Monday, 31 October 2016

12-2016 Beautiful Bora Bora

Hi from Clare,                                                         Saturday 29th October 2016

When last I wrote we were heading down the east coast of the Bora Bora lagoon. We came this way sixteen years ago and at that time there were a few expensive waterfront resorts on the east coast. Now there are numerous resorts with overwater bungalows stretching out like the branches of a tree across the azure waterway.

We anchored about half way down the island outside the St Regis Resort and met up with Austrian friends Cathy and Wolfgang on 'Plastik Plankton'. Cathy, who we found out later tries to get into all the resorts, suggested we all go into the St Regis Resort for an ice cream. We were met on the dock by the security guard and denied access as the resort is private. However Cathy wasn't taking no for an answer and so the security guard called the manager down to the dock and after some negotiation we were allowed entry. The manager escorted us to the bar area and we sat there for two very enjoyable hours. Our two banana splits and a small bottle of water cost A$48 but well worth it just for the experiencing. The resort is truly beautiful with three formal restaurants, exclusive shops, multiple swimming pools, one being for adults only, and rolling lawns down to a perfectly raked white sandy private beach front.

St Regis Resort, after they let us in
The on shore bungalows with traditional hatched roves are nestled under coconut palms in manicured gardens with winding pathways through a profusion of perfumed tropical plants and lighted walkways over lilly ponds with trickling waterfalls. It is a total attack on the senses in the nicest possible way. I'm not sure how much it cost to stay in one of these resorts but we have heard figures ranging from $850 to $1500 per night. We also heard from a cruising couple who dined at the St Regis Resort for the cost of $384.

One morning, sitting on our boat in this idyllic settling, we watched some Polynesian men standing in thigh deep sea water, shovelling sand from the sea floor onto a barge. This sand goes to the resorts to maintain the artificial beach front. It looked like really hard work and the poor guys were at it all morning. The Polynesian people also collect and dry palm fronds. These are plaited and used as roofing in the building industry, we see the locals transporting boat loads of palm fronds every day.

Hard Yakka shovelling wet sand
We are now anchored in a beautiful spot in the south east corner of the island. There is a terrific drift snorkel here as well as a few other good snorkelling areas. The sea floor is thick sand with good holding. The water is so clear we can see our anchor thirty metres away from the stern of the yacht. The sea temperature is 29 degrees and the weather is lovely and sunny in the day and with a warm breeze at night. At this time of the year there are no mosquitoes, flies or bugs and so we can leave all the hatches open and let the breeze through the boat.

We are in company with 'Plastik Plankton' 'Flying Cloud' French Curve' and 'Winsome' so we have plenty of playmates. We tend to team up for our daily snorkelling or walking expedition and sometimes we gather for coffee or an evening drink.

The snorkelling

The place is heaven and the only upset is the annoying jet skis and motorised surfboards coming out of the resorts. The motorised surfboards are new to us and although they don't make as much wake as the jet skis, they are pretty noisy. Let's hope they are short lived.

Motorised surfboards! what next
Long beach
We needed to go into the nearby small township for some fresh fruit and vege and drop off some rubbish. So we tied to the wharf of the Intercontinental Resort only to be told we couldn't leave our dinghy there and we had to go to the public beach area some 10 metres away. Once there we found the beach front houses had Tabu signs up and we had no access to the street. So although the Intercontinental Resort wouldn't let us tie to their wharf we ended up carrying a week's supply of rubbish from four boats through the resort and out through the reception area. I guess they weren't impressed, but what else could we do. I think it would be fair to say that Bora Bora are not actively catering for the yachting community. Their focus is on the Resorts where employment is generated – fair enough.

Hotel Intercontinental - they did not want us there

Out for a beach walk
We would love to stay here forever as this is a very beautiful anchorages. This morning Andrew and I went for a two hour walk along the beach. Up until now in French Polynesia we haven't found a beach long enough to walk for hours. However we will need to move back to the town soon for provisions. There is an International Outrigger Canoe race finishing here on 5th November and so we will stay in Bora Bora for that before returning to Raiatea for haulout on 23rd November.

Love Candy xx