Our ride to Bora.
Approaching Bora Bora by air is stunning, but to approach the island by water is to see her shores the way the Polynesians have for centuries. Frigate birds circle above schools of mahi mahi. Terns, wintering here from the arctic, follow tuna through the currents, and on the horizon, Bora Bora sits majestically upon her watery throne. She is the queen of these islands; we, merely her subjects.
Flying fish escort us north across the Pacific. One travels at least 15 feet before falling back to the sea. Even our captain, born and raised on these waters, is impressed. As we draw closer to Bora Bora, green-bottomed clouds reflect the island's lagoon like a road sign in the Pacific. On the low-lying island chains to the south, it is these reflective clouds that guide lost fishermen to land. We, too, are given a chance for reflection as our captain tells of a Polynesian history that, unfortunately, isn't so ancient. He speaks of a culture- no, that's too easy of a word- he speaks of a people, moms and grandfathers, pushed to the edges of extinction. He tells of a group of people who lost their customs, their beliefs, and nearly their language to another man's ideals. He shares all this with humor, wisdom, and I believe, a sense of responsibility- to the past, but also the future.
I ask him what he thinks is the answer. "Well, we aren't going back," he responds. "Nope," I agree. "The answer," he says, "is respect. Respect Mother Earth. Respect each other." The green-bottomed clouds are almost on top of us now. I look up and think about his answer.
If a man, living on a volcanic rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, thousands of miles from land in any direction knows this, what's our excuse?
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Location:Bora Bora, French Polynesia