Hiking Bora Bora

We hiked to the top of this mountain

We hiked to the top of this mountain

Tuesday 7/30/2013 05:00      Posting by Barb:

16 30.112 S     151 45.347 W


We have been running around the little village of Vaitape stocking up on a few fresh things that we can get. Here we have internet so we have been calling family and trying to catch up on what is happening in the rest of the world. It is amazing just how little all that news has any effect on our lives. On Sunday fourteen of us headed out for a fairly tough hike up to the top of Mt. Otemanu. The trail head started from a paved road across the police and fire station. There was a big sign there warning people not to take the hike without an appropriate guide and to check in with the police. We ignored that. For Barb and I it was a hard hike but then we were the only people in the group that have made the 50+ age group club. It was a very steep trail as you hike up over two thousand feet, with no switch backs. At times you have to use ropes to help pull yourself up and other times you use roots, branches, or whatever you could find to hang on to. The trail meanders its way through the jungle and steep cliffs to the top where we are rewarded with a spectacular 360 view of Bora Bora. The view gives us a new perspective of the island, the channel, the coral and the many many resorts found around the lagoon. After an hour of wandering around the top taking pictures it was time for our descent. Going down was tougher than going up as now we have no choice but to ‘look down’ at the steep trail. We crawled and slid our way down envying the few of us that were barely in their 20’s running down the trail. They don’t have the fear of broken bones yet. The full hike took us about 6 hours and we got back to the boat feeling the well deserved muscle ache. We have exceeded the last day of our 90 day visa to explore French Polynesia. We are now planning our next leg of our travels which will probably take us to the Southern Cook Islands, starting with the island of Rarotonga. It is kind of a sad time as we say goodbye to our good friends Rick and Kyra on SV Nyon. Here we will be parting ways as they head to the Northern Cook Islands and then farther westward.

Bora Bora

Tuesday 7/23/2013 19:00    Posting by Dennis:

16 30.662 S     151 46.260 W


We have left the island of Huahine with a very strong wind from the east, blowing around 30 knots. This wind has been blowing ever since Pat has left. It makes doing anything pretty difficult. You can’t go very far in the dingy because you get totally soaked and the snorkeling is not great because of the poor visibility due to the stirred up water. Anyway we left Huahine and sailed in pretty big seas with a very stiff breeze. The seas were a little over fifteen feet but at least they were not as confused as they have been. We were running with a triple reefed main and the yankee totally rolled out. The rum line put us running tight downwind so we were gybing back and forth across it. The speeds we were doing were really great though as we surfed down the face of the waves. After we had been out a couple of hours Barb noticed sea birds circling above our trolling lures. We are a little cautious with the sea birds as we have already had the experience of catching and releasing a sea bird. When she went back to pull on the lines she realized that we had a fish on. She started pulling the line in but this time the fish was really fighting back. It would jump out of the water to try and shake the hook. She was yelling at me to hurry because she thought we could lose it. My job while she plays the fish is to empty the cockpit, get the washdown pump set up, hose down everything so the blood and fish slime does not stick to everything and get the gaff ready. Barb managed to pull the fish close to the boat and as the boat rolled and surfed down waves going seven knots or more, I managed to gaff the fish and heaved it in the cockpit. It was a beautiful 20 lb Dorado flopping all over the boat. It took me over an hour to fillet the fish and clean up the boat. It is tough filleting a fish, bent over with your head between your knees, fish at your feet sliding this way and that while you roll around in the waves. Every once in a while, when a particular large wave rolls the boat, you have to catch yourself so you don’t crash head first into the coaming on the other side of the cockpit. But I managed to get the job done and we had fish to eat for the next few days for breakfast, lunch and dinner (starting with a fine meal of Poisson Cruz). The rest of the sail was pretty uneventful, just fantastic speeds as we rounded the north end of Bora Bora on a beam reach. The island looks so majestic with the mountain rising out of the water in the distance. It is a very impressive sight to say the least.


