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Showing posts from July, 2015

Saving the best of French Polynesia for last?

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Just 20 miles west of Bora Bora is the beautiful island of Maupiti, our second to last stop in French Polynesia. Like Bora Bora, it has a beautiful mountainous island surrounded by a coral reef. What is missing are all the hotels, cruise ships and tourists. We have been in French Polynesia for 3 months and been to many great places. What we found when we squeezed in through the narrow channel in the reef at Maupiti, however, was the prettiest island and the most amazing blue water.

There is a town, where we went ashore and met up with Chuck and Lauri from Free Spirit. The town has a church, a couple of stores and a school, all of which service the 1000 residents. We walked along the road to the best beach. It was tempting to pick the mangoes and bananas we saw growing all over the place, but they all belong to someone.

Dina waved down a passing truck, and the four of us hopped in the back and got a ride to the beach. As promised, the beach was beautiful. After a little picnic, we did…

Another week in Bora Bora

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Once Heather left, the rain arrived. We had two straight days of rain followed by a third day of occasional rain. Many other boats had arrived in Bora Bora, the last stop in French Polynesia before officially checking out of the country and heading west to Tonga, via the Cook Islands, or north to Hawaii.

As usual when there are boats moored near each other, there was lots of socializing. Most of us were on mooring balls at the MaiKai Marina. It is the closest to town, were the Heiva festivities were taking place (plus groceries, banks, fuel, propane, etc.). We would often gather for drinks and appetizers on a boat and then all go to the Heiva. Or using the internet at the marina bar would turn into a party.

With Chuck and Lauri, from Free Spirit, we rented a car to tour the island. There are some beautiful views of the central mountain as well as the stunning lagoon and the motus that ring the island. We stopped at the Sofitel resort for fancy drinks and a fabulous view then continued o…

First few days in Bora Bora

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We had a nice afternoon sail to Bora Bora. There wasn't quite enough wind so we used the motor, along with the sails, to give us an extra push. We could see Bora Bora in front of us the whole way. Somehow that makes it a bit nicer and a bit easier.

Bora Bora is a rugged volcanic island surrounded by a coral reef. The mountain is quite spectacular and the waters are beautiful. Heather hadn't been to a beach in French Polynesia yet and didn't get to go to any beaches when she visited us in Mexico! Most of the nice beaches on Bora Bora have resorts on them and are private, but there is one nice public beach. We anchored nearby, packed our dinghy (Tubby) with a picnic lunch, some beach towels and books, and spent a lovely afternoon on the beach.

Back at the boat we moved for the night to a mooring ball in front of the famous restaurant bar "Bloody Mary's". The idea is that they provide the mooring balls and you go in and spend money. We checked our shoes at the do…

Exploring Raiatea and Tahaa

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Our next stop was the islands of Raiatea and Tahaa. It was a 15 hour sail, so we left Moorea in the late afternoon in order to arrive the next morning in the daylight. The wind was good, but the seas were a bit sloppy. It was a bit uncomfortable for us, and not what we wanted for Heather's first offshore passage. She was a little seasick, but was quite stoic and managed to sleep through most of it.

The two island of Raiatea and Tahaa share the same barrier reef, so we could explore a lot while staying inside the calm waters of the lagoon. As we entered the lagoon near the SE corner of Raiatea, Malcolm was quite impressed with the various shades of blue water and Heather was quite happy the boat was no longer rocking.

Our first stop was at Hotopuu Bay. This bay is quite deep so we had to find an underwater hill where we could drop the anchor. Malcolm and Heather took Tubby out to explore Taputaputea marae (ancient Polynesian temple) at the entrance to the bay. This marae was the mo…