July 22nd, 2008 – We just left our friends, Jeff and Jeri Lyn Martin, at the harbor in Bora Bora to catch the ferry for their flight back home. My heart is heavy with sadness that they are leaving, yet I am overjoyed to have had the precious little time that we were graced to spend with them.
They had booked 2 nights at the front end of their stay and one night at the back end of their stay at the Intercontinental Hotel in Tahiti. We knew that we would have only a few days to show them as much of the Society Islands as possible. So in order to optimize their time with us we asked them to change their 2nd hotel night to the Intercontinental Hotel on Moorea because we wanted them to have a whole day to see this splendid island. To explain a bit – the Society Islands are comprised of two groups; the Windward Islands and the Leeward Islands. Of the Windward group only two are really accessible to us, Tahiti and Moorea. In the Leeward group which lies approximately 85 miles to the west are Huahine (pronounced Wa-hee-nee), Raiatea, Tahaa, Bora Bora and Maupiti. The passage from the Windward group to the Leeward group takes approximately 12 hours and, although we could not get to all of them, we wanted to at least take them to Huahine (the wild island) and Bora Bora. Frank and I did a lot of chin rubbing and head scratching to try to put together a reasonable itinerary for them, with just 5 ½ days on board. On the morning of the 16th, Frank and I finished up last minute details; provisioning fresh produce, picking up parts, diving for a lost life-line gate and completing a final repair of the watermaker before motoring over to pick up Jeff and Jeri Lyn. Frank was able to dinghy right up to the dock of their hotel to bring them on board. Following lots of hugs and smiles we got underway to Moorea, after a quick stop in Papeete's harbor to get the Martins an up close and personal look at the magnificent Maltese Falcon.
The sail to Opunohu bay in Moorea took between 3 ½ to 4 hours, and we arrived there in the early afternoon, but could not get Destiny close enough to the Intercontinental to make a comfortable transfer of our precious cargo so we ended up anchoring a couple of miles away and navigating through coral clustered waters in the dinghy to take them ashore. We were losing our daylight, hence our depth perception, by the time we got to the hotel's lagoon in spite of the fact that Jeff and I sat in the front and tried to direct Frank to shore but we just could not find the cut through the coral in the diminishing light. After grounding a couple of times we resigned to landing them and their bags at a dock quite a ways down the beach, leaving them with a prayer and a big apology we picked our way back to our boat just at sunset. Whew! Early the next morning we phoned the Martins to make sure they were OK and were still speaking to us J. They told us all was fine and that they managed to get a cab to the hotel after all. Jeri Lyn also told us where the cut through the reef is so that we could get over there with our dinghy. We had a wonderful day! We took them over to the area where the locals feed the reef sharks and sting rays, and swam among them. For some reason that none of us could comprehend the rays were so attracted to Jeri Lyn that they were swarming her. She delightedly petted them and played with them, standing in about 4 ft. of water while Frank attempted to get photos. Most of them, however, are underwater shots of a headless Jeri Lyn. We had great fun snorkeling among the many colorful fish and coral in the shallows just off the hotel. Afterward we returned with them to their beautiful cabin for showers (yes! Real, long, hot showers!), and then set off for lunch and some sun by the pool. By 3 PM it was time to head back to Destiny. The Martins' easy days ashore were over for a while – time to move into the rolling hotel for a spell. We got their gear stowed, showed them how to operate gadgets, discussed locations of fire extinguishers and "man-overboard" procedures and by 4:30 we were ready to shove off and make the overnight passage to Huahine. We bid a very fond farewell to the island of Moorea as we pulled up the hook.
The Martins wanted the total experience and we are afraid they got it! In fact, they got that and more. To say that the passage was rough is a gross understatement. Not long after clearing Moorea's protective barrier reef we encountered high winds and building seas. The temp dropped several degrees and as the night progressed the bad conditions worsened to the point that Jeri Lyn curled up into the fetal position in a corner of the cockpit and declared us insane. She and Jeff were not having the best of times this night. Eventually we maneuvered them downstairs, out of the driving rain into air-conditioned berths where they slept fitfully for the duration of the passage. In spite of the storm, driving rain and unseasonable cold we made good time arriving at Huahine an hour before daylight. An attribute to Frank's captain skills, he navigated Destiny through the barrier reef and safely into the harbor where we remained in a holding pattern until we could anchor at daylight. The rains continued and the winds howled – at times above 30 knots – for nearly three days! There were periods of short reprieves during which we would dash to shore for groceries, sit in the cockpit to read or just to visit and then after dragging anchor 3 times the next night we moved into another bay to escape the strong currents and winds, followed by our friends on Imagine. We visited with Imagine shortly – Andy dropped by for a beer with the boys and to exchange movies with us because when it is drizzly and dreary like that you just want to stay inside and watch movies! We spent another anxious night after the anchor dragged us again, but eventually settled in for some much needed sleep. I still hadn't caught up from having gotten only 1 hour of sleep during the crossing and just a few the night before. This can make for a cranky First Mate!
Next day we readied for the 4 hour passage to Tahaa, which is enroute to Bora Bora. Tahaa is called the Vanilla Island because of the abundant vanilla farms there. We managed to get on a mooring outside of the Hotel Hibiscus where Jeri Lyn and I went ashore for a short walk and the skies began to clear at last! Later we had a very nice dinner at the hotel's eclectic restaurant. We didn't spend enough time in Tahaa to benefit from its beauty because we wanted to get to Bora Bora in time to enjoy some sunshine there before Jeff and Jeri Lyn's rapidly approaching departure.
Bora Bora is all "that". The tiny island is home to more hotels than any of the leeward group, and is a popular vacation spot to many famous visitors. We first anchored just off the Hotel Bora Bora a short distance from the legendary Bloody Mary's restaurant. The waters were brilliant with colors and so clear that we could see the bottom. We went to shore for lunch at Bloody Mary's and then took a short walk before deciding to take a cab into town. There isn't much to the town of Bora Bora, and we found that prices here were even higher. Must be because it is the vacation spot for the Rich and Famous! Jeri Lyn and I had a good time walking and window shopping while the boys "shopped" for a cold one. After getting back to the anchorage we found that our friends on Cop Out had arrived and were anchored nearby, so Jeri Lyn and I swam over to visit with them for a bit before showering for dinner.
Our last night together was fabulous! We dined at a local 10-star (J!) restaurant referred to us by friends back in CO, called Villa Mahana. Wow! After being ushered to a terraced private dining area, we thought that we were the only guests. When leaving, however, we discovered that there were several other couples dining throughout in private little areas as well. This chef-owned little bistro focused on making each dining couple feel that they had the place to themselves – very romantic and intimate and is a favorite among honeymooners. We can see why; the ambiance, the food and service surpassed anything we have encountered thus far on our journey. I probably sound like a broken record – but just when we think we have had the ultimate experience it just keeps getting better. We like to think that the present company had a lot to do with it. Jeff and Jeri Lyn are just a delight to be with no matter where we are or what we are doing.
Tuesday, the 22nd – our final day with the Martins we motored Destiny to the downtown wharf and tied up alongside for a couple of hours. We all walked around a bit then had a nice lunch together before saying goodbye. Fortunately the airport ferry departs just across the dock from where Destiny was tied up, so we only had to unload the Martins' luggage right onto the dock for them to wheel over to the ferry. They were gracious enough to take our broken Sat phone back with them to be sent to Iridium for repairs. We have found that other cruisers are cursing their Iridium phones as well, but what are you going to do when there isn't much choice to be had in products. I should start a cruisers blog to rate products out here in the hope that manufacturers would buck up and stand behind their merchandise! The Horizon Seafari water maker would be right up there on the list of items to be wary of as well.
That's enough for now. This is a long one because it has been a while since I posted. Even longer for the Captain. He is overdue but that is not my story nor my business. One more side note though – our dear friend Ryan arrived safely in Papeete and has joined Syren as crew and is loving it. Can't wait to get together with him. Our love and best wishes to all of our family, friends and readers out there.
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Wednesday, July 30, 2008
The Martins' Visit..
Posted by Barb Gladney at 7:45 PM