Bora Bora Yacht Club!
25 August 2020 | Bora Bora Yacht Club mooring field
William Ennis | Hot and windy
We stowed the dinghy on deck the night before and got the outboard on its perch, so we were ready for our morning departure. It was raining heavily as we prepared to depart Tapuamu Bay this morning, but we donned our foulies and did our outside chores anyway. The anchor was up, stowed, and we were underway by 0800: wheels up at 8 was the plan. All of the electronics functioned correctly for a change, and we blasted out of Taha'a's reef by 0830. The new boat speeds that we're experiencing are simply astounding for us. Conni must have uttered the phrase, "Our speed is amazing!" ten times today.
With almost no wind, we did make good time. Conni, the logistics queen, had planned on 7-8 hours to Bora Bora from Tapuamu, since there's a half-hour trip inside the reef just to arrive at the nearest pass through the reef as well as another at the Bora Bora end between the pass and the mooring field. Out in the open, we cooked along, eclipsing our usual 4-knot average. I know that it sounds silly, but we've been traveling on this boat for over 20 years, and all of a sudden, we find ourselves traveling faster, more smoothly, and more quietly than previously. It's quite a change.
Rather than 7-8 hours, we arrived at the Bora Bora Yacht Club and were hobnobbing with the owner in 5 hours. Yes, that's a long time, but our previous experience would make the trip an all-day affair. Again, no straining engine, but a sedate 1800 RPM the entire trip.
After negotiating Bora Bora's very complex pass, a guy in a small power boat approached us, asked our language, and announced that he was, "Francis, the mooring guy." Well OK! With so many vessels dropping anchor in the Bora Bora lagoon, coral was being destroyed and private grounds damaged. The Bora Bora government didn't want to deal with mooring, so they contracted with a private outfit that sunk large mooring anchors, prepared new mooring lines and balls, and charges US$30 per night. With that, we get trash disposal, but we pay for water unless we acquire it elsewhere.
On our inter-island trip, I was up and down from cockpit to below decks, tightening hose clamps on the new return manifold and adjusting the water coming in through the packing gland: too much from the first, too little from the second. We're also having issues with our charging system, even though we now have a 120A alternator on the new engine. Naturally, the alternator is controlled by our regulator but it's working. We have three battery banks: house, engine start, and windlass. How the charging current gets distributed is always a complex problem, and our previous device failed two years ago. After long searching, I found and purchased combiner devices from a small, family-owned company, Yandina. I'm fairly sure that it's something wrong that I did and not the devices, but I can't determine what. Well, another mystery to solve.
We're still learning about the new radar but already think that it's a marvelous piece of electronics. The original radars were dangerously powerful: their electronics are the same as used in a microwave oven. In fact, the original microwave oven was named the "Radar Range" for that reason. This radar emits less than a mobile phone so it's harmless but so sophisticated that the tiny power that's emitted is sufficient for a 32 nautical mile range. The chart plotter is also very complicated so we're still learning our way around it. Our new depth, temperature, speed transducer is powered by the NMEA2000 network so its low power only provides data down to 300 feet, but that's fine. Water temperature here, by the way, is a warm 85°F.
We have not been able to get the new B&G system to communicate with our old autopilot, and I'm unsure of where to go to fix it. We've been in contact with both Raymarine and B&G, but so far there's been no resolution.
After preparing Wings for the stay, we splashed the dinghy and went ashore to the Bora Bora Yacht Club, where we've been many times. Last year, a big Outremer catamaran named Archer, a multimillion-dollar boat well over 50 feet long, was using one of their unmaintained moorings. We have, too, but we don't have a huge boat, either. At any rate, the owner discarded 10,000 years of boat rules and went ashore during a huge storm. The results were predictable: the mooring parted, the boat went aground on a reef, and was virtually destroyed. For your interest, we have photos of Archer up in the Raiatea Carenage yard as she was laboriously repaired, the insurance company wishing to repair rather than replace. Yes, the Yacht Club should have warned the owner that his boat was too large for the moorings, and yes, they should have maintained the mooring better, but in the end, it's the captain's responsibility to practice good seamanship, something that he failed to do. The Yacht Club is no longer in the mooring business! Their package of services used to be a mooring, Wifi, and showers for US$20/day, but now it's $20 for a shower and Wifi, plus the $30 for the mooring: showers every other day for us! The showers are cold, alas, but the allure of a standup shower with plenty of water is powerful. We also made arrangements for dinner, so we motored back at 1930, luxuriated in the showers, and enjoyed mahi-mahi in a vanilla sauce, a Polynesian speciality. We motored back to Wings and just passed out, it having been a long and tiring day.
We're in a very protected location, on a secure and maintained mooring, in the lagoon of what is, arguably, the most beautiful island in the world. We've got great services nearby, a store and other services a 30-minute dinghy ride away in Viatape, and are enjoying the time. Will we depart? Hard to say! At this moment, Conni's clear plans are cloudier than before. We'll see.