My goodness, you must be wondering where I’ve been. 2 days since a post and so much happening that this is the first opportunity I have had to sit and write.
Bora Bora, a day at sea and then an attempt to call at Rarotonga, Cook Islands; I write ‘attempt’ because the weather conditions were so poor that tendering guests ashore would not have been safe, reluctantly I had to cancel the call earlier this morning.
For the past 48 hours, I have also been indulging in ‘storm dodging’; away to our west, a Tropical depression is wending its way south-east. It has the potential to become a Tropical storm and, to add insult to injury, it’s going to be sitting right on top of our next call, Alofi, Niue; you guessed it, I’ve had to cancel that too. So, apart from all that, our internet has been sporadic, we believe that this is due to the storm on the U.S. east coast, as some of our reception facilities are in that area.
As I write, Rarotonga is astern of us and we are now heading straight towards Nuku’alofa, Tonga. We will arrive there on Saturday (their 31st); just to confuse you, we cross the International Date Line on our way there, consequently our Friday won’t exist; guests and crew alike will go to bed on Thursday night and wake up on Saturday morning. 😕
Eventually, the connection has allowed me to upload those photos, so first to post is a photo of that departure through the reef gap of Papeete.
Bora Bora is approached through a similar ‘gap’; many of these were literally ‘blown’ by the U.S. Navy during WW II, many of the atolls were ideal as anchorages for the hundreds of vessels involved in operations in the Pacific. Once an entrance was available, the lagoons provided a safe and deep harbour for them, what’s more, with only 1 entrance, they were easier to defend.
Our BB gap was a little different to Papeete insomuch it involves a ‘dogleg’ as the ship is passing between the buoys; minimum depth under the keel is around 3.5 meters or 10 feet approximately. Once through though, it deepens considerably and we anchored off Vaitepe, the main town, in around 25 meters of water. The weather was kind to us; rather gloomy to start with, but none of the forecast rain and later in the morning, the sun came out!
Our tenders take guests and crew to the pier there and from there they make their way to beaches, hotels or whatever takes their fancy. Karen and I were fortunate to spend a few hours at the St. Regis hotel on the south side of the island, this by courtesy of a former guest, (not with us this year unfortunately), who knew the manager and he in turn invited us.
The photos will speak for themselves, it is paradise on earth and today, after so many wet days, the sun shone for us; (it poured down later, however that was after most guests had enjoyed themselves and returned to the ship).
One has to get a taxi to get to the ‘base’, the building where boats leave for the hotels, for most of them are on the outer islands, (aka ‘sandbanks). One is then transported to a paradise, golden sand, turquoise water, villas over the water and cuisine to die for. The time passed far too quickly, I could have stayed there forever, (well, 2 weeks anyway), however I’m pretty certain, I couldn’t afford such luxury.
I leave you with the photos and by-the-way, if you didn’t know already, one can double-click on any of them and they open in a larger format.
Then, of course, there are the beaches!
And restaurant (one of the many) and pool