Our Day 3 plan was to cruise up the west side of Taha'a and anchor off Motu Tautau and Motu Maharare and the Coral River for the night. We got underway early, waving to Noah and his Vanilla Farm as we motored by.
Once again, navigating carefully by water color, with additional lookouts on the bow, we made our way out of Baie Hurepiti to head north inside the reef. The Le Taha'a Resort and Spa is on Motu Tautau and the overwater bungalows are visible from quite a way off, while off in the distance, Bora Bora's distinctive profile rose up from the cerulean sea.
We had two anchoring options: one south of the hotel and the other a bit further northeast, almost directly opposite the Coral River. We chose the second option and anchored just off the very shallow area, but close enough for everyone to swim ashore if they wanted or to take the dinghy in to the beach.
The Coral River is actually a strong current that runs between the two motus. The channel is shallow and the entire bottom is covered with a coral garden and thousands of fish populate the garden. The plan was to take the dinghy ashore to the small beach, secure it to a palm tree and walk along the shore to the channel entrance. Wearing protective shoes, we launched ourselves into the shallow water and drifted with the current, floating gently over the coral while observing the fish that took no notice of us.
Some areas you had to suck it up to prevent scraping against coral heads; other areas had sandy bottoms where you could stand and face down, watch the schools of fish playing in the gin-clear water.
My underwater photography skills need work, but I was able to get some reasonable pix and I know some of the others who have much more underwater experience than I do, got some amazing shots. I particularly loved the brilliantly-colored clams and iridescent little fish swimming close to the surface. It took about 45 minutes to float on the current to where our dinghy was tied.
That evening, we had reservations at the Resort for dinner. It was pitch black when we left the boat and dinghyed slowly to the resort's dock, trying to stay dry. We were assisted ashore by the dock master and directed to our restaurant, one of three at the resort, and apparently the only one open to non-registered guests. The Resort itself is beautiful with meticulously-maintained grounds and Tahitian-style architecture. Raised wooden walkways wind among the palm trees, lit with strategically-place lights. We followed the path to the restaurant and found our table in the palm thatched, open-air restaurant. A Tahitian trio entertained us while we selected our food from a vast array of dishes served buffet-style. Although it was a very expensive dinner, it was worth being able to visit the resort and see how the one-percenters live.
Something that was very different on this trip, compared to the Belize adventure last year, was how everyone (except Jane) was glued to their phones whenever we managed to get WiFi, or WeeFee as the locals pronounce it. It became something that actually determined some of the places we visited, and the first question when ashore was, "Is there WiFi?" And it unfortunately, dominated times ashore and became, at least for me, a bit disconcerting, overwhelming the experiences we were having.
However, times change and that's the way we roll these days.