Sunday 7/21/2013 19:00 16 46.877 S 151 01.738 W http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:16%2046.877S%20151%2001.738W Huahine Posting by Dennis: It was a very rough and long 120 mile ride to get here. When we left Papeete we had the full main up and the yankee out. We had ten to fifteen knots of wind and swells at ten feet and very steep. But then the wind died so we were left motoring in those ten foot swells, not fun at all. After we rounded the island of Moorea the wind piped up and soon we had winds of thirty to forty knots with seas over fifteen feet. The seas were very steep and very confused with waves coming at us from thirty degrees off both sides of the stern with wind roaring straight up the stern. By now I had the main triple reefed and the yankee poled out and we were doing over eight knots surfing down the waves. At times waves would slap the boat and douse us with water. It was kind of spooky in the middle of the night as the wind roared and the waves broke around us. Sleeping was not good to say the least. As we closed in on Huahine we could see the huge surf breaking on the reef and I knew we could not use the pass we had hoped because the waves were rolling in the pass and breaking on the shallow rise. We ended up going through a pass on the North West end of island which was not too bad. Once through we motored back southward behind the reef. I never get tired of watching the huge surf breaking onto the reef, it is just amazing. Once we found a place to anchor and got settled in, I fell asleep almost immediately and slept for the entire night. Today we have been hanging out in the boat working on the blog and cleaning as the wind howls outside and the rain squalls pass by. I just wanted to say I miss you all and think of you often. It is midsummer back in Minnesota, on second thought you can keep the Mosquitoes.


Friday 7/19/2013 Papeete Posting by Dennis: Well here we are back in the mooring field in Papeete. Once we got here we see that a boat that was anchored next to us when we were here before is now lying on its side on the beach. It happened at the same time we were helping the catamaran on Moorea. On Sunday we decided to rent a car, after waiting an hour for the bus we gave up and I walked to the airport and got one. It was brand spanking new with only 174 km on it. The guy was very nervous about letting me have it and almost begged me not to damage it. What could happen, I am always so gentle with rental cars, just ask Mr. Backus. After I picked up Barb and Pat we headed to the Rouladde down by the main square in Papeete. A Rouladde is a place were a bunch of food trucks have restaurants set up and they cook the food outside while you watch. The food is really good and way cheaper then at a regular restaurant. After eating we walked the docks and looked at a couple of the mega yachts. They are really incredible and money is no object. The next day we toured around the island. There is basically only one road and it goes around the island. We tried to take a couple of the roads that went inland but they only went in only a few blocks. The one that did go up to a lookout was pretty long, maybe five miles. The view was great, you could look out over the reef and far out onto the ocean. On the way down from the lookout I took a couple of roads that went off to the side they would start out like a narrow road but would soon get smaller and smaller until I was driving down a path with bush rubbing down each side and then it would just end. Soon it was time for Pat to leave. We dropped him off after another meal at the Rouladde and at 11:59 pm he was gone. It was sad to see him go. The entire next day felt kind of odd without him here. He goes back to his life in Minnesota and we continue the adventure without him. On the 18th Barbs dad had his surgery and it all went well so Barb could breath again. So we began loading the boat for the next leg of our journey.


Saturday 7/13/2013 17 34.791 S 149 51.949 W http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:17%2034.791S%20149%2051.949W 17 35.794 S 149 48.406 W http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:17%2035.794S%20149%2048.406W Moorea Posting by Dennis: Over the next week or so we anchored in a couple of incredible spots. While there we hung out on the boat, ate great meals, swam among the coral reefs, hiked around the villages and just enjoyed having Pat with us. Going through the passes to get to these places can be very nerving to say the least. It feels a little strange going through with eight foot high surf tumbling less than a boat length off each side. Once inside the reef you have to try to find a little patch of sand that gives you enough room to swing without hitting any coral and is not too deep. And even after you find a little spit of sand that you can anchor on, you feel very exposed with the coral all around and the wind comes roaring over the reef with nothing to stop it. I am sure that if you look on Google you will see what I am talking about!

