BORA BORA, Societies                          April-Aug 2004


We intended to stop in Raiatea but a northerly wind prevented anchorage there, so we headed for a stunningly beautiful sheltered bay in Taaha. When we arrived it was tranquil, peaceful and breathtakingly picturesque. However, as night fell the dogs ashore began to howl and barked non-stop all night accompanied by what sounded like thousands of roosters. It wasn't til dawn that the racket stopped so we hauled anchor at first light and headed for Bora Bora. 

Bora Bora-02.jpg (13813 bytes)

The view of Bora Bora from the sea is spectacular. There is one big craggy mountain in the center of an aqua lagoon with major waves crashing on the surrounding reefs.

July 22, 2004

We arrived in Bora Bora in time to check out of French Polynesia (our Visas ran out today) and get our $1550 US bond back (less charges of course). We are now illegal aliens but we intend to hang out here for a while and check out the scenery. It seems to be a very interesting place...I can't believe that our little boat (which is, by the way, one of the very smallest cruising these islands) has come this far!

Bora Bora-06.jpg (8805 bytes)Dinghy Rafting Party

After anchoring outside the village in 90 feet of water long enough to do our business in town, we moved the boat to a quiet anchorage on the far side of an island in front of Bora Bora (pictured above). We had a dinghy raft-up party with Ocean Girl and Maajhi-Re there

The sun setting over the anchorage was quite spectacular as we drifted along in our dinghies catching up on stories of our passages & experiences

Bora Bora-03.jpg (14267 bytes)

Bora Bora-05.jpg (14437 bytes)



Bora Bora-04.jpg (28275 bytes)

Bora Bora-13.jpg (45520 bytes)

Bora is a beautiful island and is synonymous with "paradise" but it has paid a heavy toll. There are 124 hotels on this little island and the locals have definitely become jaded dealing with so many tourists.


We decided to escape the crowd and sailed 10 miles around to the back side of the island. I was on the bow navigating pointing to the bommies (coral heads) we needed to navigate around, as we made the Z curve through a reef that we couldn't see until we were in the pass.


We finally reached a phenomenal clearing where we anchored in 15 feet of water, surrounded by bright turquoise and white motus, their sandy beaches dotted with palm trees. Looming behind was the beautiful silhouette of Bora Bora. It is quite incredible how much the land is protected from the violence of the sea by the coral reef.

Bora Bora-11.jpg (11059 bytes)

A Day of Snorkeling

We spent a fun time snorkeling with Billibong, along with Island Sonata and Whisper, who had dinghied to meet us from there anchorage further north. Unfortunately many of the reefs around Bora Bora are dead, as a result of past excesses of rainfall but mostly I suspect from the influx of tourists diving and snorkeling the reefs.

We were able to find a small reef close to our boat that was very much alive and teeming with fish. However, we immediately spotted a barracuda, about 5 feet long. I had the feeling that he was taking an unusual interest in me because everywhere I went, there he was. Didn't matter if I was alone or with other people, he was never more than a few feet away. Way too friendly!! I finally swam over to Gord and hid behind him. The barracuda swam right between Gord's legs, he said he could have easily touched him. The intimidating fish spent enough time with us that we named him "Barry" and he followed us all the way back to the dingy.

Weaving thru the Bombies

After the snorkel, we decided to move up to the anchorage to join IS and Whisper so we could all rent bikes the following day.

We followed Billibong back through the reef, sneaking through a narrow passage that took lots of courage. With our 8 foot draft, our keel bumped the bottom, nothing too dramatic as it was soft sand...enough to raise the blood pressure just a little though!

Bora Bora-07.jpg (15928 bytes)

The anchorage was lovely, with a long strand of beach along the motu in front of us.

Biking Around the Island

The following morning we took the dingy to Club Med where we all rented bicycles for the day to circumnavigate the island.


It was a great 7 hour ride, with stops to enjoy the fabulous scenery and views of the volcano that rises from the centre of Bora Bora. We had hamburgers at a roadside cafe and they were unbelievably good (although I may just have been hamburger deprived since leaving the US). Despite sore legs and buts we really enjoyed the tour.

