Society Islands 2
31 May 2016
Ok so I continue this story on May 7th the day before my 21st birthday and Mother's Day! We left Taha'a and headed towards Bora Bora, the land of honeymooners. We were curious to see how Bora Bora differed from other islands in the Society island chain because it had been so much more commercialized as the "once in a lifetime" paradise with the classic over the water bungalow style hotels. We went to the Bora Bora Yacht club that evening and had a lovely evening with "Into the Blue," a World ARC boat. I was also keeping an eye on the clock the whole time because Abby turned 21, 6 hours before me!
My birthday was an absolute blast! We had BACON for breakfast, a commodity that is not found often out here! The boats we traveled with here gave me letters, champagne, and one even baked me a cake and gave me a local ceramic piece. The friends I've made on this trip I believe will last me my lifetime. I hungout with my 20-something crowd for the day, boat hopping, playing Catan, swimming, and of course I went and bought a beer at the local grocery store, even though it hasn't mattered my entire time out here. We had salmon, the very last of our salmon for dinner onboard, all the way from Virginia it has traveled! We had a party at the yacht club with the 5 other boats that were with us, which was amazing, though they were upset with us for being so loud. I could not have asked for a better celebration!
The 9th was a recovery from my birthday for me for most of the morning. Though Kate, Steve, and I went for a hike with three of my best friends on this trip, all three are in better shape than I plan to be in my life. It was a painful hike, if you look up the Bora Bora iconic mountain, we were essentially going straight up that cliff. To give some more perspective on it, we had to check in with the police station before and after the hike so if we didn't return they would know to send out a rescue party. No need to as they told us the hike was "closed" as too many tourists had gotten hurt. But hey did tell us where the trail head was so... We didn't even hike that far up it before we all called it quits. That afternoon we cast off the mooring ball and all together headed over to a different bay on Bora Bora, where the famous "Bloody Mary's" restaurant and bar is. I had my first ever Bloody Mary, very spicy, as one of the Brits said "it's like drinking a pizza". We all went for happy hour there, they keep a huge list of all the famous people that have been there, and it is impressive.
The next morning we left the group and moved over to the south-east side of Bora Bora to an absolutely beautiful, quiet anchorage. We were hoping for more of a snorkeling spot, but the coral did not impress, I think we've just gotten spoiled! The way there we passed at least 5-6 of different hotels, all of the same over the water, bungalow look. It was cool for the first hotel or two but the novelty wears off when all of the accommodations are the same. It was hard to pass strong wifi signal after strong wifi signal, knowing that they wouldn't give a password out to a cruiser. We had a quiet evening onboard with a beautiful sunset. Continued to watch Game of Thrones. We are addicted.
The morning of the 11th we picked up anchor early and made our way back over to the channel out of Bora Bora where our friends were leaving for Taha'a as well so we had a good sail over with them. To say no one was racing would be a lie, whenever you get a few boats heading in the same direction it always becomes a race... we won by the way. The main reason we went back to Taha'a was for the "coral gardens", unfortunately we didn't get in till late so we saved the snorkeling for the next morning. Some of my friends went night diving and we had a movie night on Blue Summit when they finished up.
The coral gardens did not disappoint! All of the group went snorkeling on it the next morning, fairly early because we needed to all move our boats to Raiatea for the rendezvous that evening. We got in the dinghy and headed to shore with everyone and it immediately started to downpour with at least 20 knots of wind so we all took shelter in the palm trees waiting for it to let up so we could walk across the island to the snorkeling spot. That was the best snorkeling of my life, hands down. You would swim through an inlet, like a channel with coral completely surrounding you, and sometimes the channels would veer off and you could explore a different part of the gardens, there was a lot of backtracking as we would hit dead ends of coral that were too shallow to swim over. We saw an octopus and the most amazing range of fish, it was like jumping into an aquarium. And the coral was, of course, spectacular. We made our way over to Raiatea for the gathering and dinner that evening. The group we were traveling with got there last as we did the gardens that morning, and there was no space left! We circled for about an hour trying to figure out where to go, eventually we went about 5 kilometers away to a different mooring field and just took a cab in with a couple other boats that did the same. A few that came over with us tried anchoring just out of the rendezvous point, but they felt so uncomfortable that they had at least one person stay on board and miss the festivities. That night apparently 2 of them dragged on top of each other and another one damaged their engine badly trying to get out of the situation. The rendezvous was fun, there was dancing and a amazing buffet, we all just love getting everyone in the same spot, especially after a period of free sailing.