Well gang – it’s Halloween. I hope your costumes are great, that you get lots of candy or whatever you prefer, and that someone gives you a good friendly fright. We plan to head back out onto the S Pacific seas today, but first a little recap of the last few days:
Friday morning it looked as if the worst of the front had blown through, so we dropped the mooring at the BBYC after breakfast and started motoring around the lagoon for a little sightseeing…
First we we went north and then east around the point, venturing into Faanui Bay, and past the Fare Piti Quay. A local transport ship had just come in and so the process of unloading cargo and small half-containers was underway… The miscellaneous cargo is placed on smaller flat-bottom boats with outboard engines, and from there these smaller barges make their way to the outer Motus, or islands, that make up the part of the protective ring around Bora Bora. The motus are also where a good percentage of the famous bunglaow hotels are located – Sofitel, Intercontinental, Le Meridien, Hilton, etc. Other than that, the bay is quiet, quite empty and only a ‘good’ anchorage if you carry lots and lots of chain – it’s mostly 25 to 30 meters deep throughout.
Then we continued north up to check out some of the other motus – both Tevairoa (Teveiroa) and Mute, where the airport is located. The sandbars and reefs in this area are quite extensive, creating gigantic stretches of shallow water, the ones that make up the delightful scenes you’re used to seeing when you take in a photo of Bora Bora. The airport on Mute was busy, as it probably has been for many many years now. Today it handles the endless stream of tourist, honeymooners and the like, on their way to the hotels – but originally, the airstrip was built by the US military as part of the Pacific Theater war effort. It took 4 months to build and the airstrip was opened in April 1943. The first soldiers and marines arrived here as part of Operation Bob Cat, with an armada of ships that had sailed from Charleston, SC, and arrived here in February 1942.
Me & Tevairoa Motu
Mute Motu and airport…
Motus & Bungalows: that’s Bora Bora.
Next we did a 180 and headed south, this time in the direction of Matira, on the south point of the island of Bora Bora, and nearby Motu, Topua. We went all the way to the point where the now defunct Hotel Bora Bora sits, and thought very seriously about trying to make it through the pass. Further south, and for those that brave the pass, there is an absolutely delightful anchorage off the beaches of Matira. The guidebooks say it’s tricky but worth it – however at the time we were there looking at it, the cloud cover was making visibility difficult, and there was 50 meter stretch or so of shallow water and coral heads… Through which I could not see a clear path, however easy or difficult. We decided not to risk it, not with poor visibility anyway, and turned back. Lucky for us, there are mooring balls just around the corner at the entrance of Povai Bay… So we grabbed one!
Some of the Bungalows of the Hotel Bora Bora. I think this place had it’s heyday back in the 80’s, perhaps earlier. Likely it was one of the first like it in Bora Bora and certainly was “the place” at some point… now it’s abbandoned. Sad really. Just like the Club Med on Moorea… old buidlings and ghosts.
The moorings actually belong to Bloody Mary’s the famous restaurant. They’ve got probably four or five moorings here, and a wonderful dock for very easy dinghy access. The trick of course is that you should (they never said we had to) eat there during your stay on their moorings. That was fine with us – the water is again too deep to try anchoring with any real confidence, and the northerly system was still blowing through with 15 knots and more, and the occasional rain shower.
Mooring area of Bloody Mary’s in the distance: charter boat on the left, pier with grass roof awning on the pier, right.
It was still early, so Lara and I dinghied over to the excellent pier at Bloody Mary’s, made a dinner reservation, and then simply walked down around the peninsula to the Matira area.
Leaving Bloody Mary’s, with pier right in front and Walk On as close as you can get to the pier. Convenient!
What a delightful place. The cloud cover, more or less without rain, made it difficult to fully appreciate the visual spectacle, but the calm and generally peace of the whole setting told you, every so quietly, that this indeed was a real jewel of a spot, almost a secret in the middle of the big blue Pacific. The beach is very pleasant and the water placid and clear. The anchorage is something of a large swimming pool really, with the beach on the northern side and sandbar and reefs on the south (and pretty much every other direction). The breeze comes through, but natural barriers keep the place almost totally devoid of any kind of waves, even wavelets. There are about a half a dozen boats here – many appear to be on homemade moorings – and it’s not apparently a cruising fleet. There are no charter boats and the boats that are here don’t appear to be going anywhere, anytime soon. Later I would see some up close and in fact most of them are registered in Tahiti…
Lara doesn’t even attempt to hide her disappointment about the weather as we walk down Matira Beach. 🙂
My favorite pouter.
The road is lined with quaint little houses, a few simple ‘snack bar’ type restaurants and an abunance of flora – fruit trees and coconut palms and hibiscus of I don’t know how many different colors. Every house seems to have at least 2 dogs – but apparently there aren’t many strays. The dog population here, as it was on Huahine and Moorea, is thriving, but it would seem that the locals take them all in to one degree or another. We swam and relaxed and read and talked about how much better it would be when the sun was out… We’d have to wait another day for that.
In cloudy weather, use black and white. After all, it could be worse.
A picture for Bruno & Bia – they’d just come from here (at least I think this is where they styaed) when they made the surprise visit to the Marina Taina in Tahiti…
Dinner at Bloody Mary’s was good, though not excellent and certainly not worth the steep prices – but the atmosphere was charming and the bloody mary’s extremely tasty. Seems that they get all the honeymooners at some point, and we saw countless young couples with shiny rings.
Saturday was the day though. We did the same program all over again – except this time the sun was shining! Actually, we dinhied around the point by the Hotel Bora Bora and explored by boat for a while. After going through by dinghy, I still couldn’t see how I would have been able to get Walk On into that special anchorage, I mean without bumping head with some resident coral. The secret will remain hidden from me for now, until we can sail back here again one day with even more time on our hands.
We swam again, lunched at the charming “Snack Matira” (a place for locals), and then rented a couple of cruiser bicycles to explore further around to the south and east. On the east side of the island, we got good views of the other Motus, an endless stretch of sandbars, reefs, bungalow hotels (they’re nearly crowding one another now), and the islands of Tahaa an Raiatea in the distance. It’s a pretty place, no doubt about it. We got armed with the polarizing lens filter and tried to take some decent pics to share with you. Here ya go, hope you enjoy:
Well, that’s it. Time to start getting the boat ready for the beat back to Tahiti. Maybe we’ll stop in Raiatea today. Maybe not. We’ll see.
Happy Halloween everyone!!!!