Saturday, August 28, 2010

Bye to Bora Bora

Woke up this morning to an incredible full rainbow behind us and the magical mountain alive with new rain vibrance. We are off to the store to reprovision for the next Pacific journey to the Cook National Park of Suvarov, which should take us 4 to 6 days, depending on the weather, of course. The photos recap the last few days with our friends on the East side and yesterday's dinghy discovery of the famous Bloody Mary's restaurant and bar. Richard sent us with a special hi to his friends who are the owners, and we found them both, Greg and Joe, who just happen to be guys from Newport Beach, and we both worked with Greg at the Ancient Mariner and the Rusty Pelican. We are continually amazed by the connections throughout the world due to shared interests and just being on this planet. 

The people pictures of Kelita and Robert from Freedom, John and Linda on Nakia (from San Francisco), and Ed and Nila on Quixotic (originally from Portland, Oregon and Israel) will continue to remind us that one of our most favorite parts of cruising is the people we have met. We cherish the friendships made and hope to see them again somewhere. We may make our way down to the Bloody Mary's dock and moorings tomorrow and snorkel around the point where the famous old Bora Bora Hotel still is but has been closed since the last hurricane. We plan to leave on Monday morning if the weather permits. From that point on, we will have a few weeks of just sailmail communication until we reach Tonga. Hope all is well with all of you, and we continue to send you our love,  Suzi   

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Coral Gardens

We had a wonderful snorkel yesterday late morning right off of the reef that is behind us. Others saw a few mantas deep inside the blue water along the wall of the reef, but they were very deep and quite far down. The snorkeling was fabulous in terms of beautiful, colorful coral, many varieties altogether, and we hope to go back out there this morning and take some pictures. There were fewer fish than what we have seen in our journeys, but the coral garden was a wonderland of incredible colors. It is as if you are wandering through a lush valley of many different flowers, each with its own different pattern and colors. WOW! What a treat to be able to float along in comfortable calm clear warmish water just watching in wonder. We are so fortunate. 

Later on we tried to find Richard's son in the little town across from here, but he and Francois were over at the motu somewhere near where we are anchored. We did find his house and Karen, Richard's dear friend who is visiting from San Diego, and met some of the neighborhood kids. We were able to tie up to the public dock only because we said we were looking for Kahai, who seems to be Bora Bora's young hero who won the regional basketball and fishing tournaments for them. 

Today we might move a ways down toward the Southeast end to find other snorkeling, but we hate to leave our new friends on Quixotic, as well as John and Linda on Nakia and Robert and Kelita on Freedom. When we leave to go back to the Bora Bora Yacht Club, we will be saying good-bye to them; they are all heading back to Hawaii for the season. We have so many fond memories with Freedom, and it has been great traveling with them. "See you somewhere down the road" is a common cruising line. We will miss them all. Pass on our love to all. Bye for now, Suzi

Monday, August 23, 2010

Still in Bora Bora

It is Monday and we are still in Bora Bora, enjoying the security of being on the mooring in front of the Bora Bora Yacht Club. The exhaust system on Sidewinder is temporarily fixed with David's expert finesse, most all of the soot has finally been cleaned from everywhere, and our berth finally was ours again last night. 

I was able to slip away yesterday morning and take a wonderful hike with Steve, who is Casey's age, and his dad, Tony, both from England. Steve cuts hair professionally with a flair and has befriended all locals on his way through the Pacific. In exchange for haircuts, he usually is ladened with fresh fruit and special tours, including dives, hikes, and fishing. We have benefitted greatly because we have taxied them often to the docks since they lost their dinghy in a blow a few weeks ago. Our hike took us out of Kees' backyard, up through the jungle to a four wheel drive dirt road and up the ridge, close to the famous mountain of Bora Bora. We were able to look down over the bay where Sidewinder is moored and see beyond over to where we are moving sometime today. 

