22 May 2023
For Motherâs Day Mike went all out and took me to Bora Bora for a Holiday, even promised me a fancy dinner out on the town. We decided on Bloody Maryâs which has been around since 1979 and claims to be the resturant that all the celebreties and famous people go to. They even have a wooden sign at the entrance listing the names of all the attendees. It is the ultimate tourist experience with white sand floors, thatched roof, tiki torches and live Polynesian music. We got lucky and picked up a mooring ball in an anchorage right in front of the restaurant where BM has itâs own exclusive dock. At 5 o clock, we donned our best evening wear and headed over. The place looked deserted, except for a group of 4 people just leaving. I was hesitant to go in but one of the guys leaving said it was a real fun place! So we sidled up to the tiki bar, ordered beers and connected to internet, the first connection we had in weeks. Before I could even check my email there were 6 of us s
at the bar, all Americans, and the conversation started flowing. One couple, from Hawaii, were off the cruise ship anchored in the bay, the other 2 couples were chartering sail boats, one from SF the other from Michigan. Before we knew it the resturant had filled up and the couples we were visiting with at the bar were being seated for dinner. Having not made a reservation we were about to leave when another couple sat next to us and started speaking German to one another. My ears perked up and I just had to say hello. We ended up closing the place down in the wonderful company of Frank and Sabine from Weisbaden, Germay. They invited us to join them for dinner at their table, where we shared fun experiences, good wine and the most amazing dinner. I had the local specialty, Mahi Mahi with vanilla sauce and Mike of course had a rib eye steak with pepper sauce.Â It was a fantastic Motherâs day and Iâll always remember Bloody Maryâs.Â
We spent the 3 days circumnavigating the island taking in Bora Boraâs dream like setting. The water which kaliedescopes sapphire, indigo and turquoise, is framed with a white sand reef and palm covered motus, aka islands on the reef. Every motu in Bora Bora is privately owned by an exclusive resort with bungalows over the water. The island in the center of the reef is a soaring rainforest with spires and pinnacles, loosely draped in clouds and laced with rainbows. It has high end resturants, all the water activites above and below the surface and Dream Yacht charters of all kinds. It truely is a fantasy Island.
13 May 2023
We left Huahine Wednesday morning, hoping the forecasted 15 knot breeze would give us a pleasant downwind sail to Tahaa, but the forecast was wrong. For the first 2 hours of the 25 mile crossing we motored with 6 knots of wind from behind, Then the wind started up from the NE and by the time we were at the entrance through the reef into Tahaa the wind was blowing 25 knots with 3 meter seas. The passage in looked a bit narrow and turbulent from the outside, but we sailed through with no problem. We found a nice sandy 2 meter shelf to drop anchor on around 2:30 in the afternoon.Â By then the clouds were so low and dark all around it looked like nightfall, the wind was gusting up to 39 knots and we were happy to be safely tucked behind the reef. It remained dark and stormy the whole day and the next, keeping us boat bound but encouraging us to get some boat projects done. Saturday was sunshine and rainbows, we sailedÂ 4.5 miles up the coast for a change in scenery, found an
anchorage on the shelf of the fringing reef, dropped the hook and watched the sunset over Bora Bora, just 16 miles away.
05 May 2023
The boatyard mud and grime is now a faded memory washed away. Arriving to the Tuamotus was the beginning of a new adventure. 77 little Atolls 800-1000 miles away from urbanization. Most are sparsley populated, if Atoll, just had to say it again. These distant, isloted destinations with little human influence provide the experience of a wilderness exploration. Now, arriving into Moorea is like being On Vaction. Moorea and Bora Bora are the Crown Jewels of French Polynesia, the romantic get away with fancy bungalows sprawled over crystal clear lagoons behind barrier reefs. A place you can rent motor quads, jet skies, parasail, snorkle, dive, kiteboard, even sail aroundâ¦â¦all with the stunning back drop view of the lush volcanic peaks that are iconic to Moorea. Also the location used to film the classic musical South Pacific.Â Weâve been here 5 days and have moved our floating bungalow to 3 different anchorages, getting the full experience from deep, quiet bays surround
mountains to the busy and populated shallow lagoons. We toured the inland valleys and coastal towns with our old clunker bicycles, ate lunch out at a local Snack, aka resturant, and even made time to hang around in the hammock. As our days are numbered we keep an eye out for the next good weather window coming up to continue west toward the Island of Raiatea. In Raiatea we get to haul out again,yipee, in order to store Rum Doxy while we go home to welcome our precious granddaughterâs arrival, due July 1st.Â
Living the cruising life isnât always a Vacation, on the contrary itâs a liestyle with all the same chores, hassels and frustrations as living in a house on shore but when you drop anchor in Moorea, you are on vacation.
