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Showing posts from April, 2022

Tropical Rain & Mariah Carey

We hadn't had a tropical rain shower since our airport coffee in Raiatea on our first day, but rain was in the forecast today. After breakfast, Suzi and I had to get departure covid tests in Vaitape, the main town on the island. Ben dropped us in the dinghy to Pharmacie Lafayette and then Ben and Liam moved the boat to a new mooring buoy beside Bora Bora Yacht Club. Our dinner spot for that evening. The rain started just as Liam and Ben left the boat to join us for lunch and exploration. When it rains here, it pours. We jumped from shop to shop to avoid the warm rain. At 1230 we stopped for lunch, the rain began to ease so we walked along the shorefront road to Saint James restaurant. We had a long lunch under cover. All the fish was fresh from Bora Bora. All the meat was flown from Paris. Conversation focused on air miles and mostly fish was ordered. The rain continued after lunch, Ben went and got the dinghy, Liam checked out a fuel dock nearby, and Suzi and I held our seafront

Bora Bora & The Bloody Mary Bar (Wednesday 20th April)

After breakfast, the first activity of the day was lifting the anchors which went without a hitch. As we lifted the main anchor, a manta ray glided past us in 8 metre deep crystal clear water. It moved effortlessly. A special sight. A sea turtle was spotted when we dropped anchor two days previous so I took these sightings as a marine hello and a goodbye from Taha'a! Anchors up, we motored down the atoll towards the Passe Paipai, one of the main passageways back out to open ocean. For us Irish sailors, the landscape is very novel. The deep cut out into the ocean is 200 metres wide and has reef awash either side with a constant rolling swell and strong current through the pass. There are also coconuts floating in the water throughout French Polynesia but they are concentrated where the current is stronger. Once through the pass the depth drops to 500 metres and very quickly to well over 1000m. The passage to Bora Bora was three hours. We had no wind and a large swell which made

Bad Neighbours (Tuesday 19th April)

Smugly, we all woke again at dawn to make the most of the daylight hours of 6-6. It had nothing to do with persistent jetlag, we're just the go-getter types. Liam used the morning to bake fresh bread, Suzi read, and Ben and I went for a cycle on Taha'a and checked out a rum distillery for a potential visit. The gentle flat cycle I was promised resulted in a 42km loop of Taha'a with a steep climb at the end in the midday sun. Thank you Ben. On return to Ruth II, our beautiful hard won anchorage had become swarmed with an influx of "Spring Breakers", bumper car US and AUZ charter catamarans with 10 college students on each. Music pounding & booze flowing, we had a dilemma - Do we stay or do we go? After initial hostility with the proximity of our new neighbours to our anchor lines, we made some friendly enquiries and learned the flotilla of 10 boats would be leaving together at 5pm. Phew. Repeat anchoring PTSD subsided as we sipped our gin & tonics at 5.01.

Coral Gardens - Ilot Motu

The scenery is painted out in front of you in this remote part of the world. Deep sky blue against aqua and azure ocean, the constant crashing of white topped waves onto protective reef, lush green rainforest against a haze of humidity and tropical warmth. Paradise. We were drinking in the views as we woke early (assisted by jetlag) to watch sunrise. We have all slipped so easily into Liam and Ruth's round the world adventure. After breakfast we headed for the pearl farm pontoon and were greeted by Monique who brought us through the process of growing beautiful Tahitian pearls. Monique's daughter then explained the pearl grading process and how they drill the pearls and make jewellery. Another family affair, just like our dinner the evening before. After our trip, we whizzed back to the boat, dropped the mooring and headed for the coral gardens reef on the ilot motu, a short sail away. Anchoring in French Polynesia takes some practice. The ocean here is either very deep (too

Tahitian Fire Tribute

As we descended into Raiatea, Ruth II appeared in the atoll from the plane window and the long trip from Ireland was quickly forgotten. Ben & Liam welcomed us airside and we had a catch up in the local airport coffee shop as a tropical rain shower passed over. Pick up was by dinghy from the airport pontoon (of course!), so when the warm rain stopped, Liam and Ben whisked us across the bay to Ruth II. She was gleaming on the horizon. Wasting no time, we got straight into our togs and with snorkels in hand headed for the coral reef. We saw our first coral bommies, amazing clownfish and had our first experience of the warm tropical waters. Back to the boat for our Easter Sunday lunch and then our first sail to the neighbouring Taha'a Island. It was a short, but highly technical sail, navigating the inner shared atoll of Raiatea and Taha'a. We picked up a visitor mooring in Apu Bay. After completing some load testing making sure all 40 tonnes were adequately fixed, we tied off.

Time To Say Goodbye

"How lucky I am to have had  something that makes saying goodbye so difficult ?  I'm not going to cry because it's over. I'm going to smile because it happened . Thank you Ruth 2 you brought me to the end of the rainbow and made my dreams a wonderful reality.  Farewell  Ruth 2 .I'll miss you. Mary Out. Sent from my iPhone

Do you believe in magic?

 Do you believe in magic? I do ….. now. Some say " I've died and gone to heaven".  I say , I'm so ,so alive and in heaven. I'm struggling to write anything as words will never really capture how magical this atoll is.  This has to be the sweet spot of life for those of us that love the sea, love people and love wildlife. It's has to be rare to have it all so peacefully so magnificently in one out of the way place. On the seamanship side of things Getting into here was a two pairs of underpants wild ride. Our 40 tonne boat was like a canoe in a rapid.  Because Liam had put so much research into how to get in safely we could relax and enjoy as the boat headed for the Niagara falls!!! We were treated big time when a dolphin jumped clear out of the water in front of us distracting us beautifully from the fact that if the engine went so would we! Once in and the water calm the amazement started and is yet to stop. Everywhere you look is so so gorgeous and the peop

Back On Board

After endless flights and layovers, I finally re-joined the boat in Nuku Hiva. The Pacific team did an amazing job, arriving at the front end of the fleet. Well done James, Mary , Andrew, Linda and John. Nuku Hiva is the administrative capital of the Marquesas Islands, with a few shops and one hotel. The place itself is grand as they say - best positioned at the end of a long crossing for that "land - Ho" moment, with more than touches of Banagher-Sur-Mer. They have pizza. The anchorage itself was uncomfortable as well, so we decided to get going for the Tuamotos - a series of atolls and lagoons si hindred and thirty nautical miles or two thirds of the way to Tahiti proper. Fuelling up was difficult and very tricky - we had to hold the boat off the quay in a big swell, all 40 tons of her snapping in and out . John dinghied the hose out to the boat, and once all the queue barging by the locals was fully exhausted, we filled up. Not easy. Early the next morning, after warm go

The one with the fish..

Day6 18th March 2022 Another rough, wet night. A full moon was straining through the clouds between the showers. Even though it was not visible most of the time, it's glow kept the usual equatorial darkness at bay. A blue footed boobie landed on the biminy the evening before. Utterly unconcerned and unperturbed by us, he gamely held on all night through a very rolly sea and some heavy squalls. He should consider taking up surfing. He'd be good! The bread maker was cranked up for the first time today. Mary made a delicious sourdough bread, with helpful instruction from James. It was quickly devoured, so she baked another. Unless we run out of food, we're all going to arrive in the Marquesas considerably larger than we were at the start of the trip. Not long after dispatching the sourdough, it was time for the next meal. The avocados were getting a little ropey, so the theme for dinner was Mexican. Some mahi mahi was found in the fridge, which was just as well, as we had had