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An easy sail from Taha’a led us to Bora Bora. It’s exciting to be in a place known worldwide for its beauty, romantic, and exoticism. And it did not disappoint. Bora Bora has some amazing anchorages, definitely in the top 10 of French Polynesia.
To’opua 1 Anchorage
We started by entering the only pass and turning south, headed down the west side of the island called To’opua. The channel had shallow areas on either side, where many boats were anchored, but we kept going into a large deeper area. We anchored in 30 feet of water.
Motu Ahuna Anchorage
July 14th we upped anchor to move hopefully towards town. We motorized around the Mai Kai mooring field and couldn’t find a free mooring, and weren’t pleased with our anchoring options, so we headed back out to the lagoon and anchored just north of the pass behind Motu Ahuna. We were on a shallow sandbank, and were perfectly comfortable, although we did get waked quite a bit. That night, we watched to fireworks show that was put on for Bastille Day.
We took a project day the next day, with David polishing all of our stainless steel and washing the boat, while I finally cleaned out the starboard bilge. Hopefully, now that David fixed the thru-hull leak we won’t have any more salt water coming into the bilge and it’ll stay dry (and clean).
Both nights at Ahuna we called it quits at about 4:30, showered, and watched the sun set from the lounge deck.
Motu Piti A’au Anchorage
For our next anchorage, we departed to head over Bora Bora and to the southeast side of the island, to a large anchorage behind Motu Piti A’au. This was our favorite anchorage in Bora Bora.
I’m ashamed to admit it, but our favorite part about this spot was the free and fast wifi. I lost David to the world of YouTube since streaming videos is something we rarely get to do. I’ve texted with many friends and family and we even got to call our parents. We are (sadly) up to date in American politics too.
Of course, we’ve made friends. When we arrived, we anchored next to a Lipari named K1w1 Beans (guess where they are from). KB has THREE boys aboard, between the ages of 6-9, making their mother, Sara, a homeschooling saint. We’ve also had cocktails with Ritme, a boat we met in Taha’a. Jordy single hands the boat, but has his crew member, Julia, with him right now. They are both about or age and it’s amazing that they’ve been living on the boat together for several months without having known each other before.
Upon leaving the SE corner of Bora Bora, we headed north, choosing to take a different route than the way we came down. Travel on the east side of Bora Bora can be tricky. A marked channel runs along the west of the water. We took that on the way down….and even made the mistake of taking one channel marker on the wrong side. Thankfully our depth sounder got no lower than 6 feet. On the way north, we took the east pass, which is unmarked, shallow, and sandy. Our depth sounder often read between 7-12 feet through this area. The tricky part is transversing east/west…you need to find a break in the reef.
We dropped anchor in 10 feet between the St Regis Resort and the Le Meridien Bora Bora. The water was again, very clear and the view of Bora Bora was spectacular.
Mai Kai Yacht Club Moorings
Packing up, we headed to the Mai Kai Yacht Club to pick up a mooring ball. If one wants to hang around town, there really aren’t good places to anchor, so a mooring ball is a must. It’s also quite social – everyone is gathering here to clear out and wait for the weather to head west. I went to shore to take care of trash and do some grocery shopping. During my morning run on Wednesday I spotted several locals with tables on the side of the road selling produce, so I bought papayas, pamplemousse, and bananas. I also filled up on gasoline for our dingy. That night, we had the crew of K1w1 Beans, Blowin Bubbles, Margansie and Miss Catana over for drinks.
Thursday I went over to Blowin Bubbles to listen to the morning SSB net. The SSB seems to be a much better way to keep in touch with other boats compared to via sat phone email. The SSB covers such a broad area, so boats can check in all over the South Pacific. It’s something we are considering adding on once we get to New Zealand.
When K1w1 Beans took off Friday, they gave us a gift – they had two tanks left on the dive package they bought! That, in combination with the weather passage forecast, made it an easy decision to stay longer in Bora Bora.
Instead of staying at the yacht club at $10/night (which is actually pretty cheap) we moved back to the anchorage just to the south of the pass, joining our friends Margansie. Later that week Elayna and Riley on La Vagabond anchored nearby.
At night we turned on our underwater lights, hoping to attract eagle rays. It didn’t work, but we did attract many stingrays! Sunday night a friend of Margansie’s, Ray, on S/V Lionheart, came into the anchorage and the three of them came over to watch the stingrays in our lights. While we sat in the transom chatting Simon accidentally knocked his reading glasses into the water. David was a sport and climbed in with the stingrays with his snorkel gear and the underwater dive light and retrieved the glasses!
Tuesday was flat calm. No wind, no current. We spent most of the day sitting right over our anchor. I turned the underwater lights on again, hoping to see more stingrays. We didn’t see any, but we stood in the coach roof and alternated between looking down in the water, which was so calm it was like we were sitting on a plane of glass, and looking up at the clear sky with the Milky Way and shooting stars.
Clearing out of French Polynesia in Bora Bora
We are getting ready to depart Bora Bora tomorrow morning. We clear out this afternoon. Our exact destination is TBD – where will the wind take us?
Check out my blog post on cruising the South Pacific. I’ve got links to free cruising guides and thoughts on big-picture plans in the South Pacific.
Bora Bora made the top 10! Top 10 Cruising Experiences in French Polynesia.
What did we do under the water? Take a look at our dives and snorkels in Bora Bora.