Some of the best times we had in Fr. Poly were spent in Nuku Hiva, Marquesas; South Fakarava, Tuamotu; Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora. Anchored at the Bora Bora Yacht Club with this beautiful view of Mt. Otemanu, 727M tall towering over our bow.
We missed out on Huahine and several other islands in the Tuamotu but there is so much more to see on our journey.
Fascinating archeological sites – we would’ve visited each one if time allowed, jagged volcanic terrain, diverse Marquesan culture, beautiful Tahitian artisans and woodcrafters, snorkeling in pristine turquoise water, collecting shells, paddleboarding across the colorful coral reefs filled with exotic fish all made our visit exquisite and unforgettable. The 90 day visa wasn’t long enough, we really wanted more time but getting the extended visa while living in Oregon just didn’t work for us.
Our 15 days in Raiatea and Tahaa were spent on a mooring ball hiding behind the mountains in semi sheltered anchorages from torrential downpours, steady winds of 25+ kts – gusting over 45+ on some days, blinding lightening and thunder directly overhead.
The deep anchorages in Raiatea and Tahaa were unexpected and we probably missed out on a lot of sights due to bad weather and not wanting to take chances dragging anchor. We heard several calls from boaters requesting assistance, mostly boats that dragged anchor and ended up on the reefs.
But we managed to visit the fragrant vanilla farm on Tahaa – known as the vanilla island, and loaded up with fresh vanilla products. We also rented a scooter to see Raiatea, that was a fun trip motoring through the villages and interior farm land. The pearl farm was very interesting and the black pearls are exquisite! Couldn’t load up on those but John bought me a beautiful set of earrings.
We won’t miss the painful no-nos (no see-ums) their bites and itching lasted for over 2 long weeks, the pesky mosquitoes that left quarter-sized welts, expensive food, agonizing slow wifi connection – if there was any at all, and the constant smoky air from burning piles of vegetation.
We met so many cruisers from all over the world, we kept a log of the boats that we met more than twice in the anchorages. Some were from Mexico that came across as part of the Pacific Puddle Jumpers, foreign nationals on their way home via the Panama Canal having been around the world already, and a lot of newbies like ourselves. We received a tremendous amount of information and knowledge from cruisers that had already been to the places on our future cruising route. It was hard to say good bye to those we bonded with, we will miss our sailing buddies who are heading off to Tonga and beyond.
We wrap up this leg of our adventurous passage making and mark our one year cruising life all in the same week. We laugh at our mistakes – thankfully we didn’t suffer losses, shed tears when we wave goodbye to friends, cry when I think of family at home, toast our accomplishments with lots of rum and whiskey, and high five ourselves when we set the anchor in the idyllic waters. We’ve discovered so much more about the world and Pacific ocean, ourselves, each other, our boat, perseverance, faced our fears head on – I can now swim underwater, and finally admitted that I brought too many clothes.
We’re anxious to begin our next 1200 mile journey that introduces us to new cultures, interesting lands and anchorages, and new cruising friends.
Westward bound this week for Suwarrow (Suvarov) Atoll – Northern Cook Island. New Zealand territory. If you have a chance – read the book “An Island to Oneself” by Tom Neale to get some history of this place.