Last night we enjoyed the ambience of the yacht club run by Jessica (from Newport Beach) and her husband and daughter, both born here. The wind is still gusting, and we do hope to tour the island in the next couple of days as the weather clears. Lots of boats are leaving and heading to Tonga, and we are truly soaking in the last of the French Polynesian friendly warm ways. We will certainly miss the flowers and smiles. 
Love you, Suzi

(This was sent later today. The photo at the bottom is of the Taravana Yacht Club in Tahaa.)
Our first full day in Bora Bora we went to the main grocery store in town and ran into Kehai, Francois, and Keoni, Richard's oldest son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter, whom we met in Tahaa at the Taravana Yacht Club. They walked up to us, gave us hugs and double kisses and once again, we were treated like family, here in Bora Bora. We hope to take the dinghy around the island and visit them at their home, as well as explore all the diving areas Richard designated on our chart. Our experiences on a daily basis make us realize that our travels are more the chance of visiting the world and discovering life in such a new way.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Exhausted by Exhaust Repairs

Yes, I had a shitfit, along with a tantrum, and if I had any LSD I would've eaten it just to escape. But after not having any luck in town getting new parts, I jury rigged it by patching it with JB Weld and a few layers of fiberglass, and after a short trial run it seems to be holding. If it can get us to Fiji (and I think it will?) then I can do a first rate repair there and not have to worry about it again......RIGHT!! 

Right now the Admiral is cleaning the cockpit cushions with soap and letting the rain rinse them. Another boat that left yesterday is on the way back here against the wind and waves after losing their engine as well as their mainsail, using only their headsail and going about 1 knt. So once again, things could be worse. A few of us are waiting for them to get close enough so we can go out in our dingies and help them through the pass, which is not the place you want have engine problems. 

I'm going to send this now (or maybe I should say "try" to send this) so I'm sure Suzi will talk again to you soon. Hope Marc is having fun in Mex. and that he gets some good waves. Are there any hurricanes off Mex. right now? Could make for some good waves, and this is the time of year for it. Wish I was with him instead of playing boat repairman; I am truly getting tired of this part of the game, and someday it will be the reason for us heading home, I'm sure. The rest of it all is awesome, but when you spend more time wrenching instead of playing, it's time to reconsider one's priorities. See ya, David

Friday, August 20, 2010

Bora Bora

We had a good downwind sail to Bora Bora yesterday, although half way there, the wind became light and the waves lumpy, and then the last leg around the coral reef was a flat, fast broad reach looking over to the majestic magical mountain of Bora Bora. As we entered the pass, I noticed black smudge along the cabinets closing off the engine and freaked. I opened the doors and the engine was coated with a layer of oily shit. We cut the engine, investigated and it appeared that the valve cover oil leak had resumed, once again. We started her up again and headed inside the pass for a mooring in front of the funky little yacht club, not too far from the major town. 

Today after a dinghy run around the point into town to check out of French Polynesia, do a store run and check out the marine store, we returned to Sidewinder and began troubleshooting the engine issue. David replaced the gasket, we cleaned the engine as best as we could, cleaned the air filter that was full of gummy watered down deisel exhaust residue, and then tried the engine again, thinking the leaking valve cover was the problem. Lo and behold, David discovered a major leak in the exhaust pipe as well, and now, once again, work on Sidewinder's engine is the focus. David and I are so frustrated and bummed, but David feels it so much more because he is always the one who has to delve into the problem and try to fix it, even though he doesn't feel like he knows what he's doing half the time. Of course, after a major shitfit,  he dove into trying to take the exhaust system apart and was quite successful by the time it was dark. The situation that Marc is facing, though, has taught David that life could be much worse, so.....tomorrow he is off to the parts store with hope that they have what we need. Fixing the problems on a sailboat in exotic places is so often what cruising is about; thank goodness our last few days have included spectacular snorkeling and yucking it up with new friends! Hope all is okay at home. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Fresh Photos

I am anchored in 8 ft. of pristine aqua colored water over sand on the west coast of Tahaa and have found an internet connection which will maybe allow me to send the pics I have had for a week. If that works, I will try to send the ones I just took this morning. The pictures describe the good times we have had with Richard at the Taravana Yacht Club. He originally sailed here with a buddy when he was in his early 20's, and since then he has become internationally known as a bigtime fisherman. His family and friends all welcomed us, and it has been great fun getting to know him. The last of the pictures show our time at the city dock in Raiatea, David working on the roller furler, and a great hike I took with Maureen, Robert and Kelita up to the radio tower, giving us an unbelievable view of the town below and the reef with Tahaa in the distance. It was great fun. Hope these pictures liven up this sometimes very boring blog.  Hope Mony's 90th birthday and Anna's birthday were wonderful successes!  Love to all!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Raiatea to Bora Bora

