Moorea and the Leeward Islands of French Polynesia's Society Islands.

Graham Shaw
Tue 9 Aug 2011 19:05
Firstly, let me suggest caution for those of delicate sensibilities, and for any young persons reading, parental guidance may be required, before getting to the end of the pictures in this blog.
After Tahiti we headed some 15 miles across to the island of Moorea.  Together, Tahiti and Moorea form the principal islands in the windward group of the Society Islands
Above, Oponohu Bay on the island of Moorea.  This is where the fourth (1984) version (Mel Gibson / Anthony Hopkins) of the Mutiny on the Bounty story was filmed.  The 1935 second version (which popularly is believed to be the first) starring Clark Gable and Charles Laughton was actually filmed in California - how cheap is that?!  The first (almost unknown) version was apparently Errol Flynn's first movie role.
Next to Oponohu is Cooks Bay, named after Captain Cook, who landed here many years previously.  Even before Errol Flynn.
We hiked up to Belvedere - one of the highest points in Moorea with the crew of Evita.  This bit on the road is as steep as it looks!
At the top.
Ruins at Moorea: this was an archery practice and competition ground.
Leaving Moorea heading off towards Raiatea, some 110 miles away in the leeward group of the Society Islands.
In Raiatea Catacaos was haauled out of the water for antifouling paint and a couple of other jobs underneath.  Facilities here are a bit more basic than we are used to - the yellow structure seen above is positioned under the boat by the two guys in the water, and then the whole affair is dragged out by a tractor. (Massey Ferguson 435, for any tractor spotters reading.  A red tractor, for anybody else) 
Above, the view from the boatyard.  The island in the distance is Bora Bora.
After pressure washing and sanding, two coats of epoxy primer were applied.
Then two coats of antifouling paint, and Catacaos is ready to go back in the water.
A nice clean bottom will make all the difference
The very next day was Lorraine's birthday.  Lucas helped Daddy make the world famous chocolate fudge pudding by way of birthday cake.  I won't disclose here how old Lorraine is now.
Lucas helping Mummy blow out the candle.
Twenty-odd miles further on, and we are now in Bora Bora.  The colours in the water are stunning - here a boat seen just outside the reef.  All the islands in the Societies are high volcanic islands surrounded by atoll type barrier reefs with only narrow passes in them, which give access into the lagoons.  On the outside it can be quite rough if the weather is bad, but once through the pass it is generally like the proverbial millpond.
Bora Bora has a number of exclusive resorts, as above.
Lorraine climbed up to one of the highest peaks in Bora Bora with some other yachties, Ken from Cosimo, Gail from Ri Ri and Gerry from Challenger:
Ken (left, above) is a fascinating character.  He is from Launceston in Tasmania, and is Australia's fastest single handed circumnavigator - a journey which he made in 2006/07.  The tale is recounted in his book "One Man's Journey", which so far is a gripping read.  Check for details if interested.  Ken is now taking a much more sedately trip with his wife Wendy aboard their Bavaria 46 cruising boat.
The view from the top:`
One day we took a ride on the free ferry which goes to the airport, on a motu (small island) in the northern part of the lagoon:
On the ferry.  Lorraine is chatting to Annie and her son Ken, who are sailing home to Australia on their boat, Sunburnt.
One of the many tikis in Polynesia:
Lucas not wanting to have his picture taken next to this modern fibreglass pirogue:
We made a brief visit to another pearl farm.  The lady on the left here had just dived for an oyster on the farm, and it is just being opened, to reveal her new pearl:
Lucas not wanting to have his picture taken with Catacaos in the background:
Lucas being made to have his picture taken:
That's better:
This is the world famous Bloody Mary's restaurant.  The rich and famous come from all over to eat here.  And us as well.
Below is the exciting hand basin in the mensroom at Bloody Mary's.  The water is activated by pulling on the chain like an old-fashioned toilet flush:
Below, the actual toilet flush chain at Bloody Mary's:
On that note, we'll sign off for this blog.  Tomorrow we leave French Polynesia (after two and a half months here) for the Cook Islands.  First stop Aitutaki, 485 nautical miles away......