Bora Bora-15.jpg (77039 bytes)
Bora Bora-20.jpg (62085 bytes)
Robin & Duncan (Whisper)
Bora Bora-19.jpg (69201 bytes)
MJ & John (Island Sonata)

Bora Bora-18.jpg (65008 bytes)

Chris & KT  (Billibong)

Bora Bora-17.jpg (43392 bytes)

Bora Bora-21.jpg (54475 bytes)

Bora Bora-16.jpg (66525 bytes)


A Birthday Party

July 25, 2004

Island Sonata hosted a dual birthday celebration for Robin and myself (belated). MJ and KT baked a great cake and everyone brought a dessert.

Robin & Ginny deciding on a really good wish.


We had a great time being entertained by MJ on keyboard, Sujata on guitar, Gregg on mandolin and Gord on his guitar. MJ and Sujata sang for us also.

It was fun visiting with the other boats, 7 in all and it was quite late when we finally made our way back to Ascension.

Bora Bora-27.jpg (53153 bytes)

Bora Bora mountain 054_edited.jpg (20182 bytes)  Bora Bora mountain 138_edited.jpg (21100 bytes)  Bora Bora mountain 125_edited.jpg (16804 bytes)

Stunning views from Mt. Otemanu

One thing we didn't do, but wished we had, was to climb to the top of Mt. Otemanu. It is a grueling steep climb that requires rock climbing with ropes and takes all day to accomplish. We just didn't have the energy in the heat. But a group of cruisers including Bob & Becky (Stardust), Angela & Doug (Solstice) and Boya & Mia (Sowelu) made the trek and they reported the views as breathtaking. Compliments of Becky & Boya take a look at some of the photos that were taken at the top of the mountain.


Bora Bora-28.jpg (45949 bytes)We headed back to our original anchorage just inside the pass after a couple of days. We needed to prepare for our next passage, which meant planning our route, looking over weather systems, provisioning, and doing some boat projects. 


ascension from above-1.jpg (63956 bytes)While anchored in the calm waters, Gord helped Rick on Emerald fix a fitting at the top of his mast. Rick took the opportunity to take some great photos of Ascension from really high up.

August 3,2004

Since I knew there may not be another chance, I decided I would venture into Bora Bora and see if I could find a doctor to look at my foot, which had been plaguing me with not only the toenail fungus but now also a stabbing pain in the ball of my foot. I had finished up all the meds that were prescribed to me in Papeete without any noticeable difference in my affliction.


As it turned out, Chris (Billibong) was heading into a doctor he had been seeing for the kidney stone that he was at war with since Tahiti. So I tagged along. It was quite a hike to the doctor, which intensified the pain in my foot beyond belief. The doctor was a woman that spoke a minimal amount of English but gave me the impression from her description of the prognosis that she suspected I had gout. But she wanted me to return to Raiatia or Papeete to a hospital to get a blood test to be sure. Of course I said this was out of the question as we were planning to leave for the Cooks.


She prescribed a supply of anti-inflammatory drugs but would not renew my prescription to combat the toenail fungus as the drug required is extremely hard on the kidneys and I had already been taking the med for a month. Her fee was much more reasonable than  the $150 consultation fee I had paid in Papeete...it was $33. However, the drugs prescribed came to another $150.


Chris did not fare so well. He got the bad news that he required a sonogram so definitely had to return to Raiatia to have his kidney stone treated. That meant that he would be unable to leave as planned with our group for the Cooks. It was a great disappointment for him and KT to be left behind.

August 7,2004

We had been listening to reports from some of the other boats that had already left for the Cook Islands to try and decide our best course. The major decision was whether to take the Northern Route via the uninhabited Suvarov, or the Southern Route via popular Rarotonga. 

The weather dictated that our best shot was to go to Suvarov (Suwarrow Isl) as winds to Rarotonga were forecasted as being too light to sail effectively and the anchorage was reported crowded and unprotected.

So Ascension set sail accompanied by the 3-E's (Endless, Emerald and Equanimity). As we were existing the harbour, dolphins swam across our bow, a sure sign of good luck for our 5 day passage ahead. We no sooner sailed out the pass and we were all able to set our spinnakers in the light wind. Looked like ideal conditions for our trip to Suvarov.