I was reviewing some old photography files recently and went through some images of French Polynesia circa 2006. These images were captured handheld using a 4 MP Kodak DX6490 zoom camera. As I was re-processing some of these jpeg photographs it occurred to me that some readers may find them of interest.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
Our trip to French Polynesia was one best classified as a ‘spur of the moment’ decision. I was casually looking through the travel section of the Saturday newspaper when I stumbled on a package travel deal to French Polynesia.
It was less than half the regular price, so we called some good friends to gauge their interest. Within a day or so the four of us were booked.
It was a fairly short duration trip with one initial night on the island of Tahiti, followed by 3 nights on Moorea, 4 on Bora Bora, then one final night on Tahiti before flying home.
French Polynesia had long been of interest to my wife. As a young child the movie South Pacific had resonated with her.
In the summer of 2004 when I asked her to write down her 5 top ‘bucket list’ travel destinations, French Polynesia was one of them. A great package deal was incentive enough to book it… and cross one destination off her list… plus it was also on mine!
Part of her ‘bucket list’ experience was to stay in an over-the-water bungalow. We decided that doing that on the island of Moorea would make sense.
That decision added about $500 to the cost of the trip. Since it was very likely that this would be our only trip to French Polynesia we decided to spend the extra money. It turned out to be a very good decision.
It remains one of our most significant travel memories. Our over-the-water bungalow backed onto the Pacific Ocean giving us privacy… and the occasional thought about tsunamis.
We absolutely loved the glass panel in the floor of our bungalow. In the evenings we would turn on the light underneath the bungalow, then watch all of the fish swimming by.
In was like having the National Geographic channel live underneath our accomodations.
We booked a guided island tour on Moorea to take in some of the sites and experience the rugged beauty.
Back at the resort we took in some shows in the evening.
When working on these original jpegs in post, I found Topaz DeNoise AI very helpful to clean up and sharpen the files.
The polarization and pro contrast functions in Color Efex 4 (part of the Nik Collection) proved helpful with many of my landscape photographs.
Our trip to French Polynesia was during the period after I had been away from photography for a number of years. I was in the early stages of my experiences with digital photography.
While on Bora Bora we visited a pearl farm, and did some walking tours around various parts of the island. One afternoon we strolled down to Bloody Marys Restaurant.
This is a well-known establishment that has drawn in a good number of famous people as patrons.
Unfortunately it was closed for renovations during our visit. My wife still got a kick out of being there since Bloody Mary is a character in South Pacific.
We quite enjoyed our time on Bora Bora, finding it very laid back and friendly. On occasion I wonder how it may have changed since our visit some 15 years ago.
One of the definite highlights of our trip to French Polynesia was the Lagoonarium tour on Bora Bora. This began with a stop over a sand bar in the lagoon. I bought some inexpensive underwater film cameras in Canada, which we brought with us. The quality wasn’t great, but I had some prints converted to digital files to preserve the memories.
We had the chance to see some rays and reef sharks up close.. with some of the sharks gliding by within a metre or so from us.
The rays would swim up and rub against our legs and feet.
The Lagoonarium tour included lunch and the opportunity to visit some salt water pens where various types of aquatic life were kept. Guides provided some information on habitat, diet, lifespan etc.
We also had the opportunity to swim with sharks and rays in the large salt water pen, as they were being fed. At one point my wife and I were swimming in about 4 metres of water. I must admit it was a bit unnerving at first when we looked down and saw a 2.5 metre lemon shark gliding directly beneath us.
We reminded ourselves that all of the sharks and rays in the pen were well fed, and there really wasn’t anything to fear. After lunch my wife was sufficiently relaxed that she decided to wear a life vest and float around inside the shark enclosure for a while.
One of the guides put on a mask and flippers and quietly entered the shark pen. He then submerged and swam out to her. While underwater he grabbed one of her legs. A blood curdling scream erupted from my wife’s lips. This is a vivid memory that she retains to this day!
My wife and I are both thankful that we decided to do some of our ‘bucket list’ travel over the past 10-15 years, rather than waiting for retirement. One never knows what can happen. COVID-19 is a stark reminder of that.
Photographs were captured hand-held using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from jpeg files using my standard process.
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