May 3rd Monday – Sail to Bora Bora
The conditions were just right. After we motored safely out of the reef pass
at Tahaa, we hoisted the sails & enjoyed the 4 hour trip. Scott kept Clark &
I on our feet, with 3 downwind tacks (safer & more controlled than gybes).
It was hot & sticky but a lovely ride. I couldn’t resist playing “Bali Hai”
from the South Pacific soundtrack as we approached. You would think one
tropical island looks like another after a while, but there is something
special about Bora Bora. Clark described it as King Kong mountain. It was
easy & convenient to pick up a mooring at the Bora Bora Yacht Club. Their
restaurant, docks & pension were damaged during hurricane Oli, which only
came within 160 miles. American Jessica & local Teiva are running the bar,
renting moorings & trying to get back on their feet. We end up staying over
May 4th Tuesday – Pearl Beach Resort
We dinghied into shore/town, I bought a few provisions but our fridge is
marginal, not cooling fast enough. Didn’t do major shopping, more scouting.
There looks to be more available than when we were here in November. One
market changed ownership & everyone we asked which of the two was better
said the Super-U. I could not really tell much difference. We reserved a
rental car for tomorrow.
In the afternoon we loaded the dinghy and shuttled Clark & Vincent to their
hotel. It is a 15 minute ride to the islet, called a motu. Just about all of
the nice resorts are located on a motu, not the main island. The property is
as lovely as anticipated. The over water bungalows are picturesque, but I
think they made the right choice with the beach bungalow, which is larger,
you can walk out along the sand & it is closer to the pool.
We had tried calling friend Wilfred Vincent who is assistant manager of the
property at Tikehau & learned he was on vacation. He had been here in Bora
Bora! We missed him by just one day – darn!
We swam in the pool, took photos on the beach & enjoyed being tourists for
the afternoon. They will meet us onshore to tour the island by car tomorrow,
so our farewell was not too sad yet.
We got somewhat wet on the return ride due to the prevailing wind. Moored
near us, we stopped by a 66 foot Oyster, monohull moored near us. Boat name
\”Fuerte\”, Home port \”London\”. We were delighted to meet Jubee & William who
are British. The owner, not currently onboard, is American who lives in
Rancho Santa Fe, California. William was a wealth of knowledge (&
equipment!) for our struggling fridge. Later that evening, they stopped at
“Beach House”. I fed her curry & red wine while he & Scott pondered our poor
fridge. William didn’t care for curry, so declined, but I sent them home
with a really good chocolate bar in appreciation. She & I talked easily.
They have worked as captain & crew for hire on boats for 9 years, yikes! I
am always in awe of those that work that way. They could not possibly get
paid enough for all the work.
It was a very nice connection & they will be here for the next couple of
weeks, and we plan to stay awhile too. We want really calm weather to move
on to Maupiti & it has been blowing really hard. Good for keeping it cooler..
Good for sailing. Good for keeping the bugs away. But not good for getting
into the tricky pass of Maupiti. We are in no particular rush. Plus C&V are
at their hotel until Saturday. We plan to go with the dive company through
their hotel Thursday to learn some of the sites.
May 5th – Wednesday Drive Around Bora Bora
Scott made a tech support Skype call to our Marina del Rey fridge & air
conditioning buddy Alan Rosner. They decided we needed to empty the fridge,
take it offline & vacuum the lines while we had the use of s/v Fuerte’s
equipment. I threw out some food and took what I wanted to keep to the open
air bar at the Bora Bora Yacht Club, where we are moored. They have a big
refrigerator that is accessible 24/7 (to keep beer, etc) so I just put my
bags of stuff in there. Very handy.
The Avis person picked us up on the street on time & took us to the rental
car office. Clark & Vincent took the shore boat from their resort to the
main island, then caught the bus to the office where we all rendezvoused.
