Bucket list trip to Bora Bora: It’s not just for celebri­ties

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FEATURES - By Jen­nifer Mcder­mott

red­dish hue, and we fed baby sea tur­tles at the Tur­tle Cen­ter es­tab­lished at Le Meri­dien. We took the ho­tel’s boat to The St. Regis Bora Bora Re­sort to dine at the ex­clu­sive La­goon restau­rant by ac­claimed French chef Jean-Ge­orges Von­gerichten and to check out the lav­ish bun­ga­lows with pri­vate swim­ming pools over the la­goon.

We tried pad­dle board­ing. Then we tried snor­kel­ing to find the sun­glasses we lost while pad­dle board­ing. Ad­ven­tur­ous cou­ples buzzed around the is­land on jet skis.

Feel­ing ad­ven­tur­ous our­selves, we signed up for a snor­kel­ing trip to swim with stingrays and sharks. There are so many stingrays there, you feel their slick, rub­bery bod­ies hit­ting your legs. One is an older, docile stingray the guides call “grandma.” Our guide from Teiva Tours lifted grandma and kissed it— on the mouth!

But when the guides started “chum­ming” the wa­ters with fish parts to draw black­tip sharks, we climbed back into the boat. The sharks were much more in­ter­ested in the fish than in us, but we weren’t tak­ing any chances of a mis­di­rected chomp. In deeper wa­ters, we snorkeled at the sur­face as 9-foot le­mon sharks glided along the bot­tom.

We also spent a day in Vaitape. There’s a cen­ter where lo­cals sell their crafts, a small mar­ket­place to stock up on sun­screen, juice and in­ex­pen­sive French wine, and a cafe. The moun­tain­side is home to can­nons left be­hind by U.S. forces dur­ing World War II.

The main thing we did though, was shop for Tahi­tian pearls. We were leav­ing one of the stores when I caught a glimpse of a pair of green pearl earrings. I walked away but no other pearl could com­pare, so we re­turned at the end of the day to buy the pearl that chose me.

There’s a must-visit spot along the coast­line, about 3 miles from the city cen­ter: Bloody Mary’s, a funky restau­rant known for its seafood and celebrity vis­its. I en­joyed the restau­rant’s sig­na­ture plate of teriyaki wa­hoo and the house drink, a Bloody Mary of course, while my hus­band loved try­ing meka, a broad­bill sword­fish found in the South Pa­cific. By the en­trance there’s a long list of fa­mous peo­ple who have dined there.

At the ho­tel, we ended the week as we be­gan. We lounged on the deck, telling each other how un­be­liev­able it was that we got to see such beauty in per­son and check Bora Bora off the bucket list.

JEN­NIFER MCDER­MOTT — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

In this photo, kayak­ers head out on the wa­ter from Le Meri­dien re­sort in Bora Bora. Bora Bora of­fers celebri­tystyle seclu­sion and has been a va­ca­tion desti­na­tion for the likes of Justin Bieber, Jen­nifer Anis­ton and Usain Bolt. It’s lo­cated 160 miles from Tahiti with a balmy and rel­a­tively con­sis­tent tem­per­a­ture of 80 de­grees Fahren­heit.

JEN­NIFER MCDER­MOTT — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

In this photo a cou­ple strolls along the side­walk next to the beach at Le Meri­dien re­sort in Bora Bora.

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