Monday, 24 August 2015

Hangin' in Bora

Bora Bora, seen from Tapuamu on Taaha

The Commodore at the wheel, ably supported by Barb

The party’s over. The guests have gone home.  Now it’s back to work, to use the term in the loosest possible way.  I hear Andy and Barb laugh. “First world problems,” Andy commented after an evening spent with some of our cruising friends where inevitably conversation drifted towards which bits on which boat were falling apart.

In our case, the watermaker (so very often it’s the watermaker). Alex is working on that now, thanks to Silver Fern’s friend Phil who brought up a new pump for us from New Zealand.

The skipper in relax mode

I’m not sure how it got to be that I became so reliant on having copious supplies of water. Maybe the rot set in when we bought a boat with a washing machine.  That established a standard of comfort that I hadn’t before associated with living on a boat.  But now the standard’s been set, you’d like it maintained. So it’s back to work, as I say.

Before we left Papeete, we borrowed a machine to stitch up the small headsail

....and we took a car around Tahiti island

The big pro-surf comp on Tahiti-iti was about to start (more pix below)

But what a month of play August has been.  Not only have we had good company on board, but the radio has fair crackled as the rump of the migratory Pacific fleet moves west through the Society Islands.  The social activity in the anchorages seems to have ratcheted up several notches, perhaps in anticipation of the next ocean passages which of course everyone does on their own.

The approach to Tapuamu on Taaha (which shares a lagoon with Raiatea)

The tummy-grazing snorkelling on Taaha 

Bora Bora is where those of us who are not staying over in French Polynesia for the cyclone season will check out.  And it’s where Barb and Andy got off the boat after 10 days on board. 

Baguettes are us...on Moorea, Cook's Bay

Opunohu Bay (left) and Cook's Bay, Moorea - seen from the Belvedere

Polynesian colour and movement (and below)

Where's the pass? 

We didn’t have enough time anywhere with them, and that goes for Bora Bora too, but funnily enough, it probably won’t be Bora Bora we’ll sigh over when we rewind memories of the top holidays we’ve had together. Huahine will take that honour.

Avea Bay, Huahine - with outsized neighbours

Nothing doing in the lagoon either

Some of that’s to do with the weather which jumped out of the paradise groove at the beginning of August and is still wandering about, looking more like wet season than dry.  But in Avea Bay, at the southernmost tip of Huahine,  all the essential ingredients of a tropical holiday mix were lined up –  a wide sandy anchorage, brilliant blue lagoon waters, a lazy curl of surf breaking on the distant rim of reef,  sufficient brightly coloured fish to make a drift snorkel interesting, blazing sunshine, and the whole  lush flowered kit and caboodle on shore.  And there was no internet or phone reception. Perfect.

Sunday lunch at Chez Tara is a Polynesian oven-baked feast (and below)

Reef and lagoon, Huahine (and below)

The Commodore discovered Jack Reacher, and forgot about his inbox.  Barb and I picked up our conversation where we’d last left off – was it 18 months ago? – and in the evenings gave the tonic supplies a nudge. Tahitian limes exist to go with Bombay Sapphire, don’t they?

The girls take the dinghy ashore to go cycling (and below)

Afternoon tea - fresh pawpaw and lime icy pole
Andy's SECOND book - Saturday, by Ian McEwan

The biggest yacht ever....anchors right next to Enki

The sea overnight from Moorea to Huahine was a washing machine

The sailing was mostly fine too. Nobody could have done much with the horrible cross-seas that Barb (and rest of us) endured on her first-ever overnight passage from Moorea to Huahine, but from there on, it was all a breeze.  For a heavy displacement cruising yacht, Enki performs surprisingly well upwind, the Commodore decided, as he pushed her along at 8 knots between Huahine and Raiatea. 

The sailing got better...

When we could, we bought baguettes early in the morning

On approach to the Bora Bora pass

Pity about the fishing.  It turns out that even the experts find Enki’s aft deck a challenge as a fishing platform. It isn’t just us, in other words. Still, we’d like to haul in something before we get home.

In the lagoon, Bora Bora - crew pull out the toys for the kids

For now, we’re huddled under the famous peak of Bora Bora, with a cluster of other yachts, all of us quoting Bob McDavitt’s Sunday weathergram which forecasts a long week of South Pacific Convergence Zone conditions (read dismal) before the next “weather window” opens for yachts heading to Tonga. Paradise is momentarily lost under squally rain clouds. It’ll return, and if Alex lives up to his reputation as a man of uncommon good sense and resourcefulness, he’ll have the watermaker up and running by then.  Strangely, the job isn’t as easy as it first looked….

On the beach, Avea Bay



  1. Andy couldn't get the job done? We're sending in Elias.

    1. It's a job for a seasoned pro, that's for sure. Have him on standby.