Our sail across from Raiatea to Bora Bora was once again a nice quick sail. On the way into Bora Bora we wanted to drop off at the site of the shark dive about 1nm south of the entrance. The swell was rolling around the point and we thought we wouldn’t be able to jump in, but as we got closer, that section of the reef seemed to have very little wind chop and not much swell either. We decided we would just snorkel the site rather than dive it as both Annika and I were suffering from infections to open wounds. It was best to stay dry for as long as possible. So as we pulled up, the Haak family got ready for a snorkel with sharks.
There was one other local boat out running a family from one of the resorts. It was a family with kids slightly older than Irma and Melker. So it was funny to watch them jump in the water and jump out like the water was on fire. Irma and Melker however jumped straight in and swam straight up to the sharks. The current kept ripping them away from the site but they kept swimming back up stream and once they had enough, they swam back to the boat. You could see they were happy once again. Not many people from Sweden will ever see a shark, let alone swim with them like the Haak family have, now on three different occasions.
We cruised into the Maikai Yacht Club as we needed to get to the shops to top up on some greens. We picked up one of the moorings there. They say there are 25 moorings but we couldn’t count more than 5 and they only had plastic bottles tied to them. We cruised in and went for the short walk to the shops. We were going to continue right into town but it was pretty hot and so stopped at the shops and then went back to the club for a drink. After the drink we went back out to the boat and cruised down to the south end of the island chain once again, anchoring to the south east of Toopua Island. Our aim was to dive with the eagle rays in the morning.
Morning came and once again we were surrounded with trash. Sitting on the edge of the current that runs out around the south end of Toopua, we seemed to be in a spot where all the rubbish collects. I guess it is kind of like this with the garbage patches in our 5 major oceans, the rubbish all collects in one spot as the currents drive everything there. In amongst the trash were thongs, bottles, hats, a piece of matting, bottle caps and more. It was disgusting and even Melker, our super keen swimmer, didn’t want to jump in the water, and that’s saying something.
I took Annika, Maja and Joakim to the dive mooring in the tender and only just made it through the rubbish with stuff entangling the prop as we motored through it. They went for their dive and unfortunately they didn’t see any rays, but loved the contours of the dive. They came up happy anyway. Back on the surface and we decided we needed to get away from the trash so we went and picked up a mooring at the MaiKai marina only to find out they were closed for a party. So we opted to head to the Bora Bora Yacht Club instead and had a delicious lunch. Definitely go with the angus beef, it is sensational. After lunch we cruised around to the east side, via the northern end. We passed the airport and were going to go and anchor under the east shore but when you come around the corner and see wall to wall bures lining the beach, you change your mind. It really is a sight to see so many bures. We opted to stay in the middle of the lagoon amongst the reef.
Whilst we are not meant to go snorkeling over on the east side as private yachts aren’t allowed to snorkel due to the decrease in manta rays, we ‘accidentally fell in the water with our snorkel gear on!!!!’ However there was nothing to see. Visibility was poor and definitely no manta rays. At night the east shore looked like a city with all the bures lights on. Not what you envisage when you think of Bora Bora. The whole ban on yachts snorkeling with manta rays is a joke. They believe the decline in manta ray numbers is due to us yachties. We couldn’t believe the number of jetski’s and power boats cruising the lagoon and I’m pretty sure it isn’t us that has caused them to leave the lagoon.
The following day and it was off to the airport early to drop off the family. Annika took them into the airport in the dinghy and said her farewells whilst I stayed with the boat as it was in the transit area for all the ferries. After the farewells we cruised back to the Bora Bora Yacht Club and met up with Justin off Antares 2 and Simon and Judy on Sigitta again. After drinks on the boat, we had dinner at the club. The next day we were due to check out of French Polynesia. Being Easter Sunday we didn’t even know if they would be open and as we walked into town from the MaiKai Yacht Club, we passed many people all dressed in their Sunday best heading to church. Every church was full. Nothing was open except the Gendarmarie where we had to check out. We walked in and were asked to come back 45 minutes later when the guy who does the clearances was back.
In order to check out of French Polynesia you have to advise Tahiti in writing 48 hours prior to leaving Tahiti/Moorea waters. So you kind of have to guess how long it will take before you want to clear out. Then hope the weather is right. They then send you a certificate of clearance. Well we hadn’t got a response until a few days prior and they never sent us our certificate, they sent it straight to Bora Bora Gendarmarie. When we got there, it was a little confusing but they found it. The guy checking us out recognized my birthday and it just happened to be his too, so that lightened things up a bit. His name was Yann so a similar first name too. Once checked out, we had 24 hours to leave French Polynesian waters. We wanted to visit a little island called Maupiti on the way out but that night we just anchored off a little island next to the entrance on the south side.
We went for a stroll around it and found it to be a party island where everyone went for the day to relax. Lots of young groups were spread out across the island. It was nice to see locals enjoying their paradise. The following morning we would set off for Maupiti early.
Bora Bora was a bit of a letdown for us. It has signs of how nice it would have once been but the over development of the island really has destroyed the pristine nature it should be. The amount of debris floating around the lagoon after rains was horrible and a sign that something needs to be done about this real issue of plastic. It’s not enough to try and burn/recycle it. If it is created then it is an issue. With every piece of plastic ever created still existing in some form, we need to find alternatives, and fast, before we destroy every piece of paradise left.
Please, if you are reading our blogs and enjoying them, make a change in your lives and buy less plastic. Choose products in eco friendly packaging. The more people that do this, the sooner the big corporations will get the message that they need to change. As we always say, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
In our next edition we sail to Maupiti for a short stopover.
Ocean Crusaders are out to change the way people treat our oceans. Our online education program is free to download at www.OceanCrusaders.org/education where children can learn of the issues our oceans are facing and how they can make a difference. The Plastic in the Pacific Crusade is about educating the South Pacific Islands, finding out what is happening in these islands and updating our programs.
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