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Snorkeling in Bora Bora


Bora Bora
Bora Bora is an island in the Leeward group of the Society Islands of French Polynesia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean. The island, located about 260 km northwest of Papeete (French Polynesia's capital), is surrounded by a lagoon and a fringing reef. In the center of the island are the remnants of an extinct volcano, rising to two peaks, Mt. Pahia, and the highest point, Mount Otemanu, reaching 727 meters (2,385 ft.).

The island is administratively part of the commune (municipality) of Bora-Bora, itself in the administrative subdivision of the Leeward Islands.
Background Information
The island was settled by Polynesian people about the 4th century. While the island was sighted by earlier explorers, James Cook led the first group of Europeans to visit the island in 1777.

In 1842 Bora Bora was made a protectorate of France.
The climate in French Polynesia is tropical, warm and humid, with two distinct seasons:

The Austral or Southern Summer, more often called the Rainy Season, generally lasts from October/November to February/March and is caracterized by cloudy skies, brief heavy rains and warm temperatures (between 24 and 31 degrees Celsius in Tahiti, and between 21 and 26 degrees in Rapa) with East to North-East lizés alizés.

The Austral or Southern Winter, more often called the Dry Season since rain is rare, usually lasts from April/May to September, and temperatures are refreshed by the South-East alizés and particularly the "mara'amu" (temperatures between 20 and 28 degrees Celsius in Tahiti, between 15 and 20 degrees in Rapa).

As we move towards the South West islands, the level of annual rainfall increases: Ua Huka in the Marquesas (although close to the Equator) has the lowest rainfall with an average of 800mm per year; at the opposite, Rapa in the Australs islands (the southernmost archipelago) has about 2500mm of rain per year! In general, islands (with mountains) get more rain.

During the Rainy Season, tropical depressions can occur mostly with a South East course. If they become tropical "cyclones" or hurricanes (rare occurence since the last ones at the beginning of the 1980s), winds can reach a speed of 220 km/hr and create great damages. The water temperature is mostly constant ranging between a pleasant 26 and 29 degrees Celsius.

Finally, there is plenty of sunshine in French Polynesia ( 2500 to 2900 hours per year), especially in the atolls with a yearly average of 8 hours per day!
Snorkeling in Bora Bora
Bora Bora aerial view
Map of Bora Bora