Trip Reports

Soon, to Sea (10-Jun-2001-18-30):
6:30 PM local time Sunday June 10th. (0430 June 11th UTC) 16 29 S 151 45 W. Bora Bora Lagoon, Bora Bora, Iles de la Societe, French Polynesia. Temp. 85, Humidity 73%, cloud cover 10%.

Warm greetings from the crew of Maverick.

Here in Bora Bora, the tradewinds caress the hillsides and charm the lovely coconut palms into swaying fetchingly as though singing and dancing in harmony. Turquoise lagoon waters lap at the hull while majestic Mount Pahia benignly oversees the play of happy native children. Tourists take their ease at fabulous restaurants or join a mesmerizing dive with sharks and manta rays.

Down in the cabin, the Captain is focused on one thought: is there no way out of this hellhole?

We have been stuck here since the 30th of May. The earliest we may leave, for a few reasons, is June 13. Although we've outrun, by quite some distance, every boat save one that left North America this season, we feel like we're getting behind. The prop arrived, through the good offices of Rick Guenett at Bloody Mary's, a friend of old friend Steve Fishell who permitted us to use the restaurant's address. Because of some admirable, but in this case overzealous, care on the part of Fed X, it sat in Papeete for four days before being shipped to Bora Bora as they were unable to confirm we were here. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise, sort of, because on Sunday Terry came down with a fever that put him in bed for five straight days. He is just now recovering his strength. Those of you who know Terry will appreciate how ill he had to have been for his recuperation to have taken so long. We are not sure what he had, but in any case had there not been a delay in getting the prop we would very likely have been at sea when he became incapacitated.

In the meantime the prop, which, although improved, could not be returned to its pre-coral state, did arrive and a diver was hired to put it on. By this time however, yet another problem had revealed itself in that the outboard motor, which had been giving us some trouble, started behaving in a way we could not diagnose. A very pleasant Tahitian outboard mechanic determined that the rod bearing was shot. A rod bearing would probably be about $25, but no parts for Nissan outboards are available in Polynesia, so without another long delay in acquiring and shipping parts from the US, the motor is toast. Bora Bora has a small marine supply store and though no motor that would suit was in stock, one was ordered shipped from Papeete and will be here Tuesday. Bora Bora is not, as the reader may imagine, an ideal location for discount shopping in boating supplies, but the alternative as we head to more remote areas is so indeterminate that this is the only reasonable option. On the positive side, when the people at Bora Bora Marine heard my name, they remembered that at a very modest price they could have it inscribed on the new motor. It wasn't all that much money, and I know it's a little vain, but I can't wait to see it. Those French!

The Captain has sworn to himself not to speak of the expense of Polynesia, as this is such a tired topic and no cruiser ever fails to mention it. But since the cat 'o' nine tails is out of the bag I will make a comment, in the hope that a stereotype may be put into perspective.

Fruit, vegetables, and beer are expensive. A six-pack cannot be had for under $15 and a small watermelon was $10. Meat, bread, eggs, and wine--the kind we drink--are not. A whole tuna is about ten dollars and would feed a large family. "Le Truck" which is the local bus service, is about $3 on this island, about $1 on the others. Duty-free diesel is only a bit more than in the US. Those nuts we had made in Papeete would have cost double in a machine shop in San Francisco. Of course, if you want to stay at the nice hotels and eat at the nice restaurants, well then. But we're from San Francisco and we've been to nice restaurants. And considering the lack of local laundry facilities, we'd look like fools next to all those freshly purchased Hawaiian shirts. We much prefer the eateries the Tahitians frequent, and they are friendly and not expensive. As for a hotel, our lodgings are free, and we can anchor anywhere we like the view and move daily if we choose. The Captain is puzzled that others have complained about the expense of cruising here, considering that the French and Tahitians, who pay just as much for a tomato as we do, don't charge us a dime for camping in some of the world's most adored real estate. End of rant.

Perhaps Wednesday morning, if all goes well with the new outboard, dealing with the bank about our bond, and Terry's recovery, we may finally head to sea. The delays here and in Papeete mean we have crossed both Raratonga in the Cook Islands and Somoa off our list. At this moment the thinking is to go straight to Tonga, with a possible stop in either Nuie or Suwarrow, two rather exotic destinations on the way.

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