Bora Bora is a tender port. That means the condition of the surf needed to be calm enough to allow passengers to get off and on the lifeboat tenders without a lot of trouble. We had come close to not getting into Easter Island and I wondered if we would make it to Bora Bora. The captain was hedging.
Thankfully the weather was a lot calmer than at Easter Island and we were able to start all the day’s activities on time. The large mountains in the middle of the island were shrouded however threatening the possibility of rain. Undaunted, we made it ashore and went straight to the Avis rental car service and were promptly told that unless we had a reservation, we were out of luck. It seems lots of other people must have found out about the rental cars. The attendant sent us down the street to Eurocar rentals and without much hope, we walked there.
There were no cars in the small lot but there was a dune buggy and the two fellows in front of us were renting that one. I was already making mental notes of where we might go on foot to explore. When it came our turn, we were told there was still a dune buggy to rent at the garage but no cars. We took it. We’ve done a dune buggy here before and it was fine as long as it didn’t rain. The sun was shining we felt confident.
After a short ride to the garage, the dune buggy was pushed out, Bob was given instructions, and we were on our way through the extremely bumpy streets of the town. I hoped the roads were going to get better once we got out of the congestion of the town.
They did. Soon we were on smoother pavement and enjoying the ride even though it sounded like we were on a riding lawn mower. It was clouding over though and the pretty lagoons and bays that we had seen in the past were getting dark and wind tossed. As a matter of fact, as we went around one curve, we found ourselves buffeted by high winds. If we’d have had a windshield and doors, the little car probably would have been blown from one side of the road to the other.
Our rental time was for two hours and it takes about an hour to drive all the way around the island. Since we weren’t stopping much to take pictures, we had plenty of time to stop in at the famous Bloody Mary restaurant and bar. It’s a funky kind of place with sand for floors and a thatched roof. And of course is a takeoff on the South Pacific character.
We sat at a Tiki bar since the restaurant wasn’t open for lunch yet, ordered some beverages, and connected with the WiFi. The internet on the ship had been so intermittent that it was driving us crazy. We spent about a half hour just catching up on email and Facebook and talking with some people whose plans had changed because of the weather. They were from Michigan and had canceled their boat rental when they saw the choppy seas. Good thing because as we went out of the restaurant, it started raining in earnest.
The dune buggy had to be back in fifteen minutes and we still had to fill the tank. We donned our sunglasses to protect from the pelting rain and wind and held onto our hats as we took off down the road. Rain began to whip our faces and arms and at one point I yelled for Bob to slow down because it felt like thousands of needles hitting us. It turned out when we finally stopped I realized it wasn’t the rain that hurt so much. We had been pelted by sand picked up by the wind and thrown at us as well. Little pieces of it still clung to my skin.
The good news was we made it back in time with a full tank of gas and. . .I had a free exfoliation treatment, one that would have been pretty expensive in the spa on board. Not only that but we had a great story to share at the table during dinner.
The afternoon melted away the morning’s rain and clouds and the island shone green in the sunshine. It truly is beautiful—even in the rain. We watched it disappear from our vantage point in the Palm Court Deck 12 as we played our early evening round of rummy and enjoyed hors d’oeuvres.