Adventure into Romance with Shelley Munro
News About Shelley Blog Books Extras Contact Small Font Large Font

Archive for 'Tahiti'

World Travel and a Takeover

Shelley is a little busy and I have offered to blog today.

Be patient, I’m a virgin blogger.

Recently I’ve been scanning our old print travel photos to digital. Trying to condense them as well, since there are thousands. A very time consuming but rewarding exercise. It’s like going back in time, reliving all those experiences. Some pics made me cringe, 7 months traveling through Africa – what were we thinking? An adventure, definitely NOT a holiday.

Traveling 3 months across the Middle East after Suddam had invaded Kuwait – we were two of the foolhardy few, great time, no other tourists getting in the way of that unforgettable shot [photo not gun].

Actually, saying that the photos are old is not a good description as that also relates to us! I can’t speak for Shelley but I don’t feel old, because I’m not. (Shelley says she’s not old either!!)

I was chatting to a lady last week who had visited Petra in Jordan [Indiana Jones fame]. She showed me a photo of her in front of the treasury, should I say she was in front of hundreds of other tourists on a day excursion from a cruise ship.

Here’s our photo: Spot the tourists – there aren’t any!

Treasury, Petra, Jordan

Some of the most rewarding photos I have taken captured Shelley at a height of excitement. One was after a flight over Victoria Falls:

 Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Another seeing Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda:

Gorilla Hunting, Rwanda Gorilla, Rwanda

This one was taken in a Lobster shack out of Bar Harbor, Maine. To be fair, I was more excited at the thought of eating it!

Lobster, Bar Harbor, Maine

 

Bora Bora, Tahiti helmet dive:

Shelley, Bora Bora, Tahiti Shelley, surrounded by fish, Bora Bora

 

Don’t worry, Shelley will return tomorrow.

Snorkeling with Sharks and Stingrays in Moorea

Camera Critters

I interviewed Mr. Munro this week about his recent experience snorkeling with sharks and stingrays.

Moorea

What made you decide to snorkel with stingrays and sharks?

Moorea is a small but beautiful island. We could either explore the island or do some sort of water activity. When I read about swimming with sharks the theme music to Jaws came to mind. The stingray part of the excursion sounded just as dangerous. Steve Irwin anyone? In the end I decided you have to take risks occasionally because you can’t stay wrapped in cotton wool all your life. Besides, I could have fallen off my bar stool or slipped on the wet deck…

Tell us a little about the experience. Were you apprehensive?

Apprehensive was an understatement! I finally gathered courage and entered the water with my snorkel gear. It felt as if I were getting into a tepid bath. I still wasn’t too sure, but it seemed okay, then the guide started throwing dead fish into the water. I thought he was mad. Then I realized he was “on” the boat and I was in the water. I decided perhaps I was the idiot!

How close did you get to the stingrays and sharks?

Stingray

After the fish throwing things happened quickly. A stingray glided past, then another one. They wanted to play, swimming right up and over me, wanting to be stroked and rubbed. I was so excited I forgot about the sharks. That was until something caught my eye, heading straight for me through the clear water. The problem with wearing goggles is that everything is magnified. The shark looked enormous. It was actually only one meter in length. There were about six or seven black tip reef sharks circling, deciding if I was on the menu or if the guides’ dead fish were more appealing. I’m happy to say the latter seemed more popular for a snack. Being surrounded by stingrays and sharks, I was overcome with a sense of euphoria, not fear at all. The sharks kept a respectable one or two meters distance all the time.

Mr Munro and Shark

Snorkeler and Shark

Black Tip Sharks

What else did you see during your time snorkeling?

There was a lot of other sea life around – lots of different fish – and coral, but the coral wasn’t that exciting. I was very fortunate to follow a moray eel for about a hundred meters as it went from rock to rock looking for and eating fish. That was almost as exciting as the sharks!

Fish and Coral

Moray Eel

Would you recommend this experience to others?

I’d put this experience up there at about number three or four on my list of life experiences. Seeing the gorillas in Rwanda is number one on my list. I really enjoyed my swim with the sharks and stingrays, so if you get a chance to visit Moorea … do it!

To see more animal photos visit Camera Critters.

Helmet Dive in Bora Bora

Camera Critters

This week I thought I’d combine my Camera Critters photo with a story about our visit to Bora Bora.

