Thursday, September 8, 2016

Farewell to Beautiful Bora Bora

Aerial view of Bora Bora
As Dave mentioned in our previous post, we reluctantly left Bora Bora yesterday.  We had been in Bora Bora for just over 2 weeks, and could see why other cruisers have said they spend a whole month there.  It is absolutely beautiful!  We had read that Bora Bora had lost its charm, and was completely over developed, and some cruisers we had spoken to had said they were going to skip it all together.  Well, we certainly couldn't do that, and we are so glad we didn't!!  After having explored the whole island, both from the water and the land, both Dave and I agree that it was one the most beautiful of all the islands we've visited so far, (however, this may now slip into second place, now that we are in Maupiti!).  Yes, there are hotels and resorts, but there are also plenty of secluded anchorages where you can be by yourself and not even have another boat as a neighbour!  So to us, it was the best of both worlds:  development if and when we needed/wanted it; and seclusion and beauty when that was what we were looking for.  And the shades of turquoise water here in many different anchorages far superseded any we'd seen to date.

This picture of  one of our anchorages was taken by drone flown by Loic on Moby.  Cool Runnings is behind on the left, in front of us is Fata Morgana, Moby is the next catamaran along, and Excalibur is the monohull furthest away

We spent the first week anchored in various places along the north, east, and south east part of the island, usually in about 5 feet of crystal clear water, at times between the St. Regis and 4 Seasons over-the-water bungalow resort, another time off a beach, another time behind a motu at South East corner, snaking our way through a narrow channel in the coral, to get there.  From all of these places we had a magnificent view of Mt. Otemanu, the iconic peak that is synonymous with Bora Bora.

Another drone shot of Bora Bora - you can see some of the resorts with their bungalows on the right side of the picture

 Ben at our anchorage at the south east corner behind the Sofitel private island

Our days were spent doing school in the mornings, spending time researching our next destinations, swimming, snorkeling and simply relaxing.  One day we went to snorkel with the Manta Rays and were extremely lucky to see 5 of these magnificent, gentle giants!  (Dave has posted a short video on this as well).
One of the beautiful Mantas

A little harder to see, but this guy was coming towards us

Some of the beautiful scenery BELOW the water!

Ben and Gaby snorkeling

This is what they were looking at!

On Tuesday of our second week we headed over to the main town, Vaitape, to go and check it out.  The village itself is somewhat quaint, but not really what I would have expected with Bora Bora being such a jet-set destination.  On the other hand, it is nice that it has remained just that:  a simple little village.  On Wednesday we rented a car and toured the island, which is really quite small.  You can drive around it in about an hour if you don't stop.

Bora Bora was the first island created after Raiatea, and it is believed that it has been inhabited since the year 900.  There are many "marae" ruins (such as the ones we saw on Raiatea) which can be found on the island.  The inhabitants of Bora Bora were fierce warriors who often raided Maupiti (our next stop), Tahaa and Raiatea.

Captain James Cook visited Bora Bora in 1769 and 1777 and in 1896 the island was annexed by France.  In February of 1942, the Americans set a refueling and regrouping base on Bora Bora, and their influence can still be felt today.  It was the Americans that built the road around the island, as well as the airfield that is still present on Motu Mute today.  (The airport is on an island (motu), and the only way to get there is by boat - go're in Bora Bora!).  By June 1946 the base was closed and the American soldiers left the island.  There are still 8 huge naval guns on the island that were placed here to defend the island against a surprise Japanese attack that never happened.

One of the huge guns still on the island
This shows the whole gun and the bunker in the background
The view from where the guns were located

With our tour of the island under our belts, and another history lesson on the books, we retreated back to the boat.  We also checked out the anchorages on the west side of the island, behind the motu "Topua".  There we found good shelter from the strong winds that had been blowing the last week or so.  We also checked out, and received our international clearance papers from Papeete.

While we were waiting, we were anchored with 4 of our "kid boat friends":  Invictus, Excalibur, Moby (whom we had met in Rangiroa), and Fata Morgana - a new family that Invictus introduced us to.  They have a daughter, Maya, who is 12, so Benjamin and Gaby have a new friend, who speaks English (!!) and they get on famously!  The one night we had a bonfire on the beach:  5 boats:  12 adults (Invictus has friends with them), and 12 kids!  It was awesome, and if I had had an SD card in my camera, I would be able to post the photos I thought I was taking!! (Dave posted a short video of the bonfire in a previous post below).

Dave also got a chance to windsurf after all these years, borrowing a windsurfer from Nicolas from Excalibur.  Excalibur and Moby both had windsurfers and smaller sails for the kids, so one day we had a "kids windsurfing session", which started off great, but then the wind died, unfortunately.  However, it turned into another social event with the adults having drinks on the beach, while the kids just played in the water!  The kids have also been having fun being towed behind the dinghy in our "raft".
Dave windsurfing

It's been 20 years since he last windsurfed - apparently it's like riding a bike!!

More water fun - Dave and Gaby in the dinghy, pulling Ben and their new friend Maya from Fata Morgana

Ben and Maya having fun!

The next morning (yesterday) dawned with the good weather window we had been waiting for, and we took the chance and headed over here to beautiful Maupiti.  We plan to explore this island, and hopefully one more (Mopelia) before leaving the Society Islands behind us.  With fairly decent internet here, I should be able to post some pictures and report on our time here in Maupiti.  One more boat joined us this morning (Excalibur), so now we have 4 of the 5 boat friends that were together in Bora Bora here with us in Maupiti!

Lastly, thanks as always for all the blog comments and emails from everyone with news and good wishes on our journey. We love reading them all!!!! "Maruru"....Polynesian for "thank you"!

Sunset over Bora Bora - Farewell!

1 comment:

  1. Hello everybody. What beautiful view and also the water. Hope everybody is doing well and it looks like your having a great time. Take care and be safe, keep sending those pictures.