Society Isles Tahiti to Bora Bora

The Society Isles represent the 2nd stage of island development where a fringing coral reef has formed and the central conical high island has sunk a bit leaving an island surrounded by a lagoon. We arrived off Tahiti too early and drifted for several hours until it got light and we could make our way through the pass into the lagoon and to the Marina. Tahiti is quite a culture shock coming from the Tuamotus. Black roads, dual carriageway, traffic jams and street lights, also shops including a huge Carrefour near the Marina, and a laundrette! And of course you get French baguettes etc. We spent 10 days getting various jobs done and of course shopping, but we also managed an island tour. There was no official rally meet but we had a couple of good parties for Howard’s birthday and Jack, Ell and Steven’s leaving. Next stop Moorea where we anchored in scenic Cooks Bay, then Huahine when we anchored on the reef, then Raiatea and Tahaa, two islands within the same lagoon. We snorkelled in the Coral Gardens – a shallow pass that the tide swept you through with loads of corals and inquisitive fish. Unfortunately our hopes of finally getting the electronic Autopilot working properly again were dashed when the new hydraulic motor ordered by the engineer from Tahiti turned out to be completely the wrong thing – they never had the correct part. Then a lively sail across to Bora Bora, and it is still very bouncy on the mooring here. Bora Bora is quite busy with lots of hotels though in traditional style bungalows with thatch roofs built on stilts over the water – but all the same. I wanted to climb up the mountain but they say the trail is closed due to rain and insist that you have a guide, actually you do need a guide just to find the start of the trail as there are no maps. So instead we went on an island tour with a trip boat (yes we have a boat but the channel is too shallow at the S end for us). So we went snorkelling in coral gardens off the reef at the N end, then outside the lagoon off the reef where we swam with sharks (the guide fed them fish) mostly black tipped reef sharks with a lemon shark down deeper, then back inside the reef to swim in shallow water with stingrays and more sharks, then on round the island and a luxury lunch on a small motu, wound up with a demo of plaiting coconut palm leaves to make plates and knotting pareos. Our guide was clad just in his Pareo tied as a loin cloth – and his tattoos. Barbecue party tonight, dinghy race and last preparations on Saturday, then we head off on Sunday for Surrarow (Cook Islands), then Niue, then Tonga.

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