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Day 821 - Bora Bora (S 16° 31 W 151° 42)
11:54hrs - August 29th 2009
Life on Bora Bora

For ten idyllic, peaceful days we've been anchored in the picturesque lagoon of Bora Bora, as far away from the resorts, hotels and holiday traffic as you can possibly get. We're living a life of complete unabashed luxury, exactly what you're suppose to do when visiting Bora Bora - morning snorkels in the warm lagoon with stingrays and blacktip sharks. Discovering coral gardens that house thousands upon thousands of friendly reef fish of every size, shape and color imaginable - each programmed to believe that the high pitch whining of an approaching outboard engine signals the arrival of lunch, so just seconds after rolling off the dinghy into the water, they all rush over excitedly from every direction in a frenzy of little flapping dorsal fins and wiggling tails. Within minutes we're completely surrounded, suspended in a shimmering cloud of excited, happy fish. Slippery scales flutter past our bare fingers, fish swim under our arms, between our legs, right up to our masks as if to get a closer look at us, it's enough to make you laugh in your snorkel.

After a lunch of fresh fruit, crispy French baguettes and a cold Hinano, our afternoons are spent relaxing in the sun either on the boat, or snoozing on a sandy beach, slipping gently in and out of consciousness under the warm sun. In the late afternoon, when Catherine reads quietly down below, I swing lazily from my sisal hammock strung between mast and forestay, watching the sun slowly sink behind Bora Bora's twin basalt peaks. We light the barbeque around 6:00 and spend the evening dining in the cockpit and counting the shooting stars that race across the night sky.

We had planned to leave in a few days, but a nasty high pressure system is gathering strength over Niue and is forecast to move east towards Bora Bora and right over our next destination, Aitutaki, in the Cook Islands. So it looks like we may be forced to spend another week here - what a drag.



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Day 817 - Bora Bora (S 16° 31 W 151° 42)
15:33hrs - August 25th 2009
A Little Help Please

Over two years ago we launched Dream Time from the comfort of a New York marina to begin a journey and to start living our dream - to sail completely around the world. At the same time we also launched the zeroXTE web site simply as a way to share our experiences with family and friends and to stay connected. But something unexpected happened. After a few months we started receiving emails from complete strangers. People who had accidentally stumbled across our site were letting us know that they too
were joining our journey online.

Over the course of our travels the number of emails increased and now, 27 months later and thanks to the help from our exposure within the ABCNews.com Travel web site, zeroXTE gets over 600,000 hits a month. Every day we receive emails from people from all around the world, people from all walks of life, reaching out to us, the vast majority just to say thank you. Thank you for sharing the journey, the experiences, and in a few cases inspiring them to begin pursuing dreams of their own.

Not a single day goes by when we don't appreciate just how privileged and fortunate we are to be able to live this lifestyle, to float around the world's oceans together living our dream, and to have the support of so many people online. We wanted to do something to show our appreciation, to try and give
a little something back, to help support the ocean that has supported us for over the last two years. So we've designed the Dream Time 'World Tour' CREW t-shirts which are now available for purchase on zeroXTE.com, with absolutely 100% of all profits from each t-shirt sale going to Oceana - a charity dedicated to raising money and awareness for the protection of our oceans, to help reduce pollution and to protect our endangered sea life. But like a yacht at sea, in order for us to accomplish our goal, to make a difference, the crew needs to work together. So we're asking for your help.

You're sailing around the world online with Dream Time, so please help us to raise a little money for Oceana, buy a Dream Time 'World Tour' CREW t-shirt today. Wear it with pride. Wear it when you visit our web site, and know that we're all working together to protect our oceans so the next generation will have the chance to experience what we're experiencing together. A chance to visit Bora Bora, where Dream Time is currently anchored, and still be able to float in the brilliance of her clear waters, to hear the migrating humpback whales outside the lagoon with their newborn calves, to witness giant manta rays gliding so gracefully around colorful fields of coral.

We need your help, the ocean needs your help, so let's work together and make a difference. And for those of you who have already joined the Dream Time crew and purchased a t-shirt, thank you and welcome aboard!



 

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Day 810 - Bora Bora (S 16° 31 W 151° 42)
09:15hrs - August 18th 2009
The Other Side of Bora Bora

Although we've been in Bora Bora for a little over a week, it feels as though we've only now just really arrived. Yesterday the last torrential shower swept over the island and the wind blew its final gust, leaving the skies free of clouds and, for the first time in eight days, the water such a magnificent translucent shade of blue it appears as though the entire lagoon is manmade, lit from below with powerful underwater lights, filtering the color out from within to such an impossible richness it seems almost to fill the air.

Along with a half a dozen other sailboats we shook off our Bora Bora Yacht Club mooring and headed out. But unlike the majority of boats that sailed through the pass to begin their crossing to the Cook Islands, Dream Time stayed inside the turquoise lagoon. For two hours we meandered our way around the very northern tip of the island and down her eastern shoreline. Weaving our way around buoys and beacons we motored to Taurare to the very southeastern tip of the motu, away from the rows of exclusive thatch-covered water bungalows of the St. Regis, Four Seasons and Intercontinental resorts, and dropped our anchor in 12 feet of water, water that looks so shallow you would almost believe it's possible to step off the boat and wade across to the reef.

