Thursday, May 23, 2013

Au revoir a Polynésie Française

After spending parts of three cruising seasons here, the time has come to bid goodbye to French Polynesia. As when we departed Mexico, there is some sadness mixed in with the anticipation of seeing new places. While the sights and activities have been diverse and interesting, what I will take away from my time here is the memory of new friendships made. Despite our poor ability to speak French, and even less so Tahitian, we have been met with kindness all along the way. From Teiki in Daniel's Bay, to Regis, Tatiana, and Kivahei in Raroia, to Seply and Vatina in Moorea, to Smith and Jocelyn in Huahine, to Dominic and Marie-Catherine here in Bora Bora, we now have names and faces to associate with many of these beautiful islands. The route from here is still a bit uncertain. We have permission to visit two more islands within French Polynesia, even though we have officially checked out. Tonight we will drop our mooring pennant about 2 AM, and depart Teavanui Pass under the full moon. If all goes well, we will enter the pass at Maupiti, only 27 miles west from here. But we have been warned by many people of the dangers of this pass, so if we don't like the looks of it, we will continue west for another 100 miles to Mopelia, a coral atoll instead of an island, but as with Maupiti, a potentially difficult pass to enter. From there it is about 500 miles to the Cook Islands. We had originally planned to head WNW to Suwarrow Island, an uninhabited atoll with fantastic bird and fish life. But the path to Suwarrow lies along the brooding South Pacific Convergence Zone, with lots of potential for foul weather. Friends just made the equally long passage to Rarotonga, which lies WSW from here, and reported great sailing conditions. Plus we would have the opportunity to learn something about the culture and people of Cook Islands, which we would not have at Suwarrow. So we are uncertain at this point which way we will go, but we are leaning toward Rarotonga. Of all these destinations, there will only be Internet at Rarotonga, and possibly Maupiti. So for those who are following our progress, if you don't see a blog report in the next several days, you can deduce that we have gone to either Mopelia or Suwarrow. In that case, we will check in with the Pacific Seafarers' Net on HF radio, and our track will be reported at Just scroll down the list to our call sign, N7PZZ. Otherwise, we will try to blog from our next stop.

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