Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Bora Bora

This was originally intended as a short portrait of Bora Bora when we thought we wouldn't be able to post any photos. It took on a life of it's own so I split it off into a separate post and set it to load a couple of days later to spread the reading.

PPS – We’ve been trying to post this for 2 weeks now and haven’t found enough signal to make it happen. I had prepped a bunch of photos to include (made them smaller so they wouldn’t take too long to load, etc.-all the usual prep for posting), but it’s looking like we may have to share them later. At this point I’m kicking myself for not signing up for the email posting option that Keith showed me in Ua Pou (thank you Keith!) since now I can’t even get to the sign in page on the blog, but at the time we were too busy writing and skyping mom and grandma and uncle Roy to think about the blog.

 It’s looking like if we do get this posted it will be from an HTML email, so will try to paint you a bit of a picture in words of Bora Bora. We are anchored in about 100 feet of water just off the main town with a stunning view of the lagoon. In the distance, on a clear day, we can see the hills of Maupiti on the horizon to the west and just the tips of the waves crashing on the reef on the south side of the lagoon.  The water goes through many changes of color depending on the weather and time of day. You could fill an entire book with the variations of blue… aquamarine, turquoise, cobalt, sea glass… they range from almost green to cobalt tinged with purple.

On a good morning I (Jodi) have slept in til 6:30-7 or so and wake to the roosters who have been crowing for hours already. Actually, even when I wake at 2 or 3 in the morning they are crowing already! The first rays of the sun reflect off the tip of the mast of the super yacht docked at the Mai Kai Yacht Club (Tahitian for ‘the finest’ or Hawaiian for ‘towards the ocean’ or ‘good, welcoming ocean’ depending on who you ask). As they continue to tip the teeter totter whose pivot point is balanced on the tip of Mt Otemanu, they spill down the western side to spot light the entrance markers at Passe Teavanui and then the pale sands of Motu Tapu. Next comes the smaller sail boats moored in front of the Mai Kai and finally, the silver and red roofs of Vaitape.

Lifts for the fishing and excursion boats line the shore and they are hand operated with big metal wheels that are turned to raise the boat sling. There is some kind of parrot in one of the houses that you can tell has been raised here as it screeches in exactly the same tone (song) as the boat lifts!
All. Day. Long.

If it was sunny enough to make power the day before I will try pulling out the computer to check emails and try again to get on the blog and Facebook.  If it’s sunny out I might get to load the regular version of gmail to see your emails as you sent them. Otherwise, it’s an attempt at the HTML version. I save any emails received to share with Darren and by then the alarm is going off for the Poly Mag Net which gets Darren stirring.

The Polynesian Magellan Net is a cruiser net on the SSB/Ham radio at 19:30 UTC on 8173.0, it starts with a call for any emergency traffic then gives everyone a chance to check in with their positions, give info on anchorages, etc., get a daily weather forecast and chat afterwards. Think of it as a party line telephone on a schedule!
There is also a split group that are doing a new net on 8137.0 at 20:30 UTC for the people going west to Tonga, New Zealand, etc. . We usually listen to the first one (unless we’re going in to town early, or don’t have much power, or just feeling like a quiet morning, or…) and check in when we are underway or newly arrived somewhere if we are getting good reception. We aren’t sure what we will get once we head for Christmas as most of the boats are either staying here or going further west, but we’ll try to check in to one of the nets if we can hear them.

By the time the net is over it is 8:30-9 (usually depending on who is running the net that day!) and Darren has been sufficiently roused to get up and make hot water for tea or coffee. HOT water you say? Yes, it is the middle of winter here you know ;-) … I am using the fleece snowboarding blanket mom made me a good portion of each night and we even wore coats one night in Raiatea a couple of weeks ago! Darren got out his puffy vest for the occasion, Joe would be so proud.

