Sunday, May 24, 2009

baring it all in Bora Bora

The French-speaking pair from Quebec look like a couple of athletes, she's 34 and he's 10 years younger.

"I finally found someone who'd have me," the woman laughs, draping her slender pins over her lover's white trackpants-clad lap, avoiding his bum bag.

The affectionate pair were "married" in French Polynesia just days ago, though not technically hitched till they fill in all the paperwork when they get home.

The uber-tanned, tightly toned Canadian couple are all over each other on the speedboat.
I am the only single onboard from the Matira Bay wharf at the Sofitel Marara Beach Resort in Bora Bora, where a shirtless Polynesian man strums his ukulele.

We're en route to the luxury hotel chain's private "motu", Tahitian for island, where just 31 luxury bungalows are hidden.

While this is the case now, by the end of the year couples will be able to officially tie the knot on the stunning islands, Sofitel's regional manager, Marc Reissinger tells me.

Also on the boat are honeymooners from Atlanta who wed at the end of last year.

Earlier in the day the young couple were spotted taking photos of their hands from their bungalow deck, looking suspiciously like they were snapping their new wedding bands.

However, on the 11.30pm ride back to the motu, the last for the day, they say this wasn't so - turns out they were trying out the "tan mode" on their digital camera to see the difference it made to their alabaster skin - or that was their excuse.

The third couple, also from the US, left their two young kids with a neighbour back home in Florida to celebrate their 15-year anniversary in Bora Bora.

"I've put her through so much over the last 14 years I owe her this," he says.

"This" is the idyllic setting of Bora Bora, in French Polynesia.

The popular honeymoon destination is surrounded by a collection of small islands, one of which houses the tiny basic airport, and others owned privately, like Sofitel's motu.

The mainland is home to about 8,000 Polynesians and takes only an hour to circumnavigate by jeep on the island's single sealed road.

The volcanic caldera is rugged and dense but it is the calm azure waters and white crushed coral sands that have honeymooners flocking to the destination.

Between Bora Bora and the Sofitel Motu, about 1km away, the water glows beneath the warm summer sun in at least seven different hues.

Island locals say artists have tried to paint the scenery but have no colour in their pallet to portray the lagoon.

On Bora Bora (or Pora Pora as it's pronounced in Tahitian because there's no B in their alphabet), the loved-up couples are ubiquitous.

Ad Feedback They clasp hands over the dimly lit tables (set only for two), coo over pricey duel black pearl necklaces (knotted with the symbol of eternity) and bask in the sun, playfully fingering each others' skimpy swimwear.

On the Sofitel motu, my thatched pandanus-roof, over-water bungalow, oozes sex appeal and has a circular hole cut-out in the floorboards for fish-spotting.

At night, a spotlight shines into the water from the porthole below, allowing me to catch glimpses of marine life by starry night.

As I prepare to hit my king-sized hay, sans partner, I hear a commotion outside.

Tight tan bums are peeking through the moon-lit water near the hut (love den) a few doors down.

The loved-up Quebecians are skinny dipping, swimming towards the bungalows where the spotlight is shining into the water.

"We're naked!" they proudly announce, waving to curious onlookers.

After their increasingly passionate embraces onboard the boat, a couple of cocktails and the romance in the air I'm not surprised this was the climax.