Bora Bora - Ready to depart French Polenesia - 31st August

SY Saphir -
Jeff & Doreen
Fri 2 Sep 2022 02:33

Pos 16 29S 151 45W

I apologise that the plot on the map jumps from Hiva Oa in the Marquesas where we made a landfall to Bora Bora in the Society Islands where we are departing from, but that is due to a lack of “blogging” while we were here. Our YB tracker will show where we have been in detail.

We have had a fantastic time in French Polenesia over the last 10 weeks but it was just too short. I can understand why cruisers come here and stay for several years. You simply would not get tired of exploring these islands.

The island groups are quite different and we have been lucky to spend time in the Marquesas, Tuamotus and the Society islands.

After arriving in Hiva Oa and getting our breath back after a superb pacific crossing from the Galapagos we had the boat hauled to check the bottom rudder bearing which had been a cause for concern. It turned out it was a self aligning bearing and the inner and outer parts of the nylon bearing housing had become dirty and just needed cleaning and lubricating. All in all an easy fix. I also took the opportunity to clean all of the growth off the hull that we had collected and gave it a polish so Saphir when back in the water after a few days ashore looked like new again.

We found out soon after our arrival that there was an inter island festival for the Marquesas due to be held in Fatu Hiva in a weeks time. It was an opportunity not to be missed and as we had planned to go to Fatu Hiva anyway we adjusted our plans to take in the festival. Fortunately we had been warned that Fatu Hiva was alcohol free during this festival so if you needed to stock up do it before you sailed there!

The festival was amazing and probably the highlight of our visit to FP. The six inhabited Marquesan islands all put a team together to perform their traditional dances in traditional costumes. The energy and organisation that went into the dances and music was breathtaking and it was very special to be able to be a part of this ceremony of the islands’ culture.

In all we spent about 6 weeks in the Marquesas before moving onto the Tuamotus which in complete contrast to the high steep lush mountains of the Marquesas are low lying coral Atolls with a small amount of vegetation. However the shallow clear water inside the lagoons is perfect for snorkelling and we had some great fun swimming with the small reef sharks (or should that be “I” had some great fun swimming with the sharks!!).

From spear fishing outside the reef to trying to swim with some Whales that had entered the lagoon in one of the Atols there are many stories to tell which I can not do justice to at the moment but I have all of the photos for another time.

Finally we moved onto the Society Islands where we visited Papeete, the capital of Tahiti, Moorea and finally Bora Bora. In contrast to the other places we have been to in FP, Papeete is a huge busy place with normal things like bars and restaurants! Being a major town everything is available from boat parts to stores etc. I have to say though that after a week in a busy downtown marina (which surprisingly was not expensive) we both felt it was time to go. After a brief visit to Moorea we sailed the 150nm to Bora Bora which was to be our departure point for Fiji. In common to the Marquesas the scenery in all of the Society Islands is stunning.

Bora Bora is full of 5* resorts that are mainly located on the reef that fringes the island. The water is crystal clear and we planned to only spend a few days here to relax and enjoy some low key shore time before our next passage. However a rig check that I did last Friday (a day before departure day) showed that 2 strands on the port V1 shroud (that is an important piece of wire that holds the mast up!) had broken and needed to be replaced. Kicking myself as it was a job that I had meant to do when in Tahiti where the fix would be relatively simple we resigned ourselves to stay another day or two while I worked out a solution. The solution came in the form of me jumping on a plane last Monday to fly back to Tahiti with the said piece of wire, get a replacement made and return to Bora Bora the same day.

Tuesday saw us shipshape and ready to get back to sea so after filling with water and fuel we thought a final night on a mooring off an infamous restaurant called Bloody Mary’s and a “short” run ashore for a sundowner during their happy hour would finish off our visit to FP nicely. As we all know these short runs ashore don’t always go to plan so our early departure on Wednesday morning turned into a slightly slower meander into the day and after making the various last minute phone calls to family etc we finally let the mooring go at noon and were off the entrance to the pass at 12.50 local time.

All in all our visit to French Polenesia has had many highlights. It is a place that without question warrants the not so insignificant miles of ocean passages it takes to visit and one that I hope we can return to enjoy again in the future. But for now we are pleased to be back at sea and looking forward to the next stop which is Fiji.

I do have all the stories of our stay here written down and maybe will organise it into something I can send out when I get a chance while I am back at sea.

Finally, I am not sure if I have mentionned but we have entered the Fiji Regatta which starts in Musket Cove on the 15th September so we need to get our skates on! More of that later.