Over the last couple of weeks we have been cruising the Society Islands in French Polynesia.
After leaving Tahiti we returned to Moorea to check out the dive site where you can swim with the sting rays. It was very close to where we had done the bucket diving 6 years ago with ken and Cynthia.
We took the dinghy around to the spot where they feed them and jumped in the water to be greeted by a half dozen rays. They associate the dinghy with food as do the sharks and it wasn’t long before some rather large black tip sharks decided to come and investigate. We didn’t stay in the water for too long as we found the sharks rather intimidating and I can confirm that Penny got into the dinghy without touching the sides!!
While we were in Moorea we had a ‘pot luck’ supper on the beach with about 15 other boats to celebrate Canada day – any excuse for a party.
One of the great things about cruising you meet a wide selection of like minded people from all over the world. Some become life – long friends.
Our next island was Huahine, an 80 mile overnight sail from Moorea. The island is the least touristy of the Society Islands and is probably our favourite. We spent 4 days here enjoying the local culture, beautiful sandy beaches and lots of Polynesian charm.
The great thing about these islands is that they are surrounded by a large coral reef which protects the area inside from the large ocean swells. Once you have crossed through the pass you have a huge protected area to sail in, helped of course by the excellent buoyage system, which mark out the danger spots.
From Huahine we crossed the 25 miles to the next set of islands – Raiatea and Tahaa and it all started to become quite familiar as we had chartered a Moorings boat here some years ago.
The weather was about to deteriorate so we didn’t hang around long before heading a further 20 miles to Bora Bora. Our departure was heralded with an eclipse of the sun. Unfortunately we needed to be a further 200 miles south to see the full one. There is another one in November 2012 in northern Queensland so maybe we will see that one.
One of the cruisers we met is an astronomer and he sailed back 400miles against the trades and the current and the seas so he could witness and record the total eclipse from a small island in the Tuamotus.
We intend to stay in Bora Bora for the July 14th Bastille Day celebrations before heading for the Cook islands. We still haven’t decided which ones to go to. I think it will depend on the direction and strength of the wind.