About Us

Welcome to our blog, describing our voyage aboard Bravo, a Kelly Peterson 46 sailboat with homeport in Seattle, Washington. We headed south in 2010, destined for Mexico and beyond. Cheers, Adam and Cindi

"As for me, I am tormented by an everlasting itch for things remote. I love to sail forbidden seas, and land on barbarous coasts." -Herman Melville, 1844

Thursday, July 25, 2013

"ooooooh, mama, could this really be the end....."

 "......to be stuck inside of Bora Bora with the Tonga blues again?....."  Apologies to Mr. Dylan, and we certainly don't expect a TON of sympathy, but we really are stranded here in Bora Bora waiting for a weather window to head west.  This season has been tough to find adequate stretches of decent sailing weather.  All of the weather models we check have been forecasting 30-40 knot winds with 5 meter seas for the past week, and the coming week looks little better.  In fact, Bob McDavitt, a well known Kiwi forecaster, in his weekly south pacific briefing, today said:  Tahiti to Tonga:  Too much wind and waves in the squash zone this week. Just spend the time on other cultural activities.  

So, we wait, along with a growing fleet of other cruisers, for a more favorable forecast.  In fact, with boats arriving every day, the lagoon is filling with yachts stacked up like cordwood, all waiting for the "go" sign from on high!!!  Lot's of internet time spent on serious hand wringing forecast checking, and b.s.'ing with other cruisers at happy hour, everyone trying to see what they're hoping to see, either in the forecast sites or in the equally amateur views of others.  Pretty funny, really, this "group think" phenomena.

View from anchorage in Papeete, Moorea in background
So, 'nuff o' that.  How HAVE we been spending our time, really?  Well, we finally took care of last minute chores in Tahiti, a list that seemingly wouldn't end.  This was our last opportunity for boat repairs before New Zealand, many miles and 3-4 months away.  The day that we planned to depart, Cindi lost a tooth crown!!!  Happily she found it (!!!), and a terrific dentist in Papeete epoxied it back in, no muss, no fuss.  (Adam was planning on a dollop of JB Weld, but Cindi opted for a dentist....go figure, she of little faith!!!)

Cruising boat washed up on the rocks after a rough night in the Papeete anchorage.  A sobering sight, she was still there when we left 1 week later.
A yacht named "A", the latest toy of another Russian gazillionaire

Various means of transportation in Papeete

Young Tahitian surfs Bravo's wake while leaving Tahiti

After leaving Papeete, we had a rather boisterous overnight sail to Huahine, where we spent a couple of days at this pretty quite untouristy (for the Society Islands).  People were friendly, the scenery typically beautiful, and we should have stayed longer before heading out to Bora Bora, a long daysail away.

Bora Bora has been a bit disappointing, really.  Though the lagoon is indeed drop dead beautiful in places, the motus (islets) surrounding the lagoon are all privately owned, mostly by the large hotels...Four Seasons, Hilton, St. Regis, the list goes on.  So it's difficult if not impossible to land ashore, except for the main island in the center of the lagoon.  

On this island is the main town of Vaitape, as well as various mooring areas such as the famous Bora Bora yacht club (seemingly a bit run down, and past it's former glory days), the new and very nice Mai Kai Marina and Yacht Club, where we're now on a mooring, Bloody Mary's restaurant, a bit touristy, but a lot of fun (what other restaurant has not a coat check room, but a flip flop check room, as the floor is all sand, and feels great barefoot!!!).  Also, most of the actual residents of Bora Bora call the island home.

Entering the Bora Bora yacht club.
We rented bikes one day for a ride around the island perimeter, a flat 20 miles, with lots of classic lagoon views.  The bikes were perfect for the task... one speed, coaster brakes, white walls, ape hanger chopper handlebars...perfect beach bikes!

Cool "ship in a lightbulb", a model at a little maritime museum visited on our bike ride

We've really enjoyed the Heiva celebration here in Bora Bora.  A month long celebration in all of French Polynesia held each July, the Heiva celebrates Polynesian culture through dance, music, and athletics such as canoe races and rock lifting.  Bora Bora takes it seriously, and many nights we take the dinghy over to the Heiva site to watch the spectacle.  Lots of trophies for winners of the competitions.  This week is the inter island competition, and the dancers are intent on bringing home the glory to their villages.  This is no "Dick Clark goes to a luau", but rather a real showing of pride in the culture.  Amazing performances, obviously rehearsed for months.  

Sizing up the competition

Both male and female dancers were amazing

A corner of the bling room, goodies for the Heiva winners
Bastille Day is a big deal in France, and observed with a good natured celebration here in Polynesia.  On Bora Bora there was a funky parade, with the hotels, clubs, gyms, and of course, yacht clubs all participating.  Mai Kai's theme was pirates, and we came out in force.....ARGHHHHH, avast ye scallywags!!!

Adam w/ John from Mystic Moon.  This pirate stuff is serious business!!!

The costume judges looked like they had mixed reaction to our gangs efforts!!!!!
This will probably be our last post from French Polynesia.  We've had a terrific 3 month stay in this beautiful, diverse country.  The people have been wonderful to us, in spite of our bumbled attempts at French.  The diving and underwater adventures have been world class, and will be high bar to beat as we work west.  But our visa has run out, and we've checked out with the gendarmes, bound for Suwarrow atoll as soon as the seas die down a bit (possibly tomorrow!!).  We'll miss this place, but have to admit it will be a treat to be able to better communicate with the locals as we work our way toward English speaking islands.  Cheers!


  1. That pirate photo is a classic! loved it. Interesting to see all the dancers and the "sizing up the competition image" was right on target... you really caught her expression. Good luck on the sail westward. Its been a pleasure to take the mini-vacation in the South Sea Islands. (thats what they are called aren't they?) Hi to Cindi!

  2. I believe JB Weld comes in an attractive "Dental" color for just those occasions!

    And those dancers..."Argggh!", sayeth the pirates!

    73, Wardster N0AX

  3. Hi Bravo! S/V Lisa Kay here - hang in there! We remember a year ago when we were in your shoes like it was yesterday. Out time had run out, in French Polynesia as well, and we were all stuck in Bora Bora doing the "weather dance". It can really get to you, listening to everyone analyze this and that, all the opinions! But, Suwarrow is absolutely worth the wait and definitely a "once in a lifetime" experience. We consistently used Commanders Weather for every leg from Bora Bora to New Zealand and they were always spot on - can't recommend them enough. Good luck and happy sailing! Western Samoa was a real treat too, albeit very hot, but spectacularly beautiful and wonderful people! Niuetoputapu, Tonga is a must not miss, (bring baby formula if you can - they seem to have a shortage for adopted babies there!).