Helmet Diving in Bora Bora by Shelley Munro

One of the fun parts of travel is the planning of a holiday. There’s the research, both online and in books, the correspondence with travel and tour operators and the detailed discussions at home with my husband. Should we or shouldn’t we?

My husband, in particular, loves the planning part of our overseas trips. This process starts months ahead. First we decide which part of the world we’re going to explore, we look at our budget and then it’s the research.

Our latest trip was a Pacific cruise on board the Dawn Princess, the Love Boat from the old TV series. There were stops at Tonga, Rarotonga, Tahiti, Hawaii, Samoa, American Samoa and Fiji. Once we’d booked our trip and put a countdown graphic on our computer, it was time to decide what we’d see and do at each stop.

“Let’s do this,” my husband said one day.

I read the details of something called a helmet dive. “It sounds good,” I said. “But I won’t be able to see a thing without my glasses.”

“You can wear your glasses underwater. The helmet goes over the top of your head. Your hair won’t even get wet.”

“Oh,” I said. I watched a YouTube video with my husband. It did look like fun. According to the site, your head didn’t get wet, no swimming experience was necessary and the excursion was suitable for all ages. “Okay,” I said. “We should do it.” I kept my lingering doubts to myself. I can swim, but I much prefer to keep my feet firmly on dry land.

Before I knew it, we were booked for a helmet dive when our ship reached Bora Bora in Tahiti.

We traveled out to the tour company’s diving platform on a speed boat. That’s when I started to get a little nervous. What if I didn’t like it? To my relief, I wasn’t the only one who was experiencing anxiety.

Bora Bora

Bora Bora is a beautiful spot. The water is a brilliant blue, an impossible color that makes you wonder if the photographer has employed Photoshop to touchup photos. The sun shone and a faint breeze stirred the foliage on the trees. Beneath the surface, we caught glimpses of fish while we waited for our turn to descend into the water.

The helmets are large clear bubbles. Imagine a cartoon spaceman’s helmet—they’re exactly like that. They’re weighted to keep them in place, which means they’re pretty heavy.

Bora Bora

We climbed down a ladder at the end of the platform and waited for the helpers to winch a helmet in place and place it over our heads. I was surprised at the weight. With the helmet over my head, I slowly went down the ladder under the water. Initially, you have to equalize. A couple of the other women had experienced trouble. I was determined I wouldn’t end up the same so I was busy making saliva and swallowing a lot. LOL Probably more than you want to know!

Bora Bora

Under the water was magical. There were loads of fish of all colors swimming around us. A diver and a photographer swam around helping and showing us different things. Lots of different things grew on the rocks and fish darted in all directions. A stingray swam around us, floating around our helmets in a graceful dance.

Bora Bora

Photobucket

Bora Bora

The current was surprisingly strong, so I was glad of the added weight of the helmet. Walking along the sandy bottom was quite difficult and we all looked a bit silly flapping our arms. With so much to see, the time sped past quickly.

Bora Bora

Bora Bora

One at a time, we climbed back up the ladder and waited for the helper to attach the winch and remove our helmets. It was the first time I’ve ever swum and kept my glasses and hair completely dry.

The helmet dive ended up being one of our trip highlights. It was both exciting and magical seeing fish and a stingray in their natural habitat. I especially recommend a helmet dive to anyone who, like me, has wondered what it’s like to scuba dive. I believe helmet dives are available in a number of places now, including the Caribbean, so if you’re interested in trying one do some online research before you leave home.

To see more animal photos visit Camera Critters.

Catch of the Day

Camera Critters

We saw these fish at a stall in Bora Bora. I don’t suppose these tuna are exactly happy fish, but they were certainly eye catching.

Photobucket

To see other animal photos visit Camera Critters.

Back From Holiday

I’m back! The Pacific cruise was wonderful–relaxing, full of new experiences and fun times. Quite frankly, I don’t think I’m ready to face the real world again. In the real world I have to cook, do dishes and make my own bed. Hubby had to drag me onto the plane to fly home from Sydney. Once we emptied the suitcases, the pile of laundry was downright scary, but thankfully that’s almost under control now.

Here’s a sample of what we saw on our holiday. This is the island of Moorea in Tahiti. The photo was taken from the ship. Beautiful, isn’t it?

Moorea sunrise, Tahiti