Two Day Check Out
19 September 2008 | Bora Bora
The Gendarme that we checked out with yesterday was a nice guy and told us that we had 24 hours to leave once clearing out. The big task after clearing out is getting your bond back. Americans and Japanese (and most other non EU passport holders) have to post a bond to enter FP by yacht. The bond is approximately equivalent to the amount of a flight home. This made the Japanese bond 176,000 fp francs and the US bond 150,000 fpf. We hit the Gendarmerie at 4PM yesterday but the Socredo bank (holders of our bond) closed at 3:30.
The bank opened at 7:30 this morning so I arrived bright and early to get things handled. In order to make for a fast get away I decided to dinghy over to the Saint James restaurant dock one bay over from the yacht club. The Saint James is in a little plaza with a computer shop and a nice bakery with yummy breakfast items. A half block farther toward town and you are at the big grocery store, the chandlery and the Socredo Bank.
I purchased the bonds with my credit card and thus expected the symmetrical credit. Nothing doing. They would not credit my card. I was very insistent but they would not budge. This is not only inconvenient but seemingly unreasonable. If you can charge the card, certainly you can credit it? The cash amount is over $3,000 US. They suggested I take francs. The last thing we needed was more francs, we had just cleared out!
In the end I had to settle for US and New Zealand Dollars (good in the Cooks, Niue and Tonga). We made about 10% on the US dollar over the three months we were here, not sure whether to be happy or sad about that.
I made my way back to the boat with a stop at the pastry place. It was 10:00 when I returned to the boat. It was getting late to make Maupiti in good stead for clearing the tricky pass. After a nice breakfast, we had the dinghy up and the big boat ready to go by 11:00. Then I noticed that the bank had taken my clearance out and not returned it. They, of course, close from 11:30 to 1:30. So we enjoyed one more day in Bora Bora.
It was choppy in the lagoon but we ran the dinghy over to the Pearl Beach Resort on the motu across from the yacht club just to check it out. It was the only large hotel on Bora Bora we had not yet taken a look at. It was a nice place with the expected over water bungalows and all. The location was not optimal however. This resort, like the Bora Bora Lagoon Resort and Spa, faces the east and there is a fair amount of fetch off the resort beach. This makes the dock and beach of the resort choppy quite often. If you're going to visit Bora Bora and stay in a hotel our recommendation is still #1 Four Seasons or Nui (tie), #3 Saint Regis.
After lunch we returned to the bank to get our clearance papers. We also stopped at the Total station, the only fuel dock I know of in Bora Bora. We picked up a little 5 liter emergency tank for the dinghy that I had been looking for. I was surprised that the station did not take credit cards. Some yachts must run up a pretty serious bill which has to be rough on the cash reserves When we returned to the big boat I downloaded weather over the yacht club's Iorana Net WIFI site (you get one free hour a day with a mooring). The Bora Bora wind guru report among other resources indicated that wind and seas still looked good for Maupiti tomorrow, so we turned in early to prepare for a crack of dawn departure.