in the boat today, with the wet conditions and no sun, as we zoomed across the water to our waiting boat.

The Viking Neptune and a couple of her tenders.

Everyone was getting wet with the rain coming down sideways on our little speedboat!

Not a straight photo, but it gives you the perspective on the change in water color from where we had been, to where our aqua safari adventure would take place. Bora Bora is made up of a barrier reef of islets, and is surrounded by a deep lagoon with different shades of turquoise and emerald green. It was stunning boating out to the waiting boat, to see the water colour change dramatically from the mainland. I was able to take these photos with my iPhone because I had bought wet bags for our iPhones and I could still take photos through the wet bag, and keep my iPhone dry at the same time. I bought our iPhone wet bags on Amazon for less than $10 and I’m sure glad I did. It is the rainy season in the Southern Hemisphere, so I think we will have a few more days where the wet bag will come in handy.

We transferred to a covered boat that had all the Aqua Safari helmet on it, along with the canisters of oxygen for the helmets. Since there were 12 of us, 8 people went down first and me and Richard waited until they had finished their 25 minute dive, before we headed underwater. I was trying out my GoPro camera onboard and it was working just fine.

Watching as the Aqua Safari helmet is put on someone’s head. The helmet weighed 80lbs and was guaranteed to sink us to the bottom which was 10 feet deep.

I was getting more and more anxious about doing the aqua safari as we waited for the first group of 8 to finish their safari. I was definitely stepping outside my comfort zone today doing this adventure. Richard was feeling the exact same as me, but he was putting on a brave face so that I would not be nervous. I had everyone in my group go before me, so I would be last. We were told that as soon as the weighted helmet was on our head we were to step away from the boat and let the weight of the helmet take us to the bottom. As soon as I dropped to the bottom I was having issues with my ears, but the scuba diver that was swimming with us, helped me to remember to equalize, and then I was fine to walk around on the sandy bottom. The fish were everywhere! Yellow, blue, white and black! The helmets had mesh bags of food on them, so the fish swam right up to the glass on our helmets, trying to get the food from us. I was merrily taking pictures, of the fish, or so I thought…..

This is the only photo that I got today underwater with my Go Pro camera. That is a fake shark too! You can see a few fish if you look closely and the blue fish in the foreground was my favourite coloured fish. Blue fish with yellow tails. Not to despair though, the aqua safari people were taking photos of us, while we were under water, and so for a mere $80USD we will soon have our photos from today’s dive. Unfortunately I do not have the photos yet, but I have paid for them and perhaps they will arrive tomorrow and I can upload them into tomorrow’s blog. We did see the photos on the laptop they had onboard their ship and I know there are some cool underwater shots of us both.

If you look at the photo you can see that we had a roped in area we couldn’t leave with our weighted helmets. There was a beautiful coral reef that we could observe and the scuba diver even pointed to the coral reef and almost touched it, and the next thing I saw was an eye poking out from the reef. Very cool. A stingray came by while we were underwater and I was able to feel the spongy texture of the stingray. That was kind of neat. I remember once snorkelling in Barbados many years ago, when I saw a stingray and thought they really did sting, and almost drowned, trying to get back to shore. Yeesh!

Stingray photo courtesy of Mike Schofield who obviously saw stingray on his snorkelling trip today in Bora Bora.

Another photo of the fish today in Bora Bora, courtesy of Mike.

A reef shark which Mike saw on his snorkelling trip in Bora Bora.

I’m glad Mike shared his photos with me so at least I could share some underwater shots for today’s blog!

We had both brought a dry t shirt in the bag that Viking had given us when we boarded the World Cruise. I had also brought a large wet bag to put out wet rashguards and water shoes in, so we wouldn’t wet the rest of the things in our Viking bag. The wet bag I bought on Amazon and it was very inexpensive, but a good purchase to be able to shove wet stuff in, and keep the rest of the bag dry. Viking had dropped two beach towels to our cabin last night, which were great to have when we got out of the water after our aqua safari.

After we got back to Vaitape, we wandered around the very few shops that were in the small village.

A tourist shop where we bought Richard a Bora Bora t-shirt.

I got a beautiful hand painted pareo which I cannot wait to wear sometime!

Pareos for sale in the small local market.

We were not interested in black pearls today because we understand Tahiti has more selection and we will be able to wander freely after our excursion there because there is no tender to worry about. We were both soaking wet and cold by this point and we wanted to get back to the ship for a nice hot shower!

When we got back to our cabin we found that the Dallas /Giants game was on, so we turned it on, only to see Dallas lose. We were 2 for 2 today on the losing side with both of our teams! I guess its go KC and Mahomes next weekend!

We had a lovely Captain’s table dinner this evening, with the General Manager Ronald. It was interesting to hear his stories of cruise life and what really goes on behind the scene on a cruise ship. We have a couple of ‘back of house’ tours coming up on the next sea day, so I can’t wait to share what we find out. I do know we are not completely full, with approximately 900 guests and 467 staff of which 100 of those staff are chefs! That’s a lot of chefs! The biggest challenge for Viking has been getting tours back up and operating that meet their standards in the ports they visit, as well as trying to get everything they’ve ordered in each port. It seems that supply chain issues are still a ‘thing’ when it comes to providing for the food and other needs of a cruise ship. I asked who I could give some feedback to about the sink in the women’s washroom in the spa. The sink is an extremely small (IKEA) size sink which has a wooden laminate cabinet below the sink. I’ve noticed since we left Ft. Lauderdale that the wooden laminate is getting more and more discoloured with the water that is sloshing over the side of the sink onto the wood laminate. Ronald says he walks around the ship at 6am every morning with a flash light inspecting such things. I told him that to see the damage he would have to actually sit on the toilet in the women’s washroom in the spa, and probably because he doesn’t sit on the toilet in the women’s washroom, he has not seen the damage. I told him I was proud to be sailing on a new ship, so I hope he didn’t mind me pointing this out to him. He said he was grateful for the information and he would have it looked at. I think there is a design flaw with the sink/wood laminate, but I’m sure Ronald will have it looked at. He’s a take charge guy and we really enjoyed our evening getting to know him better over dinner tonight at The Restaurant!

We left late from Bora Bora as we had a passenger with a medical issue, who had to be taken ashore, and we waited for them to return, before leaving for tomorrow’s destination.…Moorea! And I had to set an alarm for tomorrow! Yeesh!

Bora Bora was a bucket list stepping out of our comfort zone kind of experience. We both really enjoyed the 25 minutes we were underwater with the helmets on seeing and experiencing the fish up close. I did feel the helmet was heavy on my shoulders and my one ear is sore now, so I’m not sure that I equalized properly, or the fact I have a cold has messed up my ear. It would have been nice to gradually go down to the bottom, and equalize at a slower pace. Would I do it again? I think Richard would say yes, but I’m on the fence. I’m glad I did it, but I don’t feel like I saw any of Bora Bora. That’s why tomorrow I’m going to be doing an excursion on Moorea for photographers, and I’m sure I will feel like I actually saw Moorea.

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Cathy Vee Volpe-Paul
Cathy Vee Volpe-Paul
Jan 23, 2023

You are an awesome writer. Thank you so much for doing this fab blog.


Jan 23, 2023

Great info. Love the blog


Ernie Zaremba
Ernie Zaremba
Jan 23, 2023

I really enjoy your comments. They are not just dry facts, but your feelings too.

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