Saturday, August 27, 2011

Stuck in Bora Bora!

Well, come to think of it, Bora Bora is a wonderful place to be stuck, so we can't complain!
Stingray giving Doug a kiss...

We have been here for 3 weeks all ready - sure doesn't seem like it. There is a storm system blowing through now, so we are waiting for it to pass before sailing back to Raiatea.


Raiatea is only about 25 miles away, but there is no reason to bash in rough weather if we don't have to. Nothing wrong with staying in beautiful Bora Bora a couple more days.

We climbed there?  Oh my!

Doug just had to brag about his hike one more time. "We went all the way up there - never again!"

Island transportation

We spent a week on the East side of Bora Bora, which is definitely challenging but worth the trip. There are lots of reefs to maneuver around and the water is very shallow. So we stuck to following the channel and went very very slow. No worries - we never hit the bottom and missed all of the coral heads - yeah!

Hop into our pool?

Because of the challenges, not all cruisers get to see the East side. But, there are lots of hotels and lots of tourists running around on jet ski's, diving, snorkeling, and all the rest of the water sports. Lots of activity during the day, but very quiet at night.

Poor folks enjoying the resort

Doug and I decided to check out the Saint Regis Resort - just for fun. So we showered and shaved, put on our best (cleanest) outfits and dinghied over - they didn't kick us out! It was a beautiful resort and we enjoyed wandering around. We even splurged and had one fancy, very expensive, cocktail - $60 for 2 drinks. Ouch!

Carol sailing away

The rest of the week we spent exploring the beaches, snorkeling, kayaking, touring the islands, and hanging out with the crew from Evergreen.


Now, we are anchored in our favorite spot on the West side of Bora Bora tucked in from the storm and baking cookies (oatmeal raisin), watching movies, and playing a mean game of Hollywood Rummy. A nice way to wait out the storm.

Fruits and goodies for sell

It's about a 20-minute dinghy ride to town, but we are going to try to make a run between showers to do some provisioning - we are low on lots of staples (Coke Zero, wine, beer, meats, fruits, veggies, etc.).

Nice place for a picnic

If we time it right, we will treat ourselves to lunch at the Snack shop. Wonderful panini's, hamburgers, and french fries. Walk next door to the grocery store, buy 2 Hinano beers, and find a place in the shade to eat. A great picnic and it is affordable.

Taking a break from chores
Doug checked the weather - it looks like we will be here until Monday or Tuesday. Lots more chances to get my butt kicked in rummy again!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Hike from Hell!

Or as Josh (Evergreen) said - it was "terrifying" and I didn't think kids were afraid of anything!

Made it to the top!
Well, as you can see, the view from the top of Mt. Hue was amazing. But, I know that these guys will never hike to the top again. They were exhausted.

Mt. Hue - pretty impressive
Mt. Hue is only 2031 feet high, but it was a tough hike that took about 6 hours - it didn't even start off easy.

Josh climbing down

It was such a steep grade, that the guys were hanging on to roots and rocks for support. In some spots, rope climbing was necessary. Yikes!

The Guide
When we started up the mountain, a local man joined the group - didn't say a word - just start following us. He was carrying a machete and wearing flip flops.

 An interesting combination, but he turned out to be an excellent guide. We are so glad that he led our guys to the top (for a tip).

View from the top

From the top looking southeast, you can see the town of Vaitape (bottom), anchorage at Bloody Mary's restaurant (left), and the island of Toopua (top) where Moondance is anchored. Just beautiful!

The Professionals
These local kids were impressive - they ran past our guys on the way to the other peak - one of them was barefoot!

Mt. Pahia is only 2169 feet, but to get there you had to travel along a path that is less than 2 feet wide. Not recommended for rookies!

So, if you want an adventure and some really good exercise, give it a try. We definitely recommend getting a guide!

Starting to get steep...

PS: Carol and I pooped out after a short distance and went shopping - good choice.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Bora Bora - the other side of the island

Well, we finally got moving again and finally made it to the East side of Bora Bora. We only went about 7 miles, but it was an "exciting" trip. A lot of cruisers never see this side of the island and I can see why - it is shallow and you have to traverse through the reefs. At one point, we had less and 3 feet of water underneath the boat - yikes! But, we went slow following Evergreen and all watching out for coral heads.

It was worth it! We are anchored in a beautiful sandy bay surrounded by expensive Tiki Hut hotels. Le Meridian - over $800 a night; the Saint Regis is over a $1000 a night. Our view - priceless and free! Well, unless you count all of the money we spent on Moondance, but that's another story!

We are going to spend a couple of days here exploring the beaches and doing some snorkeling. As soon as we get an internet connection, I will post some pictures. You are going to love them.

PS: Wait to you see the next post about the "Hike from Hell" - what an adventure!

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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Bora Bora - the "Pearl of the Pacific"

It is hard to believe, but we have been in Bora Bora for over a week - all ready!
Enjoying Bora Bora
The first 3 nights, we grabbed a free mooring ball off of the famous Bloody Mary's restaurant and had to check it out!

Bloody Mary's

The restaurant has been around over 30 years and lots of famous folks have eaten here.  Their wall of fame includes Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp, Phil Jackson, Cameron Diaz, and hundreds more.  I know you will never see our names on the wall, but we enjoyed ourselves.
Cheese Burgers in Paradise!
For cruisers, the best value is lunch time (cruisers are cheap!).  We had the best bacon cheeseburger (and fries) that we have had for a very long time.  Crews from Loose Pointer and Evergreen joined us - no leftovers to be found for sure.

A different Tiki!

