Bora Bora to Aitutaki: 100 miles to go …

Spectacular day out on the Pacific today, all the blues you can eat! This has been the first crossing we feel we are getting a true taste of how the Pacific should be, long may it last.
We are currently 100 nm ENE of Aitutaki and sailing a tight reach at 8 knots towards the north of the island, our only issue is our ETA, which at around 2200 hrs, means we either anchor off, or stand off the pass until daylight, the breeze is forecast to drop out so we will take all the miles we can whilst the sun is up.
Aitutaki has room for only two catamarans and we know for sure there is already one there plus a small mono-hull, it should make for some interesting parking!
So we are looking forward to meeting the new regime, out of France and into New Zealand in 500 miles, lets hope they are as welcoming as the reports we read and that they don’t confiscate all our fresh produce.
We dropped a new lure off the back of the boat yesterday, wire trace, 70kg line fresh off the spool, lots of superb knot tying and it was ripped from the line in 20 minutes, we really must re-evaluate our expectations and start fishing with smaller lures. Rehua out.

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Never leave port on a Friday …

We were all ready to go on Wednesday (checked out, provisions done) and happily went to happy hour drinks that evening knowing that all we had left to do the next day was to fuel up… But by the time happy hour drinks were over, the weather had changed completely and the floating dinghy dock had turned into a hellishly jumpy platform. We were soaking wet getting back to the boat and had a restless night’s sleep as Rehua was bouncing around its mooring alongside with all the other yachts in the anchorage. On Thursday morning the weather didn’t look any better and there was no chance of getting tied on to the diesel dock in those conditions. Toucan kindly lent us their jerry cans and we filled our tanks slowly with a lot of to-ing and fro-ing in very lumpy conditions. It took Seathan and Tyrii (who was a great little helper) the best part of the morning to get the job done. Toucan left after lunch but we decided to wait for the weather to calm down. I also had food poisoning a few days ago after eating a chicken salad in a local snack bar. Although I recovered, my energy levels were still low. One more decent night’s sleep would surely do the trick. And as if our minds weren’t made up already: two other kid boats arrived after lunch. The kids haven’t had much opportunity to socialise lately so we felt it would be good to give them a chance to play and hang out with other kids. And they did! All afternoon and all evening!

And today it is Friday. The weather has calmed down and the swell has reduced. But it’s Friday. You know that saying “Never leave port of a Friday”… We’re not superstitious but we are sailors after all. And the weather is predicted to calm down even more today. We just got a report back from Toucan who are on their way to the Cook Islands and the conditions out there are pretty rough, but getting better by the minute.

Seathan also had one more job to do this morning. We had some bad luck at the dinghy dock last night (still the bouncy platform from hell). Our dinghy got entangled with a dive boat that ripped a big hole in one of the tubes. It was a very sad looking dinghy and luckily there were enough other cruisers around to help and tow it back to the boat. The dinghy is all patched up again thanks to our neighbours from Windance who gave us some glue (we ran out recently) that worked with our patches. I still think we’ll be going shopping in New Zealand though ☺

Kids having fun at the MaiKai Yacht Club last night

Kids having fun at the MaiKai Yacht Club last night

Checked out and ready to go!

It’s time to say goodbye to Bora Bora and French Polynesia. We love it here and don’t really want to go but El Niño is keeping us (and all other yachties) on our toes and we need to get to New Zealand before hurricane season starts.

This morning we went to the Gendarmerie to check out and then to the supermarket for provisions. Everything is neatly stowed away and all that’s left to do is to go for happy hour drinks at the MaiKai Yacht Club tonight and tomorrow we set sail to Tonga via Aitutaki and Nuie and perhaps with a stopover in Palmerston. We’re not sure yet about Palmerston as we hear they want us to bring all sorts of expensive supplies (whisky, chain, line…) that cost an arm and a leg in this part of the world (and almost everything is expensive in French Polynesia as they don’t have income tax and all the monies are levied trough import duties).

Anyway… We’ll see where the wind takes us!

