Sabin’s at Sea - Day 38 - Vitapae, Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Updated: Nov 18

by Nina Sabin - Travel Blog

The excitement grew as we woke up and were almost anchored at Bora Bora. This was another port we couldn’t wait to visit. We almost missed this opportunity as this port was cancelled when we first boarded the Zuiderdam. However, the captain and cruise director negotiated with the Bora Bora officials and we were able to visit. We were the first large cruise ship to visit Bora Bora since Covid and apparently the last one. The government officials have decided not to allow large cruise ships to come to port in the future. We were blessed to be able to visit this beautiful island.


We began our visit to Bora Bora on a tender. There were several excursions offered by the cruise and we chose the one that was a shark and ray snorkeling encounter.

There were about 46 people on our catamaran boat. We thought that was a lot of people to snorkel with but in the end it was fine. There was actually three other boats anchored at the same time we were.

Our tour guides were awesome. They played drums and sang on on journey to the rays and sharks. The name of the company was Moana Tours. Our guides were Jean, Tia, and Graham. Jean and Tia blew conch shells as we departed to let other ships know we were approaching and to call passengers back to the boat.

Words can’t describe how incredible it was to snorkel above black-tip sharks and rays. They would be inches from us and just swim right by. I think we saw at least two dozen sharks about a dozen rays. We also saw many colorful exotic fish.

After we left the area with the sharks and rays. The guides brought us to a coral garden area. The weather was rainy and poured as we rode along the ocean. The drops were cold and hard. We were in the front of the boat and I was freezing. They gave us large orange floats to put in front of us to block the rain. I also wrapped myself in fetal position in a towel to also keep myself warmer.


Even with the rain it was an incredible experience.


On the way back to the port we saw the bungalows at Conrad Bora Bora NYI (Hilton Property) that are over the water with glass bottoms. They cost about $3000 - $4000 USD per night.

After the shark and ray tour we took the tender back to the ship. Once aboard the Zuiderdam, we cleaned up, had lunch on the Lideo deck, and headed back on the tender for more exploration of Bora Bora.


There were shuttle buses for $5 per person that drove you to the famous beach in Bora Bora, Matira Beach.


We walked along the beach for awhile and then walked along the road back to the main area near the port.

As we walked we stopped at Bloody Mary’s a famous bar in Bora Bora that many popular artist have visited like: Dudley Moore, Jimmy Buffet, and Jamie Lee Curtis. What we were surprised about is the did not serve Bloody Mary’s but they did have a rum punch. We decided not to try it as it would have been $12 to $15 USD per person and we get plenty of drinks with the drink package.  They seemed to more interested in their past name rather than current customer service.

As we walked back to town, we saw crabs. There were probably over 100 crabs we observed as we walked along the shore. They appear to be land crabs as they burrow in the dirt and grass. What was fascinating is we watched as several crabs brought yellow flowers into their holes. We are guessing they must eat them.


It took about an hour to walk from the beach back to the port. It was a little scary as there weren’t any sidewalks. So we had to be careful with oncoming traffic coming close to the side of the road.

We were able to get free internet at Albert’s Store. They have seats in the front to relax and surf the internet. There was also an adorable cat named Minute who knew I was a cat person. She made herself comfortable on my lap and even kneaded on me. It made me miss my kitties even more.


Albert Store closed at 6:00 pm, so with the day being so blustery, we decided to pick up a few items at Chin Lee, the local grocery store. We picked up our normal items: a magnet,  local chocolate bar, and a local beer, which we bought as a gift to the Matre’ d on the ship.


Once back on the ship, we cleaned up again, ate dinner, had a few drinks at a couple of the bars. I now have a favorite new drink, Pol Clement, a French brut white wine. John enjoyed the ports and Baileys for a night cap.


Tomorrow we are at Uturoa, Raiatea, French Polynesia. The next five days we will be at different ports. We are looking forward to more exploring and praying for sunnier days.


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