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Boys on tour!

Eventually getting around to reporting in after a two week tour of duty on Bora Bora. The first week was with Liam, Kevin, Donal and James. You may have noticed the absence of any females from that list. The second was with Liz, and again skipper James. 
That first week passed in a blur, and I can honestly say it was activity, rather than jet lag or alcohol induced. Well, kind of anyway. Liam had spent the previous ten days here checking out every anchorage, mooring, restaurant, dive centre, beach, coral garden that the islands of Bora Bora, Ta'haa and Raiatea have to offer. And so, the first day began with a routine trip to three snorkelling spots, initially on a Coral reef, then moving to a black tip shark dive , then a place with sting rays. For the three of us just off a 30 hour flight, it was pretty surreal.
It got more surreal at dinner at Lucky House that evening where we were somewhat intrigued by the cailĂ­n/ buachaill who looked after us. Still a mystery, having been back again since. 

Despite thinking we three were going to Tahiti for a sailing holiday, when Liam discovered we could all dive, plans changed, and we probably spent more of the week under the water than on it. The diving was pretty spectacular, as we dived with some of the strangest animals you will ever see, incl sting rays, eagle rays, manta rays and the usual smattering of sharks, all vegetarian we were assured. We also dived on a wreck, which for all of us was a bit weird, but great to have done it. It was entirely safe, until Mr Health & Safety himself decided we should all pose for an underwater selfie, and in arranging us all for the photo shoot, yanked the regulator out of James' mouth, 20m down. Thankfully the unflappable James took it in his stride, didn't respond as anyone else might, but did look somewhat perplexed as his skipper clearly tried to take him out. Lesson learned, choose your diving buddies, whatever about your skipper, very carefully.
That evening, the impact that Mr. Liiam was having on the island of Bora Bora began to become apparent. It transpired we were guests of honour at the Bora Bora Yacht Club for the qualifying heat for Miss Bora Bora 2022. At the top table, seated amongst family and friends, Mr Liiam was in his element. The rest of us suitably mortified. Things began to get tricky when Mr. Liiam began to make his move on an older lady, clearly of good breeding stock, as she claimed to be the aunt of no less than six former Miss Bora Bora's. A timely tropical dump of rain cooled his ardour, and in exchange for her wonderful head-dress she graciously accepted Ruth II caps and tee shirts. A very special night, that will last long in the memory. We can't quite remember the result of the Miss BB qualifier,  but it was more like a Polynesian Rose of Tralee than what you might have imagined. And Mr Liiam has been invited back to judge the final, where there will be a special Ruth II caps and tee shirts parade.
To be fair, we did do some sailing as well. Hard to imagine more spectacular cruising grounds, anchoring in what was once an active volcano and navigating through gaps in coral reefs to enter the turquoise lagoons that surrounded every island. With gentle breezes and air temperatures the same as water temperatures at about 28 degrees, you begin to wonder why anyone bothers to do this at home. 
One of the nicest things we did was to snorkel on the coral garden on Ta'haa. You anchor inside the lagoon, walk across an island to the outside of the lagoon, and jump in with snorkel and mask. The flow of water is like a lazy river that gently takes you over a coral garden with the most exquisite fish life. Kevin managed to miss the channel and ended up beaching on the coral a few times, as he went up a few cul de sacs before having to turn back against the flow. We assured him that the likelihood of coral regenerating in his wounds was slim, specially in an Irish climate. We did it again the following day and it was just  as good.
Activities continued ashore, where we did a hike with a guide up the side of one of the islands volcanoes. We left Liam and James behind to refuel ( recover?) and headed off with a guide, climbing hard up through a jungle in intense heat, eventually reaching the third of three waterfalls where we swam, in water temperature that we are more used to. Our guide, Yoram, was a pretty cool guy, or else a complete Walter Mitty. He started out life as a dancer and has done everything in between since, from running dive shops and building his own native canoe with outrigger to documenting and teaching how the Polynesians used the stars to navigate. He sailed from Hawaii to BB , apparently, using only the stars to navigate, not even a sextant. We suggested bringing him on board and getting Liam to switch off the electronics, for the laugh, but that idea didn't really get much traction.
Special mention to James who, despite the attempted crewicide, was extraordinarily tolerant of the four paddies on tour, answered all of our stupid questions and generously shared his huge knowledge of all things nautical. And great too to meet a vegan who is mad keen to catch and kill fish!
The only blight on the week was on our last night together when we stayed up late to watch Munster Toulouse on a delayed stream that James had found. Having said that, we all appreciated how weird it was to be sitting on a boat on the other side of the world watching a rugby match. Very strange indeed.
Liam left us on the Friday, trusting James to look after both us and the boat.  We were tempted to invite Yoram on board and call his bluff with the instruments turned off, but thankfully the responsible adult amongst us called rank. Donal and Kevin headed off on Sunday to stay in their honeymoon suite in Tahiti, for an early departure on Monday morning. Sadly they discovered their honeymoon suite was in use, by real honeymooners presumably,  so they had to hunker down in the airport for the night. Very cosy indeed.
It's hard to do justice in a blog like this to Mr. Liiam's amazing generosity and the thought and effort  he put in to organising every hour of our week together. We saw this part of the world at its very best, and in the comfort of Ruth II, thanks to him. It was a special week together.  And whatever about the Miss Bora Bora competition,  we would definitely have won Bora Bora's Funnest Family for the week we had.

I will do a more sedate blog later on covering the week Liz and I have had here since the Fun Family left. Or perhaps not.....



  1. Great blog- was great to hear from the boat.


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