Cov­er­ing par­adise in a near-straight blur

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel -

HE picks us up in a run­about at a smart Bora Bora re­sort on one of the mo­tus that ring the so-called main­land of this French Poly­ne­sian isle and we zip off to Point Matira.

Those in the know stay at a motu re­sort with bril­liant views of cloudswathed Mt Ote­manu. At 727m it dom­i­nates the land­scape and I’m cap­ti­vated by it. It re­minds me of those eerie peaks out of the 1940s Road movies, hulk­ing in the back­ground be­hind Dorothy Lamour.

Our boat driver looks the part, too. He is bare-chested, wear­ing flo­ral board­ies and a coral neck­lace; a gar­land of en­twined vines sits on his long curly hair. His name is Coco, which kind of tops it all off.

I’m with a group of Aus­tralians headed for an af­ter­noon of jet ski­ing, and Brad from Syd­ney and I agree that not too many Aussie blokes could pull off Coco’s ca­sual look.

We ar­rive at the jet ski de­par­ture point, meet Coco’s cousin War­ren, whom we im­me­di­ately dub Wazza, and get a few in­struc­tions about stay­ing in a straight line and not hooning about too much.

Coco asks if any­one wants to go ‘‘ pee pee’’ be­fore we head off, and I sud­denly lose in­ter­est in him. I haven’t jet skied for 15 years, so I opt to be Brad’s pil­lion pas­sen­ger and we scream across the most bril­liant blue wa­ter in the world.

Brad’s driv­ing is fine but I whinge a bit about the speed and get anx­ious about fall­ing off as we bump through the oth­ers’ wake. This turns out to be pos­i­tive nag­ging as Wazza weaves his ski to­wards us and asks if I want to climb aboard with him. I nod and, as we rev up, he says, ‘‘ Hold on, Mama.’’ And I lose in­ter­est in him, too.

Some would say Coco and Wazza have the best jobs in the world. We zip around the la­goon for an hour in two sep­a­rate lines be­hind our des­ig­nated guide: three jet skis to a line and each keep­ing a safe dis­tance of about 200m.

But I’m up front with Wazza and when I’m not smil­ing from ear to ear I turn around and wave at the oth­ers, now quite fear­less. I can make out about four of the seven shades of blue the la­goon is famed for and catch glimpses of se­ri­ously swanky re­sorts, in­clud­ing the St Regis, where our Ni­cole and Keith hon­ey­mooned, but now I’m name- drop­ping.

We pull up at an­other motu (there are about 30 in the la­goon) and flop into the thigh-deep, crys­tal-clear wa­ter. I look up and there is Mt Ote­manu from an­other an­gle and just as fas­ci­nat­ing. My cam­era has re­mained dry in the glove­box so I snap an­other great shot: you just can’t take a dud photo here.

Coco lives up to his name and scur­ries up a palm tree in 30 sec­onds flat to knock down a cou­ple of co­conuts. It’s time for the Coco show, and we learn about the life cy­cle of the use­ful nut and in­spect a baby co­conut, a wiz­ened grand­fa­ther nut, drink the milk from a ma­ture variety and taste the dif­fer­ent types of flesh. Coco and Wazza pro­duce ma­chetes from some­where and make short work of a few pineap­ples for a pic­nic snack.

Af­ter 40 min­utes at this idyllic spot we’re back on jet skis and rac­ing across an­other part of the la­goon. By the time we reach our re­sort we’ve done a lap and seen the moun­tain from ev­ery pos­si­ble an­gle.

The fol­low­ing day I take a four­wheel-drive tour up one of the main­land’s lesser peaks. Be­low are a hand­ful of revheads skim­ming across the wa­ter in near-straight lines be­hind the jet ski guides.

Just an­other day’s work for Coco and Wazza.

The two-hour guided ride costs about $380 for a two-per­son jet ski. www.borab­o­rawa­verun­

Peaked cap: Bora Bora’s Mt Ote­manu

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