|Osprey downwind sailing to Bora Bora|
(photo courtesy of Kyanos)
|Cruiser's happy hour at Bloody Mary's in Bora Bora.|
|Another cruiser's happy hour, this time at|
the Mai Kai Marina in Bora Bora.
The hike up Mount Pahia is not for the faint of heart. First you have to find the trail head which is located on the edge of a banana field. From there the trail is pretty well marked but for the most part the climb is straight up. After just a few hundred feet you feel as though you have already gained about 1000 feet vertical...okay, an exaggeration, but it was a VERY steep climb. Along the trail there are about a half dozen ropes attached to trees that allow you to pull yourself up some of the steeper aspects of the hike. It took us about 2 hours to make the ascent and the views from the top were unbelievable! Our group included 14 people and I am happy to say that not only did all 14 of us make it to the top, but all 14 of us made it down as well. The summit was at 2,159 feet and this was definitely one of the steeper climbs I have ever attempted.
|View from the top of Mount Pahia (click to enlarge).|
Once safely on the bottom, most of us retired to our boats to rest after the arduous climb. I can say that the crew of Osprey went to bed early that night as we were quite tired from the hike (after all, we aren't getting any younger!).
|Sunset from Motu Toopua, Bora Bora.|
The next day, Richard and I and Kyra and Rick of Nyon went swimming with the sting rays and then headed over to a red channel marker to do some snorkeling. We saw a very large moray eel and lots and lots of multi-colored fish as well as some live coral. The snorkel site was right on the edge of the deep channel so it provided a variety of underwater levels to explore.
|Potluck group at Patrick's place on Motu Toopua|
(photo courtesy of Kiapa).
The next day we left and returned to the Mai Kai Marina as it will be easier to provision for our next passage as well as check out of the country from the town of Vaitape.
|Our route from French Polynesia to New Zealand.|
I have definitely enjoyed our time in French Polynesia. But wouldn't you know, just when my French was getting really good it's time to leave. I won't have to pull out my French again until the summer of 2014 when we go to New Caledonia so I guess I have some more time to practice...now if I could only find someone to speak French with between now and then I'd be all set!
I think I have to say that each of the island groups (the Marquesas, the Tuomotus, and the Society Islands) had something different to offer and for that reason its hard to decide if I had a favorite or not. The Marquesas were wild and pretty much less developed than the Society Islands and the Tuomotus were some of the prettiest islands (atolls, actually) I have ever seen with crystal clear water and gorgeous sunsets. The Society Islands were a brief return to urban life with the cities of Pape'ete on Tahiti, Fare on Huahine and Vaitape on Bora Bora; but they also provided lots of opportunities for hiking, exploring, dining out and happy hours with fellow cruisers. I am definitely looking forward to our next passages and landfalls and am certain that they too will offer amazing opportunities to see new things.
With that said, au revoir from French Polynesia!
A few random pictures of our time in French Polynesia.
|Post Mount Pahia hike, Bora Bora|
|Brianna, Ben and Sarah, happy hour|
Mai Kai Marina, Bora Bora.
|Patrick grating a coconut|
(he makes it look so easy!).
|Lionel and Irene of Kiapa at potluck.|
|Paul, Gab and Brianna jamming at potluck.|
|Osprey at anchor in Bora Bora from Mount Pahia.|
The pass is in the background.