Underway for Bora Bora

Good morning! Beetle this morning is staggering along towards Bora Bora, it’s a bright sunny day so far, breeze is up in the 20-24 knot range, we’re running along with triple-reefed main and a scrap of headsail unrolled to help hold the bow down. The sea state is up, and that is what makes the going so rocky rolly out here, nothing pond-like today in the South Pacific.

The forecast calls for the breeze to reduce through the next several days, which is what everyone has been waiting for. The folks out in the Tuamotus are still hunkered down and not leaving the boat due to the wind they’re experiencing. In Moorea/Tahiti we were seeing the reduced winds first, the Leeward Societies (Bora Bora, Huahine, etc.) will see that reduction tonight some time. First boat out of Opunohu was Shindig, Rob and Jeff wanted to visit Huahine and the recommended approach is to depart Moorea early evening to time arrival for early morning at the pass into Huahine. We elected to wait another 12 hours and then we headed out. Shindig reported in this morning that they were at the Huahine pass, and had winds 25-30 through the night, gradually tapering to 20-25 by their arrival. I’m hoping for a similar reduction today – breeze should drop another 5 knots and the swell is already down from 8′ to 7′.

And we had yet another dragging boat through the anchorage at the top end of Opunohu. It’s soft mud up there and boats do not seem to like setting the anchor. In this case a boat had come in and proceeded to anchor very close to two other boats, we’re talking something like 30 feet between boats. That seems way too close to me, but there they were. In the afternoon there were intermittent 180 degree wind shifts that turned everybody around and that’s when Cinnabar drifted down on top of Papajou, the miscreant anchorer. They elected to hoist their anchor and simply drift downwind another 40 feet and put the anchor back down. That approach definitely does not set the anchor, and at midnight Cinnabar put out a call on the VHF that Papajou was adrift and headed out of the bay. Papajou heard this and were up on deck in a hurry, hoisted the anchor, and had all the fun of motoring up into much shallower water and setting the hook in the dark with intermittent 20 knot gusts through the anchorage.

I had an interesting experience trying to obtain internet yesterday morning – there was none available on Sunday, plus the magasin that operates the WDG WiFi installation was closed Sunday. On Monday they would be open, Kristen and I dinghied to the beach adjacent to the magasin and voila! – no internet. I walked into the store and the lady there has enough English to help me out. I ask about the WDG WiFi and she says, “No WiFi any more. They took the antenna away.” I’m amazed – usually people are installing additional infrastructure, and here they are actively removing it. She did not know why, but the antenna was gone.

I heard on the radio net that there is a group called PGEM that seems to be part of the government, and there are plans afoot to close the east anchorage at Opunohu Bay, which would be unfortunate for the cruising crowd. Perhaps removing the antenna is part of an effort to make the anchorage less desireable? There are several petitions going around now, one from the cruisers, one from the passenger boat operators, and one from the dive boats – each asking that the anchorage not be closed.

So that’s the scoop from this end, we’re out here sailing along towards Huahine, then a left turn and another 47 miles to Bora. I’ve collected a fair bit of local knowledge from various boats, in particular Alycone and Maluhia were very helpful with all their information. Now it’s my turn to see about putting some of that into practice.

Enjoy the morning. Kristen is asleep, or at least trying to rest through the noise of the boat rolling around. I got in a good nap earlier, the watermaker is up and running to replenish the water tanks (day tank now full, port tank 1/2 full and I’ll be transferring that water to the starboard tank shortly. Eventually we’ll be topped up.

Time to go watch for more flying fish!

– rob

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