A CAMERA UPGRADE

 

For traveling I have two camera choices – the full rig (Canon 40D with a number of lenses) and a portable. The portable (And old Canon SD1000) was carried in my laptop bag and was primarily used for underwater shots …. thanks to an amazing waterproof chassis that I grabbed after a trip to Bora Bora when a friend took this shot with the same chassis.

2007 Bora Bora Snorkelling with the sharks (14)

It has been a great product that we use all the time. Below are a few underwater photos from a trip to Mexico in August. The quality is fantastic for a 7 year old camera.

2011 08 18 Mexico  _-19

2011 08 19 Mexico  _

2011 08 19 Mexico  _-5

2011 08 19 Mexico  _-8

But it was time for an upgrade. For Christmas I received a Canon G12 and a WP-DC34 underwater case. I cannot wait to test out full HD video, RAW and the advances that the camera offers when we are snorkelling in Grand Cayman. Can’t wait.

BORA BORA V: SWIMMING WITH THE SHARKS

One of the excursions was a 3 hour snorkelling trip with 3 stops:

First stop, swim with the stingrays. We pull up to the reef and within minutes, there are 30 stingrays swimming around the boat and someone asks ‘Are they dangerous?’.  The guides say ‘No, not at all’, while my wife remembers that the Crocodile Hunter (a dude way tougher than me) died from a stingray incident. I am the 3rd to jump in!

2007 Bora Bora Snorkelling with Manta Rays (7)

2007 Bora Bora Out swimming with the  sharks and manta rays (3)

Didnt that kill the Crocidile Hunter???

There are several of the stingrays that the guides actually grab (they have removed their stingers – the bone like outcropping on their tails). The others are wild and float all around you as the guides throw small fish.

They captured a Manta Ray

At one point I decide to try and feed one and get the scare of my life. It took me about 5 minutes to get a stingrays attention and then he starts coming at me. So I fling the fish at him while under the water. He misses it and comes right at me – not stopping. So, I do what anyone would do. I grab him on either side of this fins and push him back. He keeps coming and bangs into my side.

Ok, now I am a little bit freaked and push him again (Where is that crocodile hunter killing tail I wonder?). He spins and comes at me again (Now I may have yelled out ‘AHHH, he won’t stop coming after me .. I am being attacked!!’)

He comes at me again, I push him away again, the entire time hopping backwards on one foot trying to make my way into the crowd of people (Yes, I know .. courageous, employ a human shield). He comes at me again, and I push him away again .. then he finally loses interest and heads off.

FREAKED ME OUT, but what an awesome experience.

Second stop, swim with the sharks: The guides had a line in place and your directions were as follows:

1. Do not go over the line – hold onto it.

2. Do not hold onto a fish, the shark will bite off your hand.

3. Do not step on the sea urchins that are scattered around the sea floor, they will hurt for many weeks.

The pictures say it all, it was unbelievable. Not my photos, I need that camera case!

2007 Bora Bora Out swimming with the  sharks and manta rays (15)

2007 Bora Bora Snorkelling with the sharks (7)

2007 Bora Bora Snorkelling with the sharks (14)

2007 Bora Bora Snorkelling with the sharks (5)

Next, we went to a coral garden which is simply a lagoon filled with coral, it was beautiful and I had a truly unique experience. I looked down on this .5M long sea cucumber (At least, that is what it looked like – it was long, tubular) and I saw it eliminate. Out of the end came what looked like a dog’s poop. I was pretty surprised. I did not get close, but it looked like it was all sand. Amazing to see a plant take that type of action.

Bora Bora Coral Garden

Standing on the coral

Last, we enjoyed a BBQ on a private island with the natives. A great way to finish an extraordinary day. The women below taught my wife how to hula (smile).

2007 Bora Bora Travelling to Lunch on our private island (8)

They served a desert called ‘poe‘ which is pumpkin in coconut milk. It was amazing.

Lunch on the beach after sharking

What a day.

BORA BORA PART IV: WE START TO ENJOY THE EXPERIENCE

Approximately 14,000 KM of travel later, we settled in and began enjoying our experience.

The Bora Bora Nui hotel was beyond our expectations. Each guest has a hut on the water and no detail was spared. There was the usual stuff you would expect at a high end resort but also snorkel kits, blown up floating lounge chairs for the ocean and a deck to die for.

2007 Bora Bora  (23)

It truly was the most unique of experiences, simply walk out on your deck and dive into the ocean, sit out on your chair and enjoy the sound of the waves breaking on the reef in the distance or drop some bread into the water and watch the fish (you can also watch the fish through the glass squares in the room floor). A few pics of the fish below our hut:

2007 Bora Bora Feeding the Fish under our hut (16)

2007 Bora Bora Feeding the Fish under our hut (18)

2007 Bora Bora Feeding the Fish under our hut (20)

These fish followed me around whenever I snorkelled.

2007 Bora Bora Feeding the Fish under our hut (21)

A friend bought an underwater rig for his camera and took these pictures while snorkelling a few minutes down the way (mental note – must buy … taking pictures from above just does not work!)

2007 Bora Bora  (116)

2007 Bora Bora  (118)

2007 Bora Bora  (122)

Last, we awoke each morning to this, the Bora Bora sunrise. It was breathtaking.

2007 Bora Bora Sunrise (4)

2007 Our First Sunrise in Bora Bora

BORA BORA: INSANE

I hung out the ‘I am not around’ tile on the blog, my email and voicemail this week as my wife and I had the good fortune to attend a corporate event in Bora Bora. I had the good fortune to win a leadership award thanks to the great work of the Canadian team that I was part of last year (Thanks so much to them, they are all amazing people who have had a huge impact on me).

The only word that fits the trip is insane. Why? Because it was the trip of extremes:

Insane travel: Take a look on the map, Bora Bora (Near Tahiti) is pretty much on the exact other side of the world from the UK. As my wife pointed out ‘Why did you win this just as we moved 8 hours away from the spot?’

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To get there: Roughly 2 days 

  • First leg: 11 hours to Los Angeles. Our plane was delayed in London, so we missed out connector delaying us an additional 6 hours after a 3 hour delay.

  • Second leg: 8 hours 30 minutes to Tahiti. Sleep over night.

  • Third leg: 45 minute inter-island flight to Bora Bora.

  • Fourth leg: 30 minute boat ride to the resort.

To get back: Roughly 2 days and 2 red-eyes and 1 delay of 3 hours.

  • Reverse the above and add a 9 hour lay over in LA including 2 red-eye flights.

This truly is one of the most remote locations in the world.

Insanely beautiful. Insanely breathtaking. Insanely awe inspiring. Insanely interesting: The pictures below say it all – it may be the most painful place to get to in the world, but I left forever marked by a beauty that no picture can ever do justice to.        It truly is the most beautiful place I have ever been.

The main island towers above all.

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Fish of every color ..

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A Bora Bora sunset …. it happens so fast and takes your breathe away.

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The hotel’s private island.

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More to come on this topic (smile)