A Cruiser's Dream Destination
From Moorea we did an overnight passage to Taha’a and stayed there only briefly before moving on to Raiatea. Our most memorable event in Raiatea almost made us late for meeting up with my mom and sister in Bora Bora. We had spent the night at the dock in front of the main town. The next morning, as we were getting ready to throw the lines off and head to Bora Bora, Sam noticed that there was no longer water coming out of the stern of the boat; water for cooling our engine. We switched off the engine immediately, retied our lines and a nine hour investigation ensued. At the end of that time Sam discovered a fish (or what remained of a fish) that had been sucked up the intake valve. Sam’s response? “And I thought I was having a bad day!” After cleaning him out we were back in business and were able to pull out the following morning for Bora Bora.
We spent Wednesday, June 29th, sailing over to Bora Bora. After anchoring Sam and I went ashore and walked over to the hotel where my mom and sister were planning to stay to check out possible anchoring options. That night we met up with some friends we hadn’t seen since leaving Mexico four months earlier. In the morning Sam and I caught a ride into town and took an airport ferry to the motu where the airport is located. This was supposed to be a surprise as we told my Mom and Janet that we would most likely be meeting up with them at their hotel. Well Sam and I were the ones who got the bigger surprise. As we watched Mom and Janet disembark the plane I thought I saw another person wearing a hat I recognized. There was then a pause before my family continued forward to where we were. As they approached I realized that I wasn't imagining things and my other sister, Jennifer, was also with them! I ran out to where they were (the security at this island airport being quite different from what one experiences in the States) and started hugging Mom, Jennifer and Janet. I hadn’t seen any of them since leaving in October so you can imagine it was a bit emotional. Airport personnel finally came up and politely motioned us into the airport. I don’t imagine they see too many Americans waiting in their airport to greet arriving family members.
For the next week Moana was anchored off the hotel where my mom and sister were staying. My sister, Jennifer, got to experience a bit of cruising life sleeping on our boat in the sea berth for the week. She did however get the luxury of showering in the hotel. We all did for that matter! It was our first shower off the boat since January, if you can imagine that! We spent the week as tourists, laying on the beach, kayaking, snorkeling, shelling, shopping and eating delicious meals out. Sam and I were totally spoiled!
On July 6th we said our good-byes to Mom and Jennifer while my other sister, Janet, moved onto Moana for the next week. During that time Janet got a pretty full experience of cruising life. We slept, cooked our meals and showered on the boat. We visited with other cruisers where we ate homemade sushi, played instruments and sang, worked on beading projects, and sat around talking. We sailed over to Taha’a where we visited both sides of the island. It was a whirlwind week, moving much faster than Sam and I have become accustomed to.
It was wonderful seeing family and difficult saying good-bye. We spent almost another week in Bora Bora preparing for our next passage to the Cook Islands. During that week we were able to attend some of the Tahitian dance and singing competitions, bike around the island, hike, and…swim with manta rays!!! We had heard that there were manta rays to swim with but hadn’t been able to locate them while the family was visiting. One night we went with friends over to the Bora Bora Hotel where they have bright lights shining into the water off a dock. The mantas are attracted to the plankton and we walked up to three manta rays swimming right in front of us. We returned the next night dressed in bathing suits and geared with snorkels and masks. It was truly thrilling laying on the surface of the water and seeing these huge creatures swimming just below us! They swam close enough for us to touch them! What a truly awesome experience that was!
Just before leaving Bora Bora we made one final attempt to locate Moana Adventures. This is a water sport business which was started by the original owner of our boat, Moana. We knew that he no longer lives and works in Bora Bora (we actually tracked him down to Oceanside) but we wanted to see the business out of curiosity. It was neat to take some pictures and we hope to be able to meet up with the gentleman in Oceanside when we return to the States for a visit.
Well, I suppose that wraps things up for now. I apologize for taking so long to write and am afraid trying to cover over a month of experiences in one email doesn't do it justice. Hopefully I have provided at least a taste of our experiences in the Society Islands.
Thank you for emails you have written and continue to write! We are in remote places where we do not have easy access to the internet but are always thrilled when we get to one and download e-mails from friends. It's like Christmas every time!!!
Take care and God bless!
Sam and Sally
written en route to Aitutaki in the Southern Cook Islands