Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Bora Bora

This morning Pim and I climbed Mont Nue , one of Bora Bora's peaks. It was a steep scramble through dense forest with vines and tree ferns. But at the top we were rewarded with this amazing view of the lagoon. Tintin is down there!

Leg 5 : Bora Bora to Tonga

After 2 months exploring French Polynesia (it's huge!) we are approaching the next
leg of the World ARC rally: Bora Bora to Vava'u, Tonga, via Suwarrow
(Cook Islands) and Niue. It's 690 miles WNW to Suwarrow, an
isolated uninhabited atoll and a National Park, then 540 miles SW
to Niue, and finally 230 miles to Tonga. Niue is a bit like Makatea: a
very steep-to island where it's too deep to anchor. There are limited
moorings there, so the World ARC fleet has been divided into 2 groups
for this leg.

We arrived at Bora Bora yesterday in time to watch the start of the leg
for group one - see photos. Many boats had their coloured sails out for
the start in Bora Bora lagoon, and it was a spectacle. Swade and
Stefano in their yellow shirts were organising the start. Gemma is the
figurehead on Aurora B's bow.

We are getting familiar with our pre-ocean checklist, and I think you
are too! Jobs for the next 2 days before we leave in group 2 on
Wednesday: Rig check, engine check, diesel in tanks, fill water
tanks, buy provisions, stow stuff away, rig wind steering, check
weather forecast...

We need to fill the water tanks here from the dock for the first time
in ages, because 2 days ago the water maker had problems. Shortly after
turning it on on we heard BANG!

Investigation revealed that the high pressure hose had burst. Maybe due
to chafe secondary to engine vibration. No high pressure hose and
fittings are to be found on Bora Bora, so we have changed to water
conservation mode. Tintin's tanks hold over 600 litres, so we will fill
to the very top before we go and use water carefully. No more luxury of
daily fresh water showers - but
today we all had a great shower on the
deck in a heavy tropical downpour. We can also harvest water from the
mainsail via the sail cover if needed. Other ARC boats with water
makers have generously offered to give us top ups via jerry can in
Suwarrow and Niue - so we will be well looked after.

Tintin Reunited

Last night there was a shout from the dockside: Tintin!
And there stood Nicki and Richard, rejoining us on board.
It is great to have them both back, Richard with his right arm in action again. The unplanned few months back home in New Zealand were filled with work on the new block of land, and we have heard a lot about Richards new tractor!

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Taha'a Coral Garden

Our last stop before heading on to Bora Bora tomorrow has been the coral
garden of Taha'a.
We are anchored just next to a small motu on the west side of Taha'a.
There is a steady gentle current of water flowing between two
motus, from the outer reef towards Taha'a. Snorkelling in the
stream we were carried over a garden of coral the size of several
football pitches. It felt like we were flying over the coral and
amazingly colourful (and fearless) fish. Another incredible place in
the world.

Marae Taputapuatea

Our exploration around Raiatea continued from Alex's bay, as we tiptoed
just inside the reef around the south of the island with Aurora B.
The channel was pretty narrow in places between the fringing reef and
the island, but under engine and with the centreboard up we navigated
the 20 miles aound to the east side. More bright green mountains,
waterfalls and bays kept opening up to our left; on our right the
turquoise of shallow reef then deep blue ocean. Our destination was Marae Taputapuatea.

The marae is just about 1m above sea level, a large rectangular
construction with a row of standing stones at one end. Here priests were
initiated, sacrifices made (both human and animal) and ancestors were
consulted. It is said to be the most important marae in all of French
Polynesia. It held its own atmosphere.

Plateau Temehanirahi

The climb up to the sacred plateau of Temehanirahi

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Polynesian tatoos

All through the islands of Polynesia we have seen people with tatoos.
Not just any tatoos - whole arms, legs, faces, backs. They are works of
art. Tatooists of the Marquesas are recognised as the experts. Stylised
natural forms and tikis are integrated with other symbols, and each has
a significance. A turtle represents longeivity, a manta ray, the ocean;
tikis are there to protect you. Several World Arc sailors visited the
tatoo artist in Hiva Oa, Marquesas, and returned delighted with their
tatoos which were designed for them individually to represent things
important to them.