This is the smallest island & sadly the most overbuilt & not very nice to
drive around. But we came, so we saw it. We joked that ever since Goldie &
Kurt stopped coming here the place has gone to heck! There are many
dilapidated properties, trash piles, abandoned construction sites amidst the
scenic lagoon & dramatic green mountain. Clark thought the mountain profile
looked out of King Kong, we all agreed. The highlight was stopping a lot to
take photos, looking past its shortcomings & finding the beauty where we
could. We ate lunch at a forgettable place. It was recommended as good for
cheeseburgers, but I am not sure that it was the correct place. We consoled
ourselves down the road with ice cream, creme brulee (not as good as Raiatea
Lodge) & coconut cake at \”Bloody Marys\” named from the movie “South
Pacific”. There was a list of all the famous people that have eaten there
(including photos of Kurt & Goldie). It was a perfectly touristy tiki hut
with sand for the floor. Many of the locals are jaded/resentful of tourists
so the service and attitude was not great, but we had fun anyway.
Vincent is such a delight. I wish I had an exact recording of the
description he gave of how much ice cream pleases him. Something like:
\”Anticipating the moment when I will taste it, I am happy. Then in the
moment, eating it; is wonderful. Then afterwards, remembering the taste
gives me more pleasure.\” I don\’t think I will ever eat ice cream again in a
blasé way. Overall, with our guests we have eaten a lot more quantity &
sweets, but we\’re on vacation too!
We parted ways on the street where C&V could catch the bus back to their
resort shuttle boat, while Scott & I headed to the market & to return the
car. We will see Clark in the morning for diving. The dive boat agreed to
pick us & our gear up on “Beach House”. But we may not see Vincent again.
They had secretly purchased a gift for me. A set of coasters with different
lovely pictures of Bora Bora: flower, island, palm trees. Very sweet. I
wanted to cry, sob into Vincent\’s arms actually. They have been such rays of
sunshine. Not that Scott & I haven\’t had fun on our own. We have, can &
will. But because I love my friends deeply and it will be awhile until I see
them again, parting feels wrenching. They are still at their hotel until
Saturday night, so maybe we will go there for dinner. I managed to keep all
this internal drama under wraps & say goodbye with grace.
At the market I hesitated to buy much that needed refrigeration, although
Scott has confidence that this treatment will be the solution. I left the
lettuce, cheese, etc at the yacht club fridge with my other perishables. We
opened the boat, we always have to close it up for potential rain & it gets
very hot in the salon. Scott started the job of vacuuming the fridge lines
with the borrowed equipment from William. We have been running the generator
for 4 hours. He is watching a Sci-Fi TV series, while I am writing. I
snorkeled before sunset. Near the shore I saw an octopus, several colorful
clams & when I swam back to the boat I saw a long wahoo, maybe 3 feet, we
kind of scared each other. Good sushi… Got a load of laundry done. The
washer is also spazzing out. Always something.
We plan to get up earlier than usual to get all our dive gear together.
We\’ll use the company tanks, which are aluminum, not steel. I\’ll have to
wear more weight, but that is ok. Just need to remember to make up a belt.
May 6th – Thursday Diving with Blue Nui
The best sites outside the reef are not easy for us to get to on our own.
Too deep and rough to anchor the big boat. And too far away to go by dinghy..
So we will splurge and pay for a few days of diving. It is very convenient
that they pick us & our gear up (we used their tanks, but brought everything
else) where “Beach House” is moored & zoomed out to the sites in about 20
minutes. It was a bumpy high speed ride, but worth it.
We had two great dives with instructor Gilles, associate divemaster Fred who
took underwater video footage, two Italian guests & Clark. All in the group
were comfortable underwater so it was a nice experience. The visibility was
great! It is such a treat to have clear water. Plenty of sharks followed us,
ever hoping to get fed. Scott enjoyed himself, even without his camera,
although he will surely bring it tomorrow. I must be finally acclimatizing
somewhat to the hot weather. I actually felt a bit cool at the end of the
second dive and the water is still 85 degrees!