We have been exploring the town of Vaitape - it is a small town, but lots of good shopping.  Of course, the tourist shops are much more expensive than Tahiti.  Still fun to browse...

Our anchorage - Toopua
Next, we motored over to the west side of the island of Toopua and settled in.  Toopua is part of the old volcano of Bora Bora.  The crater now forms the bay between Toopua and the main island of Bora Bora.  What a beautiful anchorage - we have been here 5 nights and might stay a few more!

As you can see, the water is amazingly clear and warm.  Just feels wonderful to jump in!  We tried to catch some fish around the anchorage - no luck, but we will keep trying.

Bora Bora Nui Hotel
We ran into some of our Puddle Jump friends on Hadar while exploring.  They had kidnapped (just kidding) some honeymooners from Colorado who were nice enough to invite us to their Tiki Hut at the Bora Bora Nui hotel.  What a place - I would have loved to jump in that big beautiful bathtub and soak for hours - luxury!

Dinghy ride
We have been doing some snorkeling, and swimming (PE Class), and lots of relaxing, plus have been puttering around with the dinghy checking out the sites.  Bora Bora really is beautiful.  There are several Tiki Hut type hotels, the Paul Gaugin cruise ship stops here, and there are lots of tourist activities, but it is still not crowded. Amazing!

Dennis sailing his dink

Today is my 54th birthday - what a wonderful place to celebrate.  Lunch at Bloody Mary's and then Carol (Evergreen) is making me a German-chocolate cake (my absolute favorite). 

All I am missing is You!

Maybe tomorrow... we will start sailing around the back side of Bora Bora.  Looking forward to it.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Island hopping

We spent 2 nights anchored off of Raiatea near the town of Uturoa (second-largest town in French Polynesia) and enjoyed exploring and shopping.
Anchored in Raiatea

The first night, we anchored in deep waters. The second night, a very nice gentleman at Dream Yacht Charters let us tie up to their mooring ball in exchange for a 6-pack of beer. A heck of a deal and we had a wonderful night's sleep. Thanks!

Relaxing in Uturoa
The town of Uturoa isn't very big, but it has everything you want - you just have to time it when everything is open. We are still adjusting to "island time". You would have thought we would have the hang of it by now!

Doug checking out the shopping

They have a central market (marche) like Papeete with fresh fruits and veggies, wonderful crepes, and beautiful artisan crafts (upstairs). Even though we didn't buy much, we loved looking at the all the black pearl and polished shell jewelry - what an art.

Evergreen with Bora Bora in the distance
We decided to explore more of Raiatea on our return route in a couple of weeks, so we took off for the island of Tahaa. I know, we are really moving now - 3 islands in a week!

Sailing in the lagoon
The islands of Tahaa and Raiatea are enclosed by the same barrier reef and it was an easy sail through beautiful colored waters of the lagoon and we had an excellent view of Bora Bora. These islands are amazing.

Fancy resort on Tahaa
We anchored off a private motu (island) on the western side of Tahaa and relaxed for a couple of days.

We snorkeled through the Coral Garden, which is between two motus. The coral wasn't spectacular, but we enjoyed swimming with all of the bright colored fish. You could tell they were used to being fed - one tried to bite Doug!

Time to get moving again! We sailed from Tahaa to Bora Bora yesterday - a pleasant 30 mile sail. We grabbed a mooring ball off of the famous Bloody Mary's restaurant, which we just had to check out last night plus going in for Cheeseburgers today - yum!

Bora Bora is our furthest destination west. We have sailed over 4000 miles since leaving Mexico in April - pretty amazing, huh? 

Now, we are going to slow down our pace and meander back through all of the islands and places that we missed. Looking forward to it!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Next island, please!

I know its not like us to leave a place too soon, but we left Huahine and sailed to Raiatea yesterday. It was only 16 miles across the channel and we had a great sail. What a treat after our last experience!

Moondance anchored in Huahine
We were just settling in and starting to explore Huahine when we decided to head to Raiatea to catchup with some of the other cruising boats. Most of the Puddle Jumpers are leaving French
Polynesia because their 3-month Visas are expiring. So glad that we spent the time (and money) to get our 6-month visas. We have 3 more months here - yeah!

Doug enjoying Happy Hour
The weather was a little unsettled while we were in Huahine, but we still managed to have a good time. Even finding the best Happy Hour in French Poly. Doug was a happy man! Cruisers are wonderful about passing on tips on provisioning, fuel, anchoring, and Happy Hours - this was a good tip.

Huahine anchorage
The anchorage in Huahine was beautiful - as you can see. We didn't spend much time in the water though, the weather system was causing 1+ knot of current to flow through, which made it a tough swim. One kid (unknowingly) jumped in and couldn't get back to his boat. Fortunately, another cruiser saved him after Doug made the annoucement on the radio. Good thing we were watching!

Carol in Le Truck
We were hoping to hitchhike to the north end of the island to explore the marae site (sacred temple). No luck, but we did get some good exercise, plus our first ride in a Le Truck (free island transportation).

At the beach
We found a great beach (with some great people watching) for our picnic lunch. Turned out to be a very nice day after all!

Josh skurfing in Huahine
We are currently anchored off the town of Uturoa on Raiatea in 110 feet of water surrounded on 3 sides by reefs - yikes! Apparently, Raiatea isn't known for its great anchorages, but we seem to be
hooked in.

We have a wonderful view of Huahini, Raiatea, Tahaa, and Bora Bora and I saw the "Big Green Flash" last night - amazing! Today, we are going into town do some exploring and shopping (of course). Always love checking out new places.

We promise to visit Huahine again after Tahaa and Bora Bora - there is still so much to see and we don't want to miss it!