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Day 617
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Out of time in the Society Islands: Rarotonga Here I Come

Aug 17

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8/17/2010 10:04 PM  RssIcon

Life did in fact carry on almost as usual after the sky started falling.  Lauren and I made our way back to the boat and upped anchor for the island of Taha’a.  It is without a doubt one of the most beautiful of the Society Islands.  Walking and hitchhiking around the island it is impossible not to notice the landscaping around each house, along the side of the road, and in the villages.  These islanders take more pride in their island than any other I’ve seen in French Polynesia.

We went for a walk just to have a look around and in between Lauren warning me about coco trees above I scampered around collecting bread fruit and wild yellow bananas.  The whole island really does look like a live in botanical garden.  We got about one quarter around the island when Lauren spotted a sign that said vanilla farm.  Of course we scampered up the dirt drive and were greeted by a Dutchman who’d been released from 15 years service in the French Foreign Legion and come to paradise to raise vanilla.  We got the ins and outs of the business and purchased 100 grams of freshly dried vanilla beans.  The smell in the boat is heavenly.

The ever present kindness of the islands, former French Foreign Legion included, showed itself once again and we hitched a ride in the back of the farmers truck into the town of Patio for a simple lunch and a cold beer.  Bottles empty we again jumped into the back of the land rover and rolled back to the farm only to finish our beautiful walk back to the dingy.  Another great day in Paradise.

Lauren flew out of Raiatea and I eventually put the boat together to rejoin much of the cruising pack in the infamous island of Bora Bora.  I have to admit, even with all the tourists, the beauty of this island lives up to its hype.  One day was spent in three launches running around the island clockwise.  We made a full

circumnavigation of it and stopped anytime the crystalline blue waters began to look a little too refreshing.  I left my AB Inflatable behind and join the twin brothers who make up the captains and crew of s/v Broken Compass.  I couldn’t help but like these guys as soon as I met Makai, their year old Siberian Husky puppy. 

The next day was a bit slower, but the day after found us tied to a tourists mooring outside the reef and swimming with sharks.  The brothers can free dive for three minutes plus and had speared a big puffer fish in only a few minutes.  Gutted and sunk to the bottom we were hoping to get a close up view of the small black tip & very large lemon sharks enjoying an easy meal.  To our surprise not one of the sharks went for the puffer.  I guess they really are toxic.

We finished the day on board the good ship Jargo with a bottle of Pastis and a bit of red wine telling lies and talking about boats.  Eventually we called it an early night, but not before we agreed to hike the peaks of Bora Bora.  Somehow I agreed to put on a big feed at 7:00 a.m. the next morning and actually got up early enough to bake home made biscuits and scrambled eggs with bacon and fried potatoes.  We ate, soaked up some coffee, and then labored up the hill.  Well, I labored, the boys are significantly more fit than I turned out to be.  I hate to think having eight years on them really makes that much difference, but they clearly had an easy time of a hard hike.  Time to start running again.

Once we made the highest accessible peak some 3.5 hours later we were treated to a breath taking view of Bora Bora.  Before a few clouds rolled in on us you could easily make out the islands of Taha’a, Raeatea, and Malpiti.  The water varied from a conspicuous blue of the deep ocean to nearly white where it just hid the white sands of the pristine beaches.  As the depths of the lagoon rise and fall so does the shade of blue.

As beautiful as Bora is, I am feeling pulled again to the West.  I’ve sat long and hard on what islands I want to visit between here and New Zealand and I think I’ve finally determined my path.  Next stop, Rarotonga.  The winds have been a bit strong further South which is keeping most cruising boats to the North.  So, after the Societies I’ll venture away from the herd once again and go South to what I hope will be an uncrowded destination.  No doubt my stops afterwards, Palmerston Atoll and Niue will be on the road less travelled.

That’s it for awhile.  Cheers all.

Location: Blogs Parent Separator Ship's Log

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