July 2010 - Page 2

July 9, 2010 - Pass Tenape, Uturoa to Bora Bora Yacht Club – 27.61nm

Bora Bora where on the chart its name is actually Pora Pora, meaning "first-born”. Bora Bora, easily visible from Raiatea, (nice to do a line of sight passage for a change) was “discovered" by Roggeveen in 1722, and visited twice by Captain Cook. Much of the transportation on the island was built by Americans from the years 1942-'46. They had set up a refueling/regrouping base in 1942, and arranged eight huge naval guns on the island to defend the base from a surprise Japanese attack. The attack never came, but some of the guns are still there.

We took a mooring ball at the yacht club and went in to take a look around. They were having a bon fire and some guys were singing. The place got trashed in Cyclone Oli in February of this year so I was expecting it to look like Club Nautico in Cartegena but it looked great. We had a beer (albeit an expensive one) and then went home to bed.

There are Heiva events on the island of Bora Bora as well so we took the dingy downtown to see the dance show. Boy what a disappointment. It was suppose to start at 8:00 p.m. but it didn’t start until 10:00 and the dancing wasn’t even very good. There was a bit of singing and way way too much talking in Polynesian that nobody could understand. The kids were so tired, Cari fell asleep in my lap and Ryan was starting to fall asleep so I decided it was time to go. They just started dancing as we left.

In the early morning hours of July 11, 2010 was the long awaited much anticipated solar eclipse. We had bought our glasses and were able to see it from the boat and the yacht club. From French Polynesia we had a 90% coverage for the eclipse. We know some people who were going to go out to sea so they could see 100% of the eclipse but we were not that motivated.

The yacht club had on a breakfast to see the eclipse and to watch the World Cup soccer game between Spain and the Netherlands. There was lots of enthusiasm among the spectators in the club as there were quite a few dutch boats and lots of Spanish crew from another boat. However Spain won 1 to 0.

We got up early one morning to bring our bikes into shore. The road is a big 32km loop around the island with only one small hill! We decided that the kids do that so off we went. I was very proud of the kids, Ryan’s bike isn’t the best anymore but he did great, we made lots of stops for water and snacks. Cruised by the hotel area and saw a really nice beach. Will try to move there later on in the week.

Tomorrow is St. Bastille Day (France National Holiday) and all the cruisers are going to participate in the Bora Bora Yacht Club float. The kids spent all afternoon working on their pirate costumes. Then they went into shore to work on the BBYC float for the parade.

We had to be downtown by 0730!! Lots of cruisers dressed up like pirates and Eric on Oso Blanco dressed up as King Neptune. His sailing dingy was towed behind the yacht club truck and we all helped decorate it with courtesy flags from all the countries of origin cruisers were from. We marched around a very small course, past the President of French Polynesia to whom Andrea presented her poster from the kids that they had worked on yesterday and Adam from Bubbles presented him with a bottle of rum! He took a swig, handed it back to him and waved. What a hoot that was. Alot of the “younger cruisers” had bottles of rum and were actually taking swigs from them at 8:00 in the morning – “yuck” or “ahh- to be so young”. Not sure which. We were back to hear the speeches which we didn’t understand a word of and then went across the street with Elixir for really bad coffee (instant cold Nescafe).

In the evening there was a potluck at the BBYC for Eric’s 60th birthday. All the anchorage showed up, it was quite the party.

Our original plan was to leave after the July 14th celebrations but we are still waiting for our boxes – 3 boxes that were shipped from my mom in April to Tahiti and 2 boxes of school supplies that were shipped in May to the BBYC. Nothing has showed up, we have been emailing, going to the post office very day, it been a lot of time and hassle. I do not recommend shipping anything on the slow boat to French Polynesia. We did get some boat parts in a decent amount of time to Tahiti but not to Bora Bora.

We spent the next two weeks, motoring all around Bora Bora going to different anchorages and saying bye to our cruising friends as each day a couple of boats would leave to head west! One can’t really complain about being stuck in Bora Bora but the feeling of not being able to leave someplace when one wants to is contrary to the cruisers lifestyle! That being said, there were still lots of boats around and we had a great time socializing with all our cruising friends most evenings

The sound island anchorage was very nice, had to go through a small channel full of reefs to get there, anchored in 18 feet of water, shallow for a change. The hotel brings their guests to a few touristy spots here. One was the “coral garden” – a nice place to snorkel. There are mooring balls to tie the dingy. The other spot was the Lagoonarium --the shark and stingray feeding area. We swam over to the reef but there is nothing to see along the way except tone of black spiny sea urchins. The kids had fun skurfing, kneeboarding and waterskiing.

Our last anchorage in Bora Bora was over by the motu - Vainamu Toopua. We caught up with our friends on Tyee and Lucie introduced Andrea to diving. The first time they went by the boat, Andrea just loved it. The next day we went outside the pass to where the lemon sharks are. Lucie took Andrea diving again and I snorkelled over them watching her getting friendly with a lemon shark! Andrea’s enthusiasm runneth over about diving and hopefully she can do more of this activity in the future.

Bora Bora is the most touristy of the islands we have been to in French Polynesia, but it seems that the bulk of the tourists left a long time ago. Alot of the bungalows on the water remain empty, or have shut down, the infamous Bloody Mary's restaurant hasn't seen a new celebrity since the 70's if you look at the pictures at the entrance!

Security at the hotels will not let you come ashore so it is hard to find a beach to hang on. Fortunatley, our friends on Elixir found a nice man who said we could hang out under his cabana on the beach without a problem. It is still beautfiul and we had a very nice time in Bora Bora.