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SV Panta Rhei Retirement Trip
SV Blue Rodeo is drifting, loose from its' mooring buoy
Larry Nelson
13 July 2012 | Tied to a mooring buoy at Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Thursday night was the dancing and drumming contest at the community center in town. It was clearly the thing to do. We would have dinner before the festivities began, buy some seats with a good view of the show, and get picked up by the manager of the Bora Bora Yacht Club after the festival. Everyone was there, including SV Blue Rodeo (Mark and Anne). The weather was windy, but most of us were on mooring buoys so we felt reasonably secure.

It was a good party. My Ausie friends were explaining how they called their significant others. It's all in the rhyme: "house mouse" rhymes with spouse; "cheese and kisses" rhymes with mrs; "trouble and strife" rhymes with wife. So the words can be interchanged. This sort of playful re-naming of our wives was particularly interesting with beer.

The show was great. The announcer spoke in Tahitian, French, and for the first time, English. But during the show we all watched the flagpole. It was bending like a fly rod with a big fish on as the gusts came through the outdoor venue for the festivities. By the end of the festivities we were all anxious to get back to our boats. When the manager of the Yacht Club came to pick us up, he brought word that a boat had broken loose from its mooring and rescue efforts were happening. Which boat? Does it have a blue hull? No information. Geez. It was a long trip back to our dinghies and then out to our boats. Thankfully, SV Panta Rhei was ok. We called back to get information on the location of the vessel in distress and couldn't get any. The lagoon was blacker than the inside of a pig and it was raining buckets. Just keeping a dinghy upright IF we knew where to go to help would be a problem. If your engine failed you would be GONE. Even so the rescue went forward. It wasn't too long before we heard that cruisers had scrambled aboard and manually put out the anchor and 300 feet of chain in about 100 feet of water. The boat was SV Blue Rodeo, good friends of ours. Mark and Anne were on their way and pretty worried. Fast forward to today and the story continues to unfold. The line from their boat to the mooring buoy had chafed through and their boat had drifted into a coral bommie area where apparently it hung up on its keel, buying a little time for it's departure to be noticed and a rescue to start. Eventually it drifted off the coral and into the lagoon where it was intercepted by cruisers in dinghies. They nudged it toward the best shelter they could but in 40 knots of wind that isn't a very easy strategy to execute. Eventually they got the anchor down.

So now everyone is checking their mooring lines. The wind is unrelenting and indeed most of us are showing chafe. SV Panta Rhei now has 4 lines including an amsteel line from the end of our bruce anchor to the mooring buoy. Amsteel is highly abrasion resistant and we have chain on the anchor so where that line comes off the boat is not subject to chafe. Add to that we are staying aboard although maybe that isn't completely necessary now.

This weather is forecast to continue for some time, which is interrupting our cruise through the lagoon. We've signed up for a nitrox dive on Monday morning with the local dive shop. Apparently there are manta rays to see...and sharks. It will still be windy but we have redundancy now on our mooring so we can leave the boat for a few hours.

The picture is taken inside the spa at the Pearl Beach Resort. The spa is on an island in a lagoon and sets a new bar for oppulence. We toured it. The price was a little beyond our range.