Dan Ostler, one of our thought-provoking guest lecturers, is a passionate traveler that takes joy in the many fascinations of the natural world. He devoted his lifelong career to research and design in diagnostic radiology techniques and laser surgery, and now enjoys indulging his spirit for adventure as he explores the world and shares his knowledge as a travel enrichment lecturer. He was recently aboard one of Marina’s journeys in the South Pacific and shared his underwater experiences below.

1Bora Bora is perhaps the most romantic island on the face of the earth – the scenery and locale bringing to mind the mythical Bali Ha’i of the musical South Pacific. A remnant of an ancient volcano, the lagoon surrounding the sinking volcanic mountain is a wonderful place to go snorkeling.

About three to ten feet deep, with a white sand bottom, the lagoon creates the perfect tropical sea adventure for the not-quite-Olympic-class 2swimmer. Given that no visit to French Polynesia is complete without a foray under the waves, the obvious thing is to book an excursion and jump in!

At the dive site, the view is spectacular – the ancient volcanic peak dominating the skyline. This picture was taken standing on the sandy bottom in chest deep water.

Now for our expedition to the world under the surface…

Below the surface, a flash mob of tropical fish greets your arrival. They have the tour schedules figured out!

Placid reef sharks slip by, on patrol. Excursion operators typically pick locations with black tipped reef sharks, which have a pretty good reputation with people around. These are still wild predators and quietly deferring to them is the best strategy. Given that this shark has attracted an entourage of three remoras and the six pilot fish, it must be the sloppiest eater on the reef!

6Meanwhile, sting rays cruise cautiously in our presence, ever watchful they don’t end up underfoot.

All in all, the perfect day. The serenity, beauty, majesty and perfection of this world beneath the surface is the reason I return each winter. If ever there was a Bali Ha’i, it must have been like this!

Why not make your South Pacific dreams a reality with Oceania Cruises this winter?