Saturday, August 16, 2008

Bye Bye Bora Bora

We were pretty stationary once we dropped anchor in Bora Bora, out in front of the “Yacht Club,” really just a bar with buoys out front that caters to cruisers. We knew already the entire eastern side of Bora Bora’s lagoon was off limits to us with shallows too shallow for us. We had other destinations in mind and snorkeling sites recommended but a combination of laziness, the convenience of our proximity to town for provisioning and a visit to the Gendarmes, gusty weather, and our craving for internet connectivity conspired to keep us pretty immobile. And yet many cruisers gathered here, many we’ve encountered along the way, waiting for the opportune moment to leave French Polynesia, like us, for points west.

In the meantime we socialized with Australians, Swedes and Americans at a potluck barbecue and spent time with Francisco and Serena from Evasione. Our big night out on the town was dinner at a Chinese restaurant. Not great but not bad. In French Polynesia the majority of business owners, as well as the newly elected President, are of Chinese descent.

We met a local veterinarian, Fréderic Lamy, and asked about life and work as a vet on these islands. He works 7 days a week, Monday through Saturday at his 3 locations in Tahiti, and Sundays and holidays on Bora Bora. Can you say burnout? There are 8 veterinary clinics on Tahiti, one on Raiatea and one on Bora Bora; none in the Marquesas or Tuamotus. He said client education was a huge part of his practice, not surprisingly, as pet care is not part of the culture here. And yet, from our limited experience, it seems an attainable goal. Many of the people we’ve met really do care. And, as opposed to many other wayward, isolated islands of the tropics, the lifestyle here is pretty well subsidized by the French and so the means to take care of pets does exist.

In Huahine we visited with Andy, Sandy and Emma from Imagine. They had made landfall in French Polynesia in Fatu Hiva (in the Marquesas) at the time we were there, and we had even met Andy briefly before we had left. They told us that, shortly after our departure, a local man, desperate and weeping, had come down to the anchorage with his gravely ill dog, looking for a veterinarian. No doubt he had heard we’d been taking care of dogs there in the village. Sadly, he must have just missed us!

So, we find ourselves ready (I mean required) to leave French Polynesia. Our next destination is American Samoa, where we’ll fuel up and reprovision in cheap American fashion. We’ll also pick up a new membrane for our watermaker that we’ve had shipped there. En route we hope to stop at Suwarrow, an apparently lovely example of the northern Cook Islands and a New Zealand protectorate. Here’s what one guide says about Suwarrow: “The lagoon has many scattered coral heads. The clarity of the water and multitude of colorful fish make for excellent diving except for the profusion of sharks. Divers are sometimes accompanied by the caretaker who is equipped with a spear gun.”

After lifting anchor in Bora Bora on Monday we were stuck wrestling with the main sail, as one of the battens was intent, once again, on making its great escape. (We've lost one and broken another already). Anyway, after three attempts, the main was up, batten intact and accounted for, with a single reef, and we finally set off toward the pass. Then, as the wind gusted to 30 knots, the boom vang purchase snapped. Ok, screw it. We limped back to BBYC, dropped anchor and spliced a new line. With our inauspicious start we opted to leave Tuesday morning. The weather reports had predicted an abatement of the gusty winds but steady trades until a lull on Friday or Saturday. We were booking along for the first 20 hours, until 4 am. Now we've got 6 kn of wind from dead astern; in other words, hardly enough to go on, especially in this direction. If this is the lull we weren't expecting until Fri/Sat, we're in for one helluva slow passage to Suwarrow.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Deflated dinghy, broken battens, worn out watermaker membranes. You using your equipement or what? How many things do you not actually need? The new news is Jeroski is pregnant again. I already told her she is nuts since the first time went so well (and then told her congratulatins). Due in Feb. Amy and I are off to the WA coast for the weekend to have some out of town time. Stay tuned for more ;-)