Where were we? Oh yes, tea and a couple of bananas with rice and maybe papaya for breakfast. Or an egg sandwich if there is baguette left from the night before. Or if Darren is feeling especially awake and has rowed in for a fresh one. At only 53 cents each, we get one almost every day, it’s a nice break from our usual rice three meals a day. We are also enjoying the fresh local bananas, starfruit, lettuce, eggs, etc while we can. Rumor has it the eggs are $14 dollars a dozen on Christmas!!!

If we go into town we might stop into a few shops to look at the pretty things and chat with the locals. On our first day here we went into a pearl shop to look and ended up chatting with the ladies who gave us the name and number of a really good local tattoo artist. One of the ladies also had a scar on her foot that she had covered with a pretty ray tattoo. (Which reminds me, we haven’t shared the story of my scar, we’ll have to do that another time.). Later that day we met another woman (at another pearl shop) who had a 15 year old tattoo from the same guy and it looked so fresh it was as if it had just been done last month! Anyhow, don’t worry moms, I think we’re going to take a pass on the tattoos for now.

Most of the people in the shops here are VERY friendly, but as usual, we have our favorites. In the order we first saw them, don’t miss the ladies at Sibani Pearls, the Melanies at Tahiti Pearl Market, Hinanui at Albert Pearls and the crews of The Black Pearl Lounge/Bora Bora Originals and Deep Sea Pearl. In addition to the wonderful people, there were pretty things that really wanted to go home with us at all of those places. Our bank account said no to most of them but it was fun to look. There was also art we drooled over and wanted to take home at Bora Art, Bora Home Galerie and the local Artinisat (the coop of local artists you see on each island).

There are two supermarkets but no central vegetable market here, so we might also walk the length of town to check out the tables of fruit and veg and pick up some bananas or papayas or on a quest for the little pineapple mangoes that we are in love with. They are in the midst of doing road construction so it's a very dusty couple of kilometers that leaves us caked in mud. It’s not very far, but can take a while if we get to talking! We are reminded of some of the drier Mexican and central American towns more so than the immaculate streets and gardens of the Marquesas.

Speaking of supermarkets, these are the last big ones we expect to see for a while, so the provisioning that started in Papeete and Raiatea has continued here as we pick up ‘one more’ bag of milk powder, can of butter, coconut milk or slice of pate or cheese.

Back at the boat, some of the things you might find us doing recently are laundry, making sauerkraut, kimchee or sourdough banana muffins, reading some of the great cookbooks we just got for inspiration (THANK YOU Wairua!), looking up something in French, Tahitian or Marquesan. Outside, we might be fixing the windvane, servicing a winch, diving to scrape the prop, tightening all the screws in the dinghy, or making a new hanger for the disco ball to replace the one that broke!
Or you might catch us spending the afternoon catching up with a friend we haven’t seen in a couple of months and is leaving tomorrow for New Zealand so we don’t know when we’ll see him again.

If you had dropped in a couple of mornings ago, you would have found Jodi full on sobbing with tears rolling down her face, unable to wipe them away because her hands were covered in bananas for the sourdough muffins. All that because Darren was playing a Bearfoot Bluegrass album with the song ‘Back Home’.

“So don’t worry, you’re always on my mind,
And I’ll carry you with me wherever I roam.
When the pains of my heart tell me it’s time,
Well I know, I’ll be on my way back home.
…family took up so much space in my heart…
…miles and miles apart…”

And here’s where the dam completely burst -

“…But I love you mama,
And you’ll always be home to me…”

Tissues anyone?

Should you be listening to the same album, beware of the shuffle button. That morning it followed ‘Back Home’ with ‘Good Morning Country Rain’.

“Good morning country rain,
It’s good to be back home again…”

You guessed it. More tears, as I was transported back to Montana.

Late afternoons/early evenings might find us enjoying the ‘magic hour’ of glow on Mt Otemanu that makes the trees come alive with greens and golds and glowing orange. Or in a cockpit visiting with friends new and old, watching the sun set behind the boats moored at the Mai Kai as the va’a (outrigger canoe) guys paddle by.

If you have enjoyed this peek into our lives half as much as we treasure the pieces of yours you share in your emails, then it was worth the wait for wifi.

Love and hugs,
Jodi and Darren

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