On both Moorea and Bora Bora we took excursions to look at sharks and stingrays. In fact we got to swim with both sharks and sting rays as well as snorkel the coral reefs. The Moorea expedition was mostly a beach day with a stop with the rays and sharks along the way. I didn’t get into the water because the Capitan did not think the ladder that he used was strong enough to support my weight. Only Suzi got to go in.
We decided to try again In Bora Bora. I asked to inspect the ladder before we committed to the journey. The ladder was strong and off we went. It was a circumnavigation of the island making three stops to swim and snorkel. The first stop was a foray out into deeper water outside the reef to look at two species of shark, the black tipped and the lemon. The black tipped feeds near the surface and the lemon at about 30 feet. The black tipped do not feed on people and the lemon sharks do not feed near the surface, so as long as we did not dive deep we were safe, so we were told. Despite that assurance it was a real rush to jump into the water with black tipped fins circling the boat, twice the excitement and half the danger of bungee jumping. The water is so clear. We have no problem, with the face mask on, seeing the lemon sharks on the bottom.
The second stop is at a place where sting rays and black tipped sharks swim together. The rays are used to boatmen feeding them and come when they see the boat and hear the splash. They swim right up to us. In a way they seem very affectionate; (I am anthropomorphizing here) cuddling up to us. They have a very soft, almost velvet skin, not at all scaly. The boatmen told us to keep away from their mouths, which are on their underside, and to avoid parts of their tails.
The third stop was at a reef where we saw a moray eel and a lot of different fish. We held out some food and the fish flocked to us. One of the boatmen took our waterproof camera and shot pictures of us; at one point he did a “free dive” on the reef with the camera to get closer shots. Some of these pics are his.
The tour is run by a family. The mom touts at the pier while her brother and sons operate the boat. guide us through the process of snorkeling, sing and play ukulele and djembe. It’s a mix of Polynesian and Woodie Guthrie Songs. (This land is your land; this land is my land, from Bora Bora to the Hawaiian Islands.) Although as we approached jumping in with the sharks they sang “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.”