Compared to the relative hustle surrounding Vaitape, Bora Bora's largest village, this little corner of the lagoon is as peaceful and remote as you would imagine Bora Bora would be. There are no barking dogs running around in packs, no roosters squawking relentlessly at 3:00 in the morning, no speeding water taxis and thankfully no locals waterskiing around the moored sailboats, weaving in and out at 25 knots whilst attempting to pass close enough to run their hands along the side of our hull as they whizzed passed us in the Bora Bora Yacht Club. No, this is the side of Bora Bora the tourist industry would prefer you experience - perched on the edge of a 7 million year old island with a vertical drop-off on one side where the open South Pacific Ocean breaks in bright white cascading lines of surf, a perfectly groomed tropical motu housing some of the most exclusive resorts in the world, and a spectacular view of the island's towering basalt spires reflecting across a lagoon that has essentially remained unchanged since Captain Cook first visited the island in 1769, and a view that has captivated visitors ever since.

So before we head out to follow the fleet of cruising boats already on their migration west towards Tonga and Fiji, we plan to spend a few more weeks here, on the other side of Bora Bora, relaxing in the sun, floating in the lagoon and soaking up the views from one of the most beautiful islands in the world.



     
 

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Day 804 - Bora Bora (S 16° 29 W 151° 45)
18:28hrs - August 12th 2009
Picture Perfect

We've made it to, what many claim is, the most beautiful island in the world - Bora Bora - the ultimate holiday destination. Captain Cook, who first vacationed here back in 1700's I believe, declared Bora Bora 'the pearl of the Pacific' and I'm almost certain he was right. The postcards we've seen in the local shops around the small village of Vaitape on the western shoreline really do look magnificent - sandy motus (islands) surrounded by every shade of blue, teal, aqua and turquoise water imaginable, frame the impressive volcanic spires that rise over two thousand feet from the center of this small island. But sadly, even though this is now our third day in this world-famous destination, we've seen precious little of her beauty. You see, it's been raining, non-stop, ever since we grabbed a mooring off the Bora Bora Yacht Club yesterday afternoon. The normally dazzling lagoon colors are dull and muted by the gray rain squalls that hang low over the island, obscuring the peaks and dumping gallons of water into our dinghy, which now resembles an inflatable swimming pool more than a boat.

But Catherine and I are in high spirits, after-all, we plan on spending three gloriously lazy decadent weeks sailing around the island, anchoring off swanky resorts, snorkeling in crystal clear waters, diving with manta rays and finding our very own private, secluded piece of sand to drop the hook and experience the very best of Bora Bora one can imagine. We truly are fortunate, as unlike the hoards of soggy tourists we saw today who perhaps only have one short week in Bora Bora and spent a small fortune to get here and to stay in one of the many thatch huts balanced on stilts over the water, dine in 5-star restaurants and take luxury boat tours around the lagoon, and who I suspect are just a little disappointed by the weather, Catherine and I have the luxury of time on our side, or 21 days at least.

So for now we're just happily going through four months of magazines we had forwarded with our mail to Bora Bora. I've just finished filleting a fresh 27lb skipjack tuna we bought from a local fisherman, and until the weather clears, at least we have the post cards to remind us of how stunningly beautiful it is here. Which, in case we haven't rubbed it in enough yet, is Bora Bora!



     
 

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Day 801 - Ilot Motuaiva, Tahaa (S 16° 35 W 151° 33)
17:01hrs - August 9th 2009
25 Miles to Bora Bora

Just 25 miles from Bora Bora. Yes Bora Bora in the South Pacific! I can clearly see its outline just over there, and tomorrow wind and weather permitting, we will sail across the sapphire and turquoise waters from here to there, to reach one of those once impossibly far away places.  It’s the kind of place that conjures up images of dreamy idyllic escapes with some of the loveliest of nature’s Pacific offerings, from imposing volcanic peaks to tranquil turquoise lagoons, and I can’t wait. 

It’s the kind of place that seems to be the point of a trip like this, the reason you go to all the trouble of taking on a journey of this magnitude in the first place, and it marks for me a point at which impossible has become real. So here we are, 25 miles from impossible, and its only the beginning.



 

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Day 797 - Uturoa, Raiatea (S 16° 44 W 151° 26)
09:30hrs - August 5th 2009
My Inner Voice

Even with 26 months of cruising and almost 10,000 nautical miles under our lifebelts, it seems we're still occasionally prone to making, well, less than perfect decisions.

Like yesterday for example, leaving what Catherine and I enthusiastically agreed was by far the most beautiful, idyllic anchorage off the remote island of Huahine Iti, to sail across a 25 mile stretch of open ocean in 25 - 30 knot winds, 10 - 15 foot seas and rain