29 July 2006

Bora Bora

  • 29-Jul-2006
  • 16°31.6000"S/151°44.7000"W
  • Bora Bora, Society Islands, French Polynesia
Greetings All!

We hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend. Tom and I have been pretty busy these last few weeks trying to get in as much of French Polynesia as we can before our visa expired.

After the great snorkeling in Huahine, it was time to get our butts in gear. Our next stop was Raiatea, a 20 mile motor sail from Huahine. Our sole purpose for the one night stop in Raiatea was for provisioning and fuel. After entering the pass, our plan was to cruise past the fuel pier to check it out and see what we were in for. To our surprise, we found a small city marina. There was room for about 10 boats. And it is directly across the street from the grocery store and part of the fuel pier. It couldn't have been any more convenient.

After squeezing Sandpiper on the docks, we hit the grocery store. We spent more money on provisions since leaving Mexico. Granted, we did buy 8 bottles of our new favorite Tahitian vanilla rum.

The next morning the wind really started to pick up. Of course it was going to make moving the boat 100 feet to the fuel pier a bit of a challenge. But we were successful, with some help from our neighbors. We topped of the fuel tanks (duty free fuel has saved us a lot of money!), the water tanks, and we were off to the next island... Tahaa.

Sometime ago we saw a flyer for a Hotel Hibiscus and Yacht Club. So we really wanted to check it out. It is never what the pictures look like, or what you have imagined in your head. The hotel is also a turtle nursery, except they only had two turtles, and I think they were fine. They just keep them hostage to have something to show. The hotel itself looked liked it hadn't been maintained in 10 years. It is definitely not a place we would recommend. We did get a free mooring ball for the night, and we met some crazy Texans on a charter catamaran.

Our guide book says that around the corner are moorings for visitors to the pearl farm. So we figure we'll check it out. With all these free moorings around, we thought they sure are cruiser friendly in these parts. But we soon realized the moorings aren't for cruisers. They are for the charter folks. And there are lots of charters in these waters. Anyways, the moorings were working out well for us.

Once we arrived at the pearl farm and got our mooring, we realized there was nobody at the farm. So, on to the next stop which was to meet back up with our friends on Sensei at the Vaitoare Yacht Club. Finally we have found a real yacht club with brand new showers, laundry, Internet, and of course, mooring balls. This place was fabulous. I wish we weren't on such a tight schedule because I could have stayed for a few nights. But the next morning we were off for our final stop, Bora Bora.

Our sail to Bora Bora was great. There was lots of wind and even some squalls. There is one pass into Bora Bora's famous lagoon. Once in the lagoon, then straight ahead is the Bora Bora Yacht Club.

Even though I was able to do a load of laundry in Tahaa it had been a long while for us. So the pile was large. We spent the first two days in Bora doing laundry, cleaning and fixing boat, and all that other stuff that is no fun.

After we were ship-shape and officially checked out of French Polynesia, we moved to a motu that is suppose to have some of the best snorkeling on Bora Bora. Ever since we got here, the wind has been howling with 35 knots gusts. So swimming and snorkeling is not any good. The current here is strong, and with all the wind, the under water visibility is less than spectacular.

We thought if we moved to the leeward side of the island, maybe it would be better. But the current was still ripping. We took the dingy out to a smaller motu and found some great shells and a nice place to watch the sunset. So we back to the boat for some downtime until sunset. The sunset was spectacular! Along with our friends off Sensei, we had our own island to watch the sun go down.

I have to mention that our last anchorage was in front of the Sheraton. After we left, someone from the hotel came out and approached all the boats. They said that they had a special guest and all boats needed to move. I was shocked that a guest could be so demanding. Or that it was even legal to demand this. After all, these are open waters. Anyhow, the guest was Eva Longoria from "Desperate Housewives". She is now being called some nasty names by lots of cruisers.

This now brings us to yesterday, Friday. We (Sensei, Shiraz, and Sandpiper) picked up anchor and headed for the famous Bloody Mary's restaurant moorings. Our reservation was for 8, so Tom and I explored some more of Bora Bora. There are so many hotels here. Bloody Mary's was great! After all this time, we have finally found a Tiki Bar.

As of today, Saturday, we are still moored at Bloody Mary's. The wind is still ripping and we are just waiting for Monday so we can go to the bank, go to the store, and then say goodbye to French Polynesia.

Our plan as of now is to leave here Monday afternoon on a 1000 mile, or 10 day, sail to the country of Nui. We are skipping the Cook Islands because we are really looking forward to spending some extra time in Tonga.

Nui was not part of our original plan. But we heard the water is super clear because they have no rivers. You can see 200 feet down. It is a really tiny island, and neither of us had never even heard of it before. So why not?

Next time you hear from us will be early next week during our crossing. Hope all is well with everyone. Love,

Tom & Amy

Notes From Ron:
  • I found this July 2005 review of Hotel Hibuscus on Tahaa titled "How to make your wife cry during honeymoon" with lovely photos of the scary room.
  • An article about the hotel's turtle farm.
  • Here are some good pictures of Bora Bora with the Yatch Club and Bloody Mary's from the journale of the S/V Felicity.

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