Covering paradise in a near-straight blur
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.boraborawaverunner.com.
Peaked cap: Bora Bora’s Mt Otemanu