We were back onboard our boat just after noon. After rinsing our gear &
taking showers, we zoomed to shore to get some of our food out of the yacht
club fridge. I made the ever popular tuna salad, always satisfying.
Clark & Vincent called and invited us to join them at one of the main island
restaurants, Kaina Hut Bistro. I was thrilled to see them again. Besides,
with our fridge offline, cooking is not that convenient. Scott has done two
rounds of repairs. It is a bit of a waiting game right now to see if the
temperature goes down enough and stays down. Stay tuned.
The restaurant had a lovely ambience and good seafood. Tomorrow night we
will dinghy to their resort for a Polynesian dinner & show. The fun with
May 7th – Friday Diving & Dinner Show
Today was the last day of diving for Clark. Tomorrow they catch the 6 pm
flight to Papeete then just before midnight the red eye to LA. Of course we
took advantage of the opportunity to offload some stuff we don\’t need/want
here right now. They will ship it to Redondo, where Mike will hold it for
us. Mostly books & DVDs. Clark finished the book \”My Life in France\” by
Julia Child & passed it on to me – I am very excited to read it.
The diving in Bora Bora is very good. Clear water with lots of sharks and
large variety of fish. It is so easy to go with the company instead of
schlepping on our own in the dinghy. Plus all the other divers have been fun
and even the new divers seem relaxed, so it makes it very enjoyable. Scott
is always in heaven when he gets to shoot photos or video. And I am the
happiest when underwater, so we are both good. It turns out we had two
pre-paid days leftover from diving with Marc at Blue Nui in Manihi, so today
we started a new package. We\’ll probably go 5 more days, 2 dives each
morning . Terrific!
Owner/instructor Gilles & I played some underwater today. It reminded me of
diving with Terry Kennedy in the Sea of Cortez. There is nothing like
fooling around to make your skills improve. Maybe Scott will post a \”deleted
scenes\” video on the website. Clark purchased their photographer’s DVD. Fred
is super nice & fun too. Scott is learning some techniques by watching him
shoot. We watched the DVD of May 6th diving. After watching Fred do it,
Scott grabbed the tail of a particularly tolerant lemon shark, they’ve named
Blanchette for the white mark on her tail. That was definitely the video’s
highlight – oy veh!
We went to a site that sometimes has manta rays. We divers didn\’t see any,
but it was still an OK dive. The wife of a honeymoon couple snorkeled for
the first time ever & she saw a manta! We were jealous, but so happy for
her. They are Italian & she was adorably enthusiastic telling the story.
We dinghied to C&V\’s motu resort in our bathing suits. We knew it would be a
wet ride with the waves & wind. We took our dinner clothes in a dry bag,
changed in the bathroom. The guys were gorgeous in pareos with white shirts
and a plumeria blossom behind the ear. The food was crazy expensive for the
buffet ($90 each not including wine!), but it was our last night together &
there was a live music & Tahitian dance performance afterwards. Scott is not
a big fish eater, mostly it was seafood. He didn\’t starve with a slice of
beef, roasted pork & some fruit. I bravely tried an oyster since C&V raved
how great they were. It really was fine with a splash of vinegar. Yeah, it\’s
a texture thing… I loved the tuna sashimi & put the vanilla sauce on four
different beautiful little desserts.
Great tiki hut ambience, local music & a traditional dance performance. The
dancers grabbed tourists to join on stage. Scott & I managed to grab the
cameras and let C&V shake their booties while we captured the moment on
film. Man, they are good dancers & did not look at all goofy, like most of
the other non-Polynesians. Plus wearing their pareos, they totally fit in.
What a nice finale!
We had one more round of hugs & kisses under the stars as they helped us
cast off the dinghy. At the end of a seder we say: Next year in Jerusalem.
With them we keep saying: Two years until Australia! I would gladly have
them sooner, anywhere, but that seems the most likely place. Thank you our
Paris friends, for bringing so much sunshine to French Polynesia.
Cindy & Scott