Captain Sullivan called it one of the most perfect sailaways he had ever experienced. As hundreds of us lined the decks to watch, a sinking sun painted Raitea’s mountainous, tree-covered slopes a rich gold. The wake of our ship carved curves on the turquoise water.
A sense of peace, shot through with longing, seemed to affect us all. Peace as we looked out on an idyllic setting. Longing as we contemplated a return to cities where “progress” and “commerce” are synonymous with “noise” and “busyness”.
With only a short stretch to navigate from Raiatea to Bora Bora, the ship cruised slowly past the vanilla island of Tahaa (where the savoury spice is grown) and past quiet lagoons and motus (tiny islands, some of them with a few inhabitants, others pristine).
As we turned out of the lagoon where the ship had dropped anchor, the distinctive silhouette of Bora Bora appeared in the distance.
Gold edged the clouds as the sun sank below the horizon.
The only jarring note was the Caribbean music coming from the pool deck, where passengers immune to the magic of the moment swam or read or talked with friends. All around us were the sounds of birds returning to their nests, of sea breezes through palm trees, of waves lapping the shore.
I wanted to turn off the machinery, the sound system piping music to our ears, even the conversation around us and just absorb the harmony of this tropical paradise.