Baie d’Opumohu, Moorea

Sunday 7/7/2013 14:00 17 30.871 S 149 51.197 W http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:17%2030.871S%20149%2051.197W Baie d’Opunohu, Moorea Posting by Dennis: Motored the few miles from Cook Bay to Baie d’Opunohu. We wanted to anchor just behind the reef but there were just too many boats there for me. Other boats came and anchored there but I just don’t feel comfortable especially after what we witnessed a couple of days earlier. So we ended up in the bottom of the bay. It turned out to be a great spot! There was only one other boat there and we hardly ever saw them. On Saturday morning Barb went on a hunt for internet so she could email her family and check on how her dad was doing. She found out he was scheduled for surgery on the 18th. Barb was trying to decide whether she should fly home to be with him. He flatly told her not to come, but she was torn. After Barb returned to the boat we all dinged into shore and hiked around. We hiked passed a shrimp farm and wandered off on a little dirt road which meandered through a couple of vegetables farms. They were growing pineapples, limes, onions, tomatoes, lettuce and other small vegetables. I picked a couple of limes which were great in Pat’s and Barb’s gin and tonics. On the way back we stopped to watch some guys playing botchy ball, which seems to be a big pace time here. Today Pat and I dropped Barb off so she could check her emails and we went off exploring with the dingy. We found a small boat that had been hauled off the reef and was pretty beat up. I am sure it will not float again. It is kind of sobering, I am only one mistake from ending up just like them. People say I am anal about things but when I see boats like this I wonder if I am anal enough.

Passe de Teruaupu, Moorea

Friday 7/5/2013 18:00 17 28.868 S 149 48.816 W http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:17%2028.868S%20149%2048.816W Passe de Teruaupu, Moorea Posting by Dennis: We left Papeete on 7/2/2013 and sailed to Cook Bay on the island of Moorea, actually we motored most of the way. Once we made it through the reef we anchored just inside the reef in about ten feet of water. After anchoring we all jumped in the water and snorkeled around to look at the coral. The coral here looks pretty sick and there are not a lot of fish to look at. In the Tuamotu atolls if we threw any scraps of food over the side, the fish came swarming to eat it up. Here in Moorea if you did that nothing came at all. The coral seems to lack all the bright colors we had gotten used to seeing. After a couple of hours of swimming around we got out of the water and had a quick dinner and were in bed and asleep by 7:30. The next day we set off in the dingy heading deeper into Cook Bay, as we got farther into the bay the rain started to come down. Soon we were all totally soaked and we were just laughing at the waves and spray that was coming over the bow. Once we got to the base of the bay we brought the dingy to shore and walked down the highway to the store where we replenished our coffee supply and got a couple of baguettes. We walked back to the dingy in the rain and started heading back toward the boat, by now the wind had picked up and we were getting pretty cold. As we rounded the point and were about to climb on the boat Barb said that a guy on a neighboring catamaran was waving us over. So we went over to investigate. A very scared French kid of about twenty came scurrying to the ladder and asked what to do because the anchor was dragging. Apparently the “captain” of the chartered catamaran had left to go to shore and left this poor guy alone on the boat; he had no idea how to do anything on the boat. By now the wind was really howling, with gusts reaching close to fifty knots and the anchor would drag until it would reach the next coral head. I dove down and checked to see if he was hitting any coral, which he was not at that moment. I suggested to him that if he had another anchor we could then run out with the dingy and I would place it somewhere where it would hold by diving down. Just when we were about to put the anchor in the dingy the main anchor let go and the boat started flying backwards. Pat and I both started yelling that he needed to start the engines and slow the boat down or else the anchor would never catch at all. He did, but now the center board was hitting on a coral head as it swung past in a big arc. I climbed onto the boat and asked him what he wanted to do and he said he wanted to pull the anchor and motor out of the coral. So I went forward to run the windlass and pull the anchor, as the anchor came up we began to inch forward against the wind. I went back to the helm and told him he needed to give it more power but he pointed to a little label that the charter company had put on the consul “Do not exceed 2000 RPM”. I yelled at him that if he didn’t give it more he was going to end up on the reef. He gave it full throttle. We got him up to the edge of the channel and I put the anchor down. Then all of the sudden he did not like that spot and insisted that he had to move. So I started to pull the anchor up again then a huge gust hit and swung the bow hard to the starboard jamming the chain in the feeder for the windlass. I climbed out over the front, against Barbs advisement, and kicked the chain feeder which un-jammed the chain. I just got the anchor up when I looked to the starboard and we were drifting toward a couple of boats at anchor. I ran to the helm and asked what was happening and he said that the one engine had quit. I told him to put the other engine in reverse so he slammed it from full throttle to full throttle in reverse. It did not kill it but I am sure glad it was not my boat. It was enough to spin the boat so that we flew right between the two anchored boats with only feet on each side. I then yelled at him to get the other engine going which finally started. He started motoring back out of the coral ridden area. I could hear the center boards scraping on the coral. He did not seem to have enough power to keep the bow into the wind and we were getting farther and farther into the coral field and closer to the reef. So I suggest he just anchor and wait for the captain to return. So we put out the anchor and it caught. We told him to throw out the extra anchor and just wait it out. The kid was scared to death. I am sure it will be his last sailing experience. We had to leave him there as we needed to get back to our own boat that was heeling badly in the 50 knot winds. Once the captain returned they sent out a mayday and a couple locals went out after the wind eased and drove it out of the coral field. We fared out ok. The boat got tossed around a bit but the anchor held. The dingy did flip over as soon as we climbed into the boat but Pat, Barb and I managed to quickly flip it back. Pat and I got to spend the afternoon taking the outboard apart and cleaning the salt water out of it. That night in the middle of the night, when the wind piped up again, I ended up climbing into the dingy with a bucket and filling it half full of water so it would not flip again. All in a day in paradise.

Papeete Tahiti

Monday 7/01/2013 20:00 17 34.727 S 149 37.341 W http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:17%2034.727S%20149%2037.341W Papeete, Tahiti Posting by Barb: HAPPY CANADA DAY! Livia and Carol from SV Estrellita ceremoniously dingied around our boat proudly flying the Canadian flag. Yay! It was a beautiful sail to Rotoava on the west end of Fakarava. We stayed there for three nights waiting for the wind to die down so we could snorkel. It blew twenty knots every day while we were there. As we could not snorkel we explored the little town, ate at the local restaurant and did some shopping for supplies, specifically eggs (there seems to be a shortage of eggs in French Polynesia) and Baguettes. We left Fakarava on June 21st, the 100th day since we left Chile, and headed to Tahiti. We anticipated it to be a 3.5 day sail. The first day was a great sail despite the fact that we started it with catching a bird on our fishing line we were trolling. Dennis had to reel it in and use the pliers to free it. It flew away and 2 minutes later it tried to unsuccessfully dive for our lure again. On the second day the wind just disappeared and it was a motor right to Tahiti, 36 hours. On the third night, the moon was out in full color and the ocean was dead calm. I have never experienced such tranquility in the ocean. There was not a ripple to be seen for as far as the eyes could see. It was eerie and unnatural. The ocean is meant to have waves, ripples and rollers. We motored into Papeete and we were anchored by three in the afternoon. I sat in the cockpit for a while and looked out at the city pinching myself with the realization that we had made it to Tahiti. We quickly got the dingy inflated and attached the outboard motor and headed into town. We found the grocery store, just a 5 minute walk, Carrefour, and what a store it was! Dennis and I walked around in awe. We could find anything and everything we needed and have craved for since we left, although at a hefty price. We came back to the boat with everything we needed to make a fully loaded green salad and a couple of fresh pork chops to BBQ. After two days anchored at close proximity (10 feet) to every boat around us, we decided to rent a mooring ball. It felt a little safer plus we got the keys to the showers, cold showers but plenty of water! For the remainder of the 5 days before Pat’s arrival we explored the city, did a little shopping, bought a spear gun, socialized with a few cruisers, cleaned and did maintenance on the boat, washed clothes using $10 a load washers and just enjoyed hanging out. At 3:00 am on Sunday morning, June 30th we left the boat and headed to the airport to pick up Pat. We planned on getting the security guard to call for a taxi but he did not know any taxi phone numbers and neither did we so we hoofed it to the airport. It was a nice, 40 minute fast walk on well lit streets, with the smell of freshly baked baguettes everywhere. There must be a bakery on every corner. We arrived at the airport and waited for Pat’s flight. It arrived a little late and Pat was the last passenger to walk out of the arrival door. Dennis was getting nervous and thought maybe Pat was having trouble with customs due to all the boat parts he was carrying for us. I greeted Pat with a beautiful flower lei and the traditional Tahiti greeting of kisses on both cheeks. Pat was happy as he could now tell people he got leid in the airport! Dennis exclaimed “It took me 3 years to get here but it only took you 16 hours”. As you can tell we will be having lots of fun together. We are so excited to have Pat here. We decided to stay in Tahiti for one more day and celebrate Canada day at the Marina for ‘Happy Hour’ with our great friends Rick and Kyra from SV Nyon who just arrived and with Carol and Livia from SV Estrellita. On Tuesday July 2nd we will leave Tahiti and head for the sister island of Moorea. We are so looking forward to doing a little sailing and spending a few weeks with Pat!