One of the big hurdles was complying with the travel requirements from the French Polynesia which consisted of:
- Proof of a negative RT-PCR test 72 hours prior to boarding
- Health registration on their government website
- Self-test 4 days after arrival in The Islands of Tahiti.
Two weeks prior to departure my Wednesday international flight was rescheduled to a Thursday. Unfortunately for me that then involved changing my domestic flight to Los Angeles, my flight from Tahiti to Bora Bora, and rescheduling both my Covid tests. I successfully completed those steps and 3 days later my flight was changed again from Thursday to Friday. At this point I’m asking myself if I really want to be a photographer. As I calm down I move my flights and tests but again, I get yet another flight update! Thankfully this time nothing had to be changed but it now meant I have to spend almost 11 hours in LAX airport. It sucks but I guess this is the reality of travelling in these times and I’ll take it.
On the day of my Covid tests things finally seemed to be coming together. I arrive at my primary physician, the nurses come into the room with the test kit and outfits like I’ve been exposed to radiation. Everything seems ok, but due to a processing issue they inform me that it will take 10-14 days to receive results. WHAT? Given what I had already gone through with the flights and the fact I already have a backup planned I simply declined this useless test and left. But because I wanted to be absolutely certain I received the test back in time I went to my local drive-in testing center which claims results in 3 days, but again no guarantee. While not painful, there is certainly a lot of pressure in your nasal cavity as far up as they stick the test and mine wasn’t without some eye-watering. I left the facility and drove to my secondary test site that guaranteed results and went through the process again. The next day, to my surprise, I had both results back and was ready to go!
Landing in the French Polynesia makes everything worth it. My flights could have been modified 30 more times and that would have all been OK after you see the crystal clear blue water and are greeted with the sounds of ukuleles and Tahitian singers. Tahiti and the surrounding islands are truly a paradise on earth and it's a place I believe everyone needs to visit as it has no equal.
The second excursion was diving with Bora Ocean Adventures which specializes in Scuba and whale watching. I desperately wanted to get some shots of whales but unfortunately there were none spotted the week I was there. Next time, perhaps.
I can’t say enough about the AquaTech equipment. I researched different systems heavily before deciding on the Elite II for my Sony a7r IV. I knew what I didn’t like from my previous housing so I really wanted to give the pistol grip a try and this was life-changing for me. Using it was so much more natural in the water and I could use my other hand for stabilizing and swimming rather than holding the camera to get a steady shot. I had access to all the controls I needed and came away with a lot of great underwater content and at least one new print.
In addition to the Elite II Housing I also ordered the AxisGO with the dome port for my iPhone. I’m able to get content from my phone on social media much faster than editing with my good cameras and I had an amazing tool for behind-the-scenes shots. Everyone knows how to shoot with an iPhone and when you add a pistol grip to that system it's an instant favorite as well.
Overall my trip was a huge success! The gallery looks amazing, the touchscreen kiosk that allows video conferencing directly with me when I’m not at the resort with a single press is installed, and I have a ton of new content and prints to add to the collection.
You can find more images and information on Johns’s Instagram and Website.