08/19/2012, Bora Bora
Evening Colours at Bora Bora
08/17/2012, Mt Pahia, Bora Bora
Determined to do some touristy things whilst we're here in Bora Bora, I decided it would be a good idea to get the views from the top of the 'mountain'- other cruisers said it was possible, 'only' 2-3 hours up and the same back. So I twisted Kevin's arm and off we went. When we had eventually found the start of the so-called path (after an hours pre-ramble getting lost around the town) there was a big notice saying 'VERY STRONGLY recommend that you use a local guide for this strenuous climb'... ooer, well let's go anyway...
We huffed and puffed up through lush trees and bushes, the track steep enough to warrant using tree roots as hand holds at times. After 3/4 of an hour we reached a big tree and sat down for a rest, thinking we were maybe 2/3rds of the way up, and making extremely good time.. a local young man RAN up the hill and sat down next to us for 5 seconds then ran down again.
Suffice it to say that we hadn't even done more than about a quarter, maybe less.
Onwards and upwards. The trail was occasionally marked by bits of rag tied onto trees, and seemed, for my short legs, inordinately difficult- dried mud that slid you back down, occasionally punctuated by enough roots to grab hold of; followed by rocks to scramble up where the foot holds seemed always just a bit too far from each other. Sometimes parts were so steep that a knotted rope had been installed. It felt like a giant game of snakes and ladders and I definitely wasn't winning.
Two hours hard work was rewarded by a pretty amazing view- surely we were near the top now- but "oh no", said a group of fit young people we met coming down, wearing proper hiking boots and with a coil of rope slung over a shoulder, "there's quite a way to go, and it's very difficult near the top, we used this rope..." they glanced at my sweat-drenched white hair and dirty red face, " but the view from a ledge about twenty minutes away is quite good, if you don't make it all the way". They obviously had their doubts. We slogged on, past the ledge, and upwards. By now it was getting seriously difficult- for me, not for Kevin with his long legs- and I think the young people's well-meaning concern had got to me, because as I pulled myself up a long, crumbly dirt steep bit frantically using my fingernails to dig into the earth searching for grass and bush roots to hold onto, I began to panic... and then when faced with the last 'rock face' where you had to use the rope which was there to haul yourself up, I had a major wobble and convinced myself that it wasn't possible, and why hadn't I got the rescue helicopter's telephone number on my mobile, not that I would be able to see it through my tears...
Kevin kept cool and encouraged me up, didn't chide me for my tantrum- and there we were, on the summit, 661m above sea level.
We looked down on a plane coming into land, and could see both sides of the island and all the surrounding reefs. Just amazing colours. We had a quick picnic of egg sandwiches and peanuts (shared by a little black mouse- so sweet) but we couldn't rest for long because it was obviously going to be almost as demanding going back down, and it would be dark in 3 hours.
Descending was indeed quite tricky- a lot of it we did on our bottoms, or climbing backwards- our legs were simply too tired to trust to normal downhill walking, our knees giving way every so often.
We just made it back to town and into our dinghy before dark.
Worth it? I think so...
08/12/2012, Iles sous le vent
We made landfall in Bora Bora at 10 o'clock this morning.
A perfect passage ... broad reach in 12 knots of wind. Fulll Main and genoa all the way.
We have picked up a buoy at the new marina. It inevitabley costs money but it is cheap and there are full marina facilities a short dingy ride ashore. Including a half price happy hour. We are meeting a Norwegian couple for drinks who have followed the same route as us over the last 12 months.
Best get ready.
We haven't been very good tourists here in Papeete, the capital of Tahiti. We have spent our time in true mad dogs and englishmen style, in the heat and dust of the middle of the day, trawling round industrial estates, supermarkets, and DIY stores etc in the search for spare parts, provisions, butane gas refills, laundry.... not actually very glamorous at all. The boat is 'parked' just a few yards from the main road, with all the concurrent traffic noise.
On the plus side though, the locals are very friendly and helpful, it's quite good fun sitting on our boat and watching the joggers and power walkers go by on their way to the nearby park. Kevin says he has slept well not having to worry about whether our anchor is holding; I have slept poorly due to the heat, noise and worrying about the cost of everything!
Two boys were walking along the quay the other day tootling on a recorder- I happened to have mine out and tootled a tune... they stopped, sat on the edge of the quay, and we had an hour long recorder session, I taught them how to play 'Happy Birthday' and we played a few old favourites like Frere Jacques and Sur le pont d'Avignon- yes it's French Polynesia- they didn't know any 'local' songs to teach me.
08/02/2012, Tahiti quai des yachts
Wanda is now in Tahiti. We are moored mediteranian stylee on the quai. We slept real well not having to think about the ground tackle... now interneted up with a real slow connection. Its expensive here just paid 5 pounds for a very small beer.
Excited to be here, we are now off to explore.
All is well. The wind continues to be fickle, changing strength and direction often- we are calling on all our sail-plan ingenuity to keep us going at a sensible speed in roughly the right direction. Last night we played in and out the dusty bluebells through the Tuamotu Archipelago- also known as â€˜The Dangerous Archipelagoâ€™ because there are many small, unlit, poorly-charted and low-lying motus or atolls with many wrecks... we managed to miss them thank goodness. It might have been nice to stop- the snorkelling is supposed to be the best in the world- but we really need to get to Tahiti to have a good spring-clean and do proper fixes on a few things. Only 144 miles to go- but with very little wind forecast it might take a while. Bubble and squeak for tea. pip