02 May 2023
We left Fakarava and the Tuamotos the other day for the 2 day passage to Moorea. The forecast was for light winds from the northwest, giving us a downwind sail, becoming very light the second day. We hoped we would not have to motor. As it turned out, we need not have worried. Day one was as promised and we flew the spinnaker all day. The night was mellow, but we were able to sail and had the spinnaker up again at first light. It was another beautiful day, until it wasnât. In the early afternoon we sailed into a black wall of squalls with shifting winds and lightning all around. We went through our drill of putting all movable electronics in our ammo box Faraday cages, switched to our smallest sail plan and settled in to wait it out. As the sun went down, what looked like the last squall passed but, as it did, the wind shifted to the southwest and picked up to 35 knots. With our smallest sails up we were OK, but sailing into double digit speeds, which does not make for a
restfull night. We dropped all sail which kept our speed at 5-6 knots. The lightning passed us by and we were able to fill our water tanks with rain water. The rest of the night was uneventful and we sighted the lights of Tahiti just before sunrise. We sailed on by and pulled into Cookâs bay on Moorea as the morning sun lit the islandâs peaks and the local outrigger club paddled by. Canât get the song Bali Hai out of our heads as they used this area as the setting for the movie South Pacific.Â
After resting up yesterday we took our bikes ashore today and explored the northern part of the island. It is quite a change being surrounded by lush, green valleys and volcanic peaks after the flat, dry atolls of the Tuamotus. We plan on spending a few more days poking around here before heading northwest to Huahine.
29 April 2023
Iâve been trying to come up with interesting things to blog about inÂ the Tuamotus, but I feel like itâs a cliche if Italk about the endless sunshine, the amazing water color, the bountiful tropical fish and sharks we snorkel with everyday, in addition to perfect sailing conditions. However, I will say, atolls are unique, like craters in the middle of the ocean. They are basically very narrow strips of coral reef and sand forming rings out in the middle of he ocean, water inside and out.Â Really nothing much atâallâ¦. I just had to say that. But seriously, the amount of sea life and beauty is overwhelming.
The hot trend in the Tuamotoâs is kiting and wing sailing on foils. Itâs the perfect place for these activities in the flat waters of the atolls. Protected from the outside swell and sea chop, a steady 10 to 15 knot trade wind from the east and endless space make for perfect conditions. Mike and I watch with envy as one cruising boat after another launch their rigs and fly off onto the horizon. Next season weâll be prepared with our own wings.
Maybe something of interest is our stowaway gecko community. While in the boatyard in Hiva Oa we picked up a handful of lizards who failed to jump ship before we were launched back into the water, so now they are stranded on our floating island. They actually make really fun and helpful pets. During the day they stay pretty hidden in the nooks and crannies around the boat, untill we move a curtain or some random object that they are hiding behind startling us both. In the evenings we hear their little chirps and croaks and watch them boldly venture out, hunting the insects that are attracted to the lights on the boat. Itâs a very nice symbiotic relationship. We were a bit concerned about their food supply on our 4 day passage from Hiva Oa to Makemo, but they survived just fine preying on the jumping spiders and misc. tidbits that also stowed away. For now they have a pretty easy life aboard Rum Doxy, free from predators, but once we haul out again in Riatea, itâs back to
We are now at our second atoll, Fatarava, which is quite a contrast from Makemo in that it is larger and a tourist destination with resosrt accomodations. It is also a popular spot for the mega yachts. Rum Doxy feels dwarfed surrounded by many 70 foot and bigger catamarans. Last night we enjoyed a final dinner out together with our friends on S/V Saphira, Peter, Jennifer, Holly their daughter and her friend Nala, before we head our seperate ways tomorrow morning. The Francis family are some of the nicest people weâve ever met cruising. We feel so fortunate to have met them and for the opportunity to share some really enjoyable, enlightening evenings together on their amazing biplane rig Chris White catamaran. We really hope to meet up with them again down the way.
Next stop Moorea.
23 April 2023
We have moved to the northwest end of Makemo atoll to wait out a rare westerly blow as a low passes to the south of us. We managed to find a patch of sand between the coral heads and, after setting the anchor, attached pearl farm floats that we collected in the Gambiers to the chain as we let it out to float the chain above the coral heads. This not only protects the delicate coral but avoids getting our chain caught so we donât have to dive to free it.
Â We have been spending our time poking around the motus and snorkeling in the pass. We take the dinghy to the pass on a rising tide and ride the current in. The number of fish is amazing, and the coral is healthy. Along with the usual suspects we have seen a number of large morays grinning at us as we drift past, as well as big groupers, each with a trumpet fish in attendance. The water is transparent and, as the current sweeps us along the edge of the drop off, it feels like we are soaring over the bottom 85 feet below.Â
We have been impressed by the number of sharks that we have seen at this end of the atoll. Whether snorkeling at the pass, paddling in the shallows, walking on the beach or looking off the back of the boat we see sharks constantly. Mostly small black tips, white tips and greys, although our friends on Saphira twice saw unidentified big fellas in the pass. Fortunately we missed them. I suppose the sharks are a sign of a healthy ecosystem and they do not seem much interested in us, but they could be a little more discreet.Â
Our plan today is to make water, peddle our kayak around visiting with the other boats and get ready to leave tommorow at slack tide for Fakarava atoll, 87 miles to the west.