Saturday, March 3, 2018

Bora Bora in Literature (Ghost of the Lagoon by Armstrong Sperry Review)

The story "Ghost of the Lagoon" by Armstrong Sperry takes place on the island Bora Bora in French Polynesia in the southern Pacific Ocean. This place is well known for its crystal clear water, beautiful coral reefs, and lush tropical vegetation. The main plotline is about courage and friendship.

The main characters of the story are the boy Mako and his little dog Aho. Mako's grandfather told the story about Tupa, who was a mysterious monster - the ghost of the lagoon. The old man said that he saw the monster once. Three fishermen were in the boat when Tupa destroyed it. One of them who found his death in that boat was Mako's father.

Next day the mother asked Mako to bring some bananas and oranges from the little island which was located half a mile offshore. Mako liked such kind of errands. He called his dog Aho, picked up his longed-bladed knife and seized his spear.

The island Bora Bora is known as a fabulous location for tourists who like being alone with nature. That kind of vacation is exclusively expensive. Reading this story we have a great opportunity to look at the natural sightseeings of this place. Some quotes from the text combining with pictures would be appropriate.

"The canoe shot ahead. Its sharp bow cut through the green water of the lagoon like a knife through cheese. And so clear was the water that Mako could see the coral gardens, forty feet below him, growing in the sand. The shadow of the canoe moved over them."

While a canoe drew away from the shore, Mako saw a white coral reef. Its upper part could be seen above the surface of the water like the fin of a shark. Mako imagined that it was enigmatic Tupa. He enjoyed feeling that he wasn't afraid of Tupa, he "shook his fist and called, “Ho, Mister Tupa! Just wait till I get my bananas. When I come back, I'll make short work of you!

Marko reached the desired island, "the boy saw the broad green blades of a banana tree. A bunch of bananas, golden ripe, was growing out of the top."

The boy accomplished his task and on the boat, filled with bananas and oranges, started his way home. Sailing past the coral reef, Mako remembered Tupa imagining himself a courageous hero who was able to fight the monster and suddenly ... Instead of a fin-like spine of the coral reef, Mako saw something different. It was a shark which was moving towards the canoe.

It was a real peril. "Here was Tupa—the real Tupa— the ghost of the lagoon! His knees felt weak. He tried to cry out, but his voice died in his throat. The great shark was circling slowly around the canoe." Mako grabbed Aho but the dog happened to fall over into the dark water. "Swiftly the boy seized his spear. Bracing himself, he stood upright. There was no weakness in him now. His dog, his companion, was in danger of instant death... The spear drove straight and true, right into the great shark's eye."

This story finished with a good ending. Mako with his dog and the dead shark came back to Bora Bora. He was honored like a hero. 

The writer, Armstrong Sperry, grew up in Connecticut, the USA. As a child, he loved listening to the tales of his grandfather about adventures of inhabitants and travelers in the Pacific Ocean. After he graduated from an art college, he spent some time on the island Bora Bora which was beautifully described in this story.

The story is some kind of advertising of the island Bora Bora.

Here is the link for those who'd like to have an imaginary trip to the fabulous island of Bora Bora:

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