A few more pics from the last couple of days:

can't get enough of this view ...

can’t get enough of this view …

nosy fish

nosy fish

can i touch them?

can i touch them?

tyrii snorkeling

tyrii snorkeling

fun on the SUP

fun on the SUP

SUP surfing

SUP surfing

SUP surfing with Rehua in the background

SUP surfing with Rehua in the background

Rehua in Bora Bora with buddy boats Toucan and Bema

Rehua in Bora Bora with buddy boats Toucan and Bema

Bora Bora

It’s still blowing hard! Quite a few boats have set sail for Tonga in the last couple of days but we choose to spend a bit more time in Bora Bora. We have been rushing so much in the last year that we feel we deserve a little break. We also have a couple of longer crossings coming up to get to New Zealand before hurricane season. So there we go: that’s enough justification for a little holiday on Bora Bora!

We go for an off-road 4×4 sight seeing tour around the island and discover some of the history, culture, fauna and flora. There are several World War 2 sites the Americans built in 1942. Some of the lookout points offer breath-taking views and it’s great to see our anchorage from a different vantage point!

We love Bora Bora!

We love Bora Bora!

the clearest water you've ever seen!

the clearest water you’ve ever seen!

no need to dive to check the anchor, you can see it from the boat

no need to dive to check the anchor, you can see it from the boat

looking west, northwest with the pass in the distance

looking west-northwest with the pass in the distance

The 4x4 was needed to get up some very steep hills!

The 4×4 was needed to get up some very steep hills!

steep ride

steep ride

surf's up!

surf’s up!

this is what we had to navigate through! We had to stay very close to the green pylon and then turn right to avoid the reef straight ahead from the pylon

this is what we had to navigate through! We had to stay very close to the green pylon and then turn right to avoid the reef straight ahead from the pylon

rehua in turquoise water

rehua in turquoise water

family shot

family shot

our anchorage

our anchorage

panoramic view over our anchorage

panoramic view over our anchorage

more amazing views

more amazing views

and more

and more

beautiful flowers everywhere

beautiful flowers everywhere

canons brought here by the americans in 1942

canons brought here by the americans in 1942

canon with a view

canon with a view

American canon holder from World War 2

American canon holder from World War 2

roadside view ...

roadside view …

the most famous restaurant on Bora Bora! We stopped by but then decided to go for lunch somewhere else as it was full of american cruiseboat tourists!

the most famous restaurant on Bora Bora! We stopped by but then decided to go for lunch somewhere else as it was full of american cruiseboat tourists!

romantic dinner for two at the intercontinental (not for us unfortunately!)

romantic dinner for two at the intercontinental (not for us unfortunately!)

Stuck in paradise

Here we are: Bora Bora, the pearl of the Pacific. One of these mythical paradise names we always dreamed of sailing to. And we have to admit: it is rather wonderful to be here… Especially as it is blowing a hoolie outside! We are stuck here for at least another week until the weather calms down and we can set sail for Tonga.

On arrival from Tahaa we spend a few days at the anchorage near the Bora Bora Yacht Club and then decide to head south. We have to go around the northern end of the island to reach the south, as the southern tip of the lagoon is too shallow to cross. It’s eyeball navigation as the charts are very inaccurate and we have to dodge several reefs and bommies as we work our way around the lagoon. We anchor behind a motu, to find shelter from the strong winds. The next morning we dinghy over to a recommended snorkelling spot and we also say hello to our friends from Nelly Rose who are anchored a mile further south. We discover a much quieter anchorage area behind the Sofitel private island motu and check the depth and channel location by dinghy. It will be touch and go as the depth of the channel to get into that side of the lagoon is no more than 2 metres in places and very narrow with reefs everywhere. But we manage and it is so worth it to be here: beautiful calm water, great snorkelling and access to several hotels. We manage to pick up free wifi that works (which is totally unheard of!) and go for happy hour drinks at the intercontinental hotel. We literally get welcomed onto the beach by the staff. We leave our dinghy on the silky sand and head over to the beautiful beachfront bar. The kids are given towels for the tropical swimming pool and we are handed the happy hour cocktail menu. We are in heaven!

the mythical island of Bora Bora!

the mythical island of Bora Bora!

we had to go around the north to go south!

we had to go around the north to go south!

eyeball navigation

eyeball navigation

anchored in turquoise water!

anchored in turquoise water!

view from the cockpit

view from the cockpit

the swimming pool at the intercontinental

the swimming pool at the intercontinental

great snorkelling spot

great snorkelling spot