I received this two days ago and just managed to get it posted. By now Suzi and David should be on their way to Bora Bora, their next destination. They have a camera now, so if the internet cooperates, Suzi will be sending photos soon.  - Kris

It is about 10:30 PM and we just got back from having pizza at the local restaurant with some other cruisers who are also tied to the city dock. It was really good and always interesting chatting with others who are from Australia, Holland, and the US. It was definitely a serious workday, and David was able to measure, think about, and strategically cut what needed to be done for the new roller furler to fit. We will finish the installation in the morning.  I got to shop for goodies in the supermarket, and as you know, that was really fun for me as well.  The day was windy and even a bit chilly at times but I must never think it to be cold. That would be nuts! We hope to be done with it all by noon tomorrow, and there is a river that we can go up just down the east side of Raiatea, a fun thing to do tomorrow afternoon. We shall see what happens as the day unfolds. 

Received this Aug. 18:
We said our good-byes to Richard, a wonderful guy we will miss; as David said this morning after being with him yesterday afternoon and evening,"This guy has more stories to tell than I do!" and we have enjoyed hearing them all.  Sidewinder and Freedom sailed up the west side of Tahaa around noon to an area called the Coral Gardens, dropped anchor in 7 feet of water, and it is beautiful. (S 16 degrees 40' W 151 33') We are just off of a resort called Le Taha'a Private Island and Spa, with rooms built on the water, and there is good snorkeling between the motus. Even though it is very shallow, it was a fun adventure this afternoon weaving in and out of the many varieties of colorful coral and fish who are used to being fed. even seeing some fish I haven't seen before. Unfortunately it is a very touristy area, but we did manage to get quite lost in the maze and had great fun finding our way back. The day was a bright, clear sunny day, and there is absolutely nothing to complain about. We plan to leave here sometime in the morning and sail our way to Bora Bora tomorrow, hoping to spend our last week exploring over there. I have a great internet signal here near the hotel, but for some reason I cannot log into HOTSPOT tonight, so I will try again tomorrow morning before we leave. I know this blog needs pictures to liven it up a bit!  

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Utuvoa, Raiatea

Yesterday was a wonderful afternoon and evening of playing the blues and enjoying a barbecue with Richard and his family, including one of his sons, his wife, and two kids (one, a new babay), his key employees, a dear friend from San Diego, Karen, and the two great people from Germany, Robert and Connie, who have been here more than a year. It was an honor to have been invited to the family affair.

We left for Raiatea this morning after receiving notice that our roller furler and other items had been sent and would be at the Nautisport in Raiatea, and we are conveniently side-tied at the city dock. David picked up our packages and, yippee, we now have a new camera once again, thanks to you!!! We are so thankful. David has unveiled the staysail roller furler, which is larger than our headsail furler, and is trying to make sense of the directions. We will tackle this tomorrow morning, as well as reprovisioning at the Commercial, the supermarket right down the street. Our bikes are out, and we will ride a few blocks into town to have dinner and cruise around a bit. Sorry that I cannot upload any pictures to you yet, but will explore the internet opportunities tomorrow. Thank goodness we have sailmail. -Suzi

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Raging in Tahaa

We thought we would be in Raiatea today, but we have to wait until Friday, so we are still here in Apu Bay, enjoying some quiet time after a raging Tahitian party at the yacht club, with Tahaan kids dancing for us all, good food, drinks, and lots of rock and roll, disco, techno soulful dancing into the night. Richard puts on this party every Tuesday evening, and the price includes a mooring. Since we didn't know about it beforehand, we bounced from mooring to mooring until there were no more, and a German couple who have been here for two years volunteered to have us raft up with them. We are now back on a different mooring since lots of people left today for Bora Bora, and we will stay tonight and maybe tomorrow night, depending on what we hear of our roller furling from Nautisport. We were assured that our camera package is included in the other stuff, and that is good! There is supposed to be some great snorkeling on the west side of Tahaa up near Baie Tapuamu and the motus of Llot Tautau and Ilot Maharare, so we may explore that area tomorrow. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


I'm pretty sure this is the yacht club of which Suzi speaks. - K. 

The wind has subsided and we are now tucked farther inside the bay on a different mooring off of Richard's Taravana Yacht Club. David and I rode our bikes about 15 mi. around part of this lovely bay, through a very beautiful valley, up and over the lush green hill, and down to the little town of Haamene, around the bay and back to Sidewinder. It took us about 2.5 hours and, by the end of it, we were wishing it had been just a tad bit shorter. It was great exercise and a wonderful way to witness the lush land and friendly locals nestled into their beautiful neatly manicured homes covered with flowers. Wow!  It is so calm today, we hope to explore the northwest coast a little and maybe do some snorkeling. There is a Tahitian party tonight at the yacht club so we will take pictures and send them to you.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Huahine Highs

The following pictures tell the story of a fabulous time on the wonderful Society Island of Huahine. The wind has definitely played a roll in curtailing some activites, but for the most part we have had so much fun with good friends, Jodie and Mike from Savannah and Bambi and Geoff from Alexis, and exploring the south west end on our own.

Right out from the first anchorage at Fare, we surfed and were humbled by the reef and wind. When we moved half way down the west coast, we had  some great snorkeling, surfing, exploring in the dinghy, playing horseshoes and bocce ball, and sharing drinks, food, and lots of laughs. David taught Geoff how to play horseshoes and proceeded to be beaten by the beginner, while Bambi, Jodie, and I watched. We then had a great time learning from Siki how to make basket/trays out of palm leaves. After Alexis and Savannah  moved onto Tahaa and Raiatea, Sidewinder  meandered her way to the southwest end of the island, and we anchored her in Avea Bay, where we still are this evening. 

Adventuring out around the south point in Worm (our trusty dinghy), we checked out the surf and then found some fantastic clear, colorful snorkeling. That evening we had a great dinner at the nearby restaurant and vowed to pay attention daily to this amazing life we are blessed to have. The following day, David tried to surf, but the many coral heads deterred him from staying out, while I again found crystal clear water to cruise. We explored the motu, looked for shells on the wonderfully soft sandy beach, and came home to our secure Sidewinder.

Touring around the entire island of Huahine on a motor scooter, we found several archealogical sites called maraes, ancient areas of political, social, and religious importance as well as some ancient fish traps which are still being used today. The island is lush and green, neat villages with exotic plants and flowers everywhere are nestled along the coast and in the valleys, and the people all smile with friendly ease. I am sure there are struggles and problems here too, but it just seems that the slowed down lifestyle really helps everyone feel the gentle flow of life. The people certainly seem to love their island and their own culture, welcoming us to enjoy it all as well.

Yesterday Robert and Kelita showed up on Freedom, and we all snorkeled and enjoyed being together last night. We leave tomorrow morning for Tahaa and will be in Raiatea by Wednesday. What a fantastic life we have. We miss you all and thank you for being with us once again.  Suzi

Heading for Raiatea & Tahaa

The "other package" referred to in this entry is the package containing a camera, sunglasses and refrigerator parts that I mailed in May which arrived in Papeete last week! -K.

We are possibly leaving today for the northwestern end [of Huahine] where Fare is and then we will leave for Raiatea and Tahaa tomorrow. Our roller furling and other package are supposed to be arriving on Tuesday, so we need to be at the marina not too far from the city of Uturoa where the Nautisport is located on Wednesday. We will explore some of Tahaa in the next few days but we are not sure where on that island we are going yet. 

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Counting Our Blessings

While our closest friends fight fear and frustration, we sit on Sidewinder, whose anchor is nestled in sand and aqua crystal clear water; beautifully manicured French Polynesian houses with exquisite gardens line the nearby shoreline, and a fabulous long white sand beach with cocoa palms behind is close at hand. It is a magical day of sunshine and calm, and we do look forward to some fantastic snorkeling and surfing at the south tip of Huahine. It is difficult for me to not feel guilty, as my heart and soul long to be by the side of my very best friend, Kris, and Marc, trying to be as proactive and positive as possible as they figure out how to attack Marc's recently diagnosed cancer. Another dear friend, Paula, is still in California trying to be there for her sister, who is struggling with cancer as well, and her mom, who is also having difficulty. All I can do right now is count my blessings, noting that each moment of my life here on this planet is precious and not forever, and I'd better make the very best of it. My love goes out to all of our blog friends who have been so supportive; when we do get a chance to find an internet connection, it has been so wonderful reading the comments. Thank you so much for being with us on our journey, and we hope that all is well in your lives. Happy 90th Birthday to Mony, Happy 14th Birthday to Anna, and major love and support to Willie and my sister, Jane.  What I miss most are my family and friends; it is the people in one's life that make it so worthwhile. 
Love to all, Suzi