25/07/12, 16 56.23'S:153 40.24'W, Bora Bora - Vava`u Tonga - Day 1
All good , sloopy conditions 3-4 M swell - 1M sea COG 235 / SOG 6.5 KTS
23/07/12, French Polynesia
We have been exploring Bora Bora for the past two weeks, weather has been windy and rainy at times, but some magical days in between. We left for Tonga last Tuesday but auto pilot issue caused us to return, so we have been lucky enough to enjoy another week. SV Condesa departed last Tuesday and are heading in another direction - Somoa, Au revoir friends see you Vanuatu/New Caledonia. Our other sailing friends should be all in Tonga when we arrive.
A weather window is open for tomorrow so we intend to leave and head to Tonga 7-10 passage, Palmerston Atoll and Nui Atoll are two possible stops to break up the trip, we will just see how the wind blows and it will dictate our journey.
Lea and John xo
Our friends Johno and his son Steve on the cat "TAKA OA" climbed the mountain above the anchorage whilst we were there and took some awesome shots of this breathtaking location ,, I have added them to the photo gallery for you to enjoy. Thanks to Johno and Steve for making the climb and sharing the pics !
Yesterday Mark, Jenny , Super Pedro (see previous blog for the story on Super Pedro ) ,Leanne and I headed into Cooks bay here in Moorea and hired 50CC Scooters for the day.
We donned out helmets and blasted off in a roar ,,, more like crawled away in a buzz ,, to see the sights of Moorea !
We had a great day ,,, just riding the scooters was fun and to ride through rainforest and up twisting roads to lookouts topped it off !
It is impossible to capture the beauty of this place with a camera but we tried and have added an album to the gallery called seeing the sights on scooters if you would like to check it out.
This afternoon we will depart Moorea and do an overnight passage to the next island called Huahine . It is only 80nm which should take about 12 hours and we normally would leave early in the morning to do a trip of this distance however we need to depart here and arrive there with good daylight so we can see the reef as we enter the pass.
For those of you who don`t know who Rex Hunt is he hosted a TV show about fishing and often gave his catch a kiss before he released it ---- never saw him kiss a Stingray !
Stingrays are not the cutest of sea creatures and one of them did cause the death of our Aussie Icon Steve Irwin a few years back so when someone said hey you must go feed and swim with the rays when you are in Moorea I thought, yeah right!
Well as you can see we decided to go and what an unbelievable experience! We anchored the dinghy in about 1.5 meters of crystal clear water where you could clearly see the rays and the reef sharks swimming around which in itself was a treat but to really have the experience you need to join them so we were told!
With chunks of tuna in hand in we went. Leanne having been stung by a ray when we were in Mexico was pretty brave just getting in but after a little while she decided that it just wasn`t for her and decided to head back to the dinghy and take pictures .
The rays smell (or whatever it is they do) the tuna and congregate all around you,, swarm would probably be a better description . Because you are a bit apprehensive at first you tend to keep your arms pretty close to your chest. What you forget is that your hands are attached to your arms and in your hands is the tuna! The rays literally swim up you to get to your hands and the tuna which are out of the water and with a third of them out of the water they take the tuna out of your hand!!!! .
You realize that they are very placid and soon enough I too became calm and comfortable with them around me. Every now and then a reef shark would spot a bit of tuna that had been missed by the rays and dart in and grab it and then they would resume there vigilant watch from a couple of meters away.
At one stage I said something like I love these rays and someone suggested that maybe I should give one a kiss --- good idea said I and so in true Rex Hunt style I puckered up and laid a wet one on the nose of a few of them .
Check out the photo gallery to see Leanne's great photos.
The weather gods must have been watching the fun we all had during the 3 day rally and decided that they would provide their own closing ceremony
Early in the evening just after everyone had returned to their boats and were reflecting on what a great 3 days we had enjoyed a storm started to brew on the horizon . Within a couple of hours it was "all hands on deck" as the rain came pouring down and the wind came whistling into the anchorage.
Chaos soon followed as 70 boats that were already too close to each other all began to dance around on their anchors. The wind increased to a steady 40 kts with gusts in the 50kt range.
We were in our foul weather gear with the engine running in gear to ease the strain on the anchor when the inevitable happened, one boat began dragging his anchor which set off a chain reaction as his anchor in turn tripped other anchors as he drifted through the fleet. Fortunately Red Sky did not get tangled in the mess that followed. Four boats ended up with their anchor chains twisted around each other causing the boats to bang into each other resulting in damage to a few boats but nothing too serious. We could see enough to know what was going on and the VHF radio was alive with call for assistance.
That`s where the photo becomes relevant. Of all the stories that were told in the aftermath one kept recurring but each time I heard it it became more sensational.
What really happened was that Pedro, a crew member on Condesa Del Mar went to the assistance of one boat that was dragging and helped them retrieve their anchor and relocate the boat to a more suitable spot.
The story however went from ;
Pedro taking a dinghy over to help them.
Pedro jumping overboard and swimming 50Om to the boat .
Pedro swinging from mast to mast to get to the boat in trouble and so on.
Now having heard all these stories I decided that Pedro must really be some sort of super hero . I then became concerned because all super hero`s must have a costume right? It was then I recruited the gang from Taka Oa & Condesa to make him a cape !
As luck would have it the cruisers had organised a get together on the beach the next afternoon so it was there we presented it to him .
Everyone got a good laugh and it was good to have a light hearted moment after what was a stressful evening for many.
Last Friday was day one of the Tahiti Moorea Sailing Rendez-vous , an annual event to offically welcome visting yachts and their crews to French Polynesia. The event is held over 3 days ,
Day one is a reception which was held on the waterfront at Papette.
Day two begins with all the yachts (70 in total this year) meeting outside the harbour and sailing togeather to the island of Moorea --- 15nm away. On arrival at Moorea there is a BBQ in the park at the anchorage
Day 3 is a day of traditional Polenesian Sports in the park. The events included Outrigger Canoe Races , Fruit carrying races , Coconut husking races , Tug-O-War as well as sarong making , basket weaving , dancing and music .
It was a great 3 days . I have added a album in the photo gallery called Tahiti Moorea Sailing Rendez-vous that has some great photo of the dancing , sailing and events.