Bora Bora is where most cruisers who are making their way across the South Pacific come to check out of French Polynesia, so we met up with a lot of friends and acquaintances from México.
Our first stop in Bora Bora was the village of Vaitape. It is located on the west side of the main island. It’s a nice village with two, well-stocked grocery stores. That’s always a bonus! It’s a little touristy but still somewhat quaint. We spent one afternoon checking out the shops and picking up a few more Polynesian style things. I’ve come to love pareos and wear them all the time. Dan bought me a beautiful, hand painted one that day as well as another flower to wear in my hair. It may surprise you to find that the flowers they wear are all silk flowers…usually not fresh ones. He also bought himself another necklace. This one has a turtle carved from bone with the Marquesan cross in the center of its back that is carved from mother of pearl. It’s pretty cool. Of course after our day of shopping we had to stop by the Mai Kai Yacht Club for a couple of cold ones.
We have noticed some gang activity here but overall we feel pretty safe. For all that is said about México and its dangers, we’ve seen more criminal element here in the Society Islands than we ever did in México. We never had to lock our dink up there but we certainly do here. We actually chain the dink to the side of the boat at night. The motor always gets locked up on the rail as well. I guess there’s criminal element in every part of the world.
One day we took a taxi down to Bloody Mary’s. This is perhaps the coolest restaurant we’ve been to down here. The floors are sand, the ceiling is made of palm fronds and the chairs are made from tree stumps. Oh yea…very cool and the food was really good as well. They’re famous for their Bloody Mary’s and there’s a reason….they are the bomb! It was a fun afternoon.
With so many of us cruisers in the same place we all met up for Happy Hour in the evenings at the Mai Kai Yacht Club. It’s not so much of a yacht club as it is a restaurant/bar with some rental huts by the water. They rent out mooring balls too. Each evening they have half priced drinks from 1700 to 1800. In the land of expensive liquor, that’s a big thing. It was fun meeting up with the old gang and hearing about everyone’s experiences since we last saw each other in the Marquesas. Everyone seems to have taken their own path here so we got to learn about islands we missed and places we are glad we stayed away from.
One evening we had dinner with friends on SV Dash and then attended the Heiva festivities. Heiva is a cultural competition that is held each year. Groups from each island in French Polynesia compete in dancing, singing, canoeing, archery, etc… We had a really nice evening in spite of the rain. And it was amazing watching these dancers shake their hips. We’re always spellbound watching the dancers.
One afternoon we took a dinghy ride around the main island. While the area where we were anchored is very deep, the southeast side of the island is quite shallow and the water there is nothing short of spectacular! We actually put our feet in real sand for the first time since we left México. Down here it’s mostly ground coral that is not all that soft. You know, especially when you come from Bradenton where we have some of the whitest, finest sand in the world. Anyway, it was a fun trip around the island.
After we completed our checkout with the gendarmes, we provisioned up and headed out to another anchorage near Motu Toopua. (FYI…a motu is an area where the land rises above the water). This anchorage was simply breathtaking!!! We anchored in 3 meters of crystal clear water. After taking a dinghy ride around to check out the area Dan took a nap and I broke out the royal swan, threw on some tunes and floated behind the boat for hours. I know, I know….but someone has to do these things.
We stayed in this anchorage for five days. Unfortunately two days of it, it was raining all day but it gave us some time to catch up on some writing and boat projects so all was not lost.
One evening we went in to the St. James Restaurant. Oh my! What a treat this was for us. Sitting on the open deck looking across the anchorage and seeing Dazzler in the setting sun while enjoying an ice cold beer was simply wonderful. And the food! It didn’t just look amazing, it WAS amazing!
While we know it can be truly difficult to appreciate it, it is a huge thing when we can get WIFI. Sometimes we go for weeks without any news of what is going on in the world. And when we do get it, it’s usually in some restaurant or bar so you do just what you need to get done and that’s it. There’s no casually surfing the net. Being in a beautiful anchorage with internet was lovely. We sat in the cockpit sharing stories of what we were reading and just enjoyed the afternoon. We were even able to FB video chat with my friends and family in the states.
Up bright and early we are now on the move again. We should arrive in Maupiti sometime around 1200 local. So much to see and so little time.
Well, that’s all there is to tell about Bora Bora.