Wednesday, 23 November 2016

13-2016 Bora Bora and Raiatea

Hi from Clare,                                                             Monday 21st November 2016

All good things must come to an end and so it was with some sadness we left the beautiful and peaceful south east corner of Bora Bora. We had spent two wonderful weeks here enjoying the perfect water and beaches in company with our friends on four other boats. We managed to store our sarongs and dress appropriately for town shopping and dinner at Bloody Mary's before heading down to the finish line for the International Outrigger Canoe Race.
Beach scene on the motu nearby our anchorage
Bloody Mary'd dock
The three day race went from Huahine to Raiatea, then Raiatea to Tahaa and back to Raiatea and then the final day was Raiatea to Bora Bora. The six man canoes paddled between 40-50 kilometres each day and averaged around 7 knots. We saw the finish of the first race on the big screen TV at Bloody Mary's Restaurant and as the winners crossed the finish line they were fairly pumping. We thought we must have been watching the start of the race; what a terrific physical performance.

Here they come!
Finish line sights - look for the canoes guys!

And the drummers drummed
We couldn't take Eye Candy around to the finish line in Bora Bora as the water is too shallow and so we anchored with a number of other yachts in deeper water on the corner before the home stretch. What a spectacle with all the additional support and spectator power boats, helicopters and film crews. It was an avalanche of colour, noise and excitement barrelling towards us. The wake made by the numerous power boats had me running down below to ensure everything was secure. I wondered if the participants in the canoes wished they would all go away. The otherwise flat water within the lagoon was as turbulent as any choppy sea. We took the dinghy around to the finish line to see some of the celebrations. I believe there were around eighty canoes in the race and each one crossed the finish line to the triumphant beat of Polynesian drums. French Navy Officials, the Mayor and other dignitaries were present to acknowledge the achievement of the winners and indeed all the participants of this great event. We didn't stay for the party, instead we up anchored while we still had daylight and went around to the other side of the island. We enjoyed a sundowner and didn't spill a drop as we watched from afar the waters churn with the departure of the many spectator boats.

We spent the next few days with our friends on 'Plastik Plankton', 'French Curve', 'Flying Cloud' and 'Esperanza' enjoying our last good snorkelling for the season in warm crystal clear water. Playtime was just about over as we all went our separate ways to whatever destination we had planned for the cyclone season. We arrived back in Raiatea on 8th November and after checking that everything was on track for haulout on 24th we decided to circumnavigate the island of Raiatea. We may as well have some pleasure while we scrub, clean and sort for the next two weeks.

The island of Raiatea is also very beautiful with mountainous peaks, winding inland waterways, waterfalls, lush tropical forests and some sandy beaches. We met an Aussie couple Liesl and Rob on their yacht 'Vivacia' and shared drinks and dinner with them. They asked how long we had been on our boat and when we answered 11 years their eyes nearly popped out of their heads. They had bought their boat in San Francisco two and a half months ago. I remember when we were new at it, the concept of someone being long term on a boat was amazing. I used to think “What can you possible do on a boat for that long, you must be bored stiff” However the time has passed quickly and we both still love being on the boat meeting new people and going to new places. We don't even mind the work of packing up and we have now learned to start early and mix it up with some playtime.

We took a trip in the dinghy up a river. It is shaded by large coconut palms, banana plants, breadfruit, mango and other native fruit trees. Creepers festoon off all the trees and the houses are well hidden in amongst the tropical growth. We passed a few farmers paddling canoes along the river, certainly a different lifestyle, it was like stepping back in time.

Up the river
With a paddle
There is a house in there, can you spot it?
We lured Tom and Silvia on 'Cinnabar' away from their packing up to visit Marae Taputapuatea which is the “father” of all the other sacred sites in Polynesia. It dates back to the 17th century when ceremonies including human sacrifice and the immolation of children was conducted to appease the God of War. The site is very well preserved and beautifully restored including the cultivation of the traditional sacred trees. It is in a gorgeous location on the water's edge facing the Teavamoa Pass. For me, it is always a bit daunting standing on these alters contemplating what took place here in the 17th century.

The sacred Banyan tree
One of the many Marae on the site
The bay we spent the last few days in has the added attraction of a small deserted island close by with two large mango trees laden with fruit. We have been across twice and collected enough mangoes to last us until we come home; how good is that?

This time next week we will be winging our way home; what a lovely thought. We are eager to see everyone, especially the grandchildren with the new addition of Sarah (Andrew's daughter) and Brad's son Oscar Joseph.

Until then we still have the haulout, but everything is on track.

Love Candy xx