Monday, September 28, 2009

Paradise found

After sailing some exotic and isolated places this would have to be the ultimate destination. There is no other way to get to Suwarrow Island (sometimes know as Suvarov), found in the northern most tip of the Cook Islands, except by your own boat. It is uninhabited, except for a ranger, John, his wife, Veronica and their four beautiful boys who live here for 6 months of the year. There are no shops or amenities of any sort, but it is beautiful with palm lined beaches, the clearest turquoise water that is teaming with life, some that can only be found in this National Park. Black-tipped sharks circle your boat, but they are so well fed they do not bother you when swimming. John and his boys feed the sharks the fish offal on the other side of the island daily and this is truly an awesome sight. After seven days of hand-steering the boat from Bora Bora, the sight of land was truly welcoming. We had a very unsettling passage with variable winds and swell and for the first time ever, Lisa had a small bout of sea sickness. Luckily it did not last long, but a new found empathy for those who suffer regularly was instilled.

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The beach life in Suwarrow Island, Cook Islands

This was one of the islands you would describe as true paradise. Every night we would journey ashore to this uninhabited island to share our dwindling supplies with other cruisers and the ranger and his family. After the expense of French Polynesia everyone was foraging in the bottom of the bilge for those few remaining tins of vegetables and other delicacies. Alcohol became very rare and some quick bartering became necessary.
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Suwarrow Island, Cook Islands

Jake with John and Veronica's boys preparing yellow-fin tuna for supper. This was a daily ritual on the beach, where our generous caretakers would share the rich bounty they caught each day from sea surrounding this stunning atoll.Posted by Picasa

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Bora Bora

It took some effort to depart Tahiti, somehow we just could not leave. However, not because we did not want to but, we understood why they call it the "Isles de Vent". We spent a very scary night at anchor with 60 knot winds, watching boats dragging their anchor and flying by us why Garry stayed up motoring into the wind to take the pressure of the anchor and then when we finally got out the harbour we got whipped, broke our mainsail furler and limped back to port. After repairs we set off again thinking we would try a different tactic and head around the southside of Morea, again to be hit by confused large swells and 35 plus knots of wind. This time we found a break in the fringing reef and spent the night in a beautiful deserted bay, watching the locals undergo a canoeing regatta. We think our boat become part of the race as they rounded the bow to head back down the bay. In the end we just made a dash for it and headed towards Bora Bora. A beautiful night sail, with the moon as company saw us arrive at the reef edge of Bora Bora at sunrise, where we were greeted by a large whale frolicking in the early morning light. The island is beautiful and you understand why it is considered the jewel of French Polynesia. We spent several days walking through the markets and tourists shops, snorkeled in the most clear and warm water we have ever had, drank hideous Tahitian rum (paradise comes with a price and any imported alcohol is way too expensive). Unfortunately we have to leave as the cyclone season is breathing down our neck and we have altered our original plans to get home as soon as possible. We are heading towards Suwarrow (the northern tip of the Cook Islands) and then America Samoa where the cost of reprovisioning is much more reasonable and we can spend our remaining American dollars. So no more entries or normal emails for probably 10 to 11 days.
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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Tahiti Looks Nice!

Individuals of our approximate vintage may remember that soap add with the woman telling her pilot in her private jet "Tahiti looks nice".Well here we are and it is beautiful, friendly and does have something exotic about it. I don't know if it is the French language, culture and cuisine set in an idyllic, balmy tropical setting, surrounded by turquoise water and rimmed with reef, or the towering emerald, volcanic peaks that does it, but it has it all! Have I tempted you yet? Well Bora Bora is next and this is one place I have always dreamed of so more tempting stories are to come!Posted by Picasa

Land Ahoy!

After 22 days at sea the crew and "Biscayne Bay" arrived at the beautiful island of Nuka Hiva in the Marquesas Islands which form part of French Polynesia. The locals were most welcoming with invites to beach parties and feasts and even taught them some local dialect mainly in the form of drinking chants!! After a stay of 5 days and a chance to restock with some fresh produce and get their land legs back, they set sail again for a 5 day sail to Tahiti. This was the first time they were under any pressure to meet deadlines as Lisa was arriving from Auckland to rejoin the crew, they dropped anchor one hour before her plane touched ground and what a nice surprise for her to see Garry's beaming, tanned face as she walked through the arrival doors. A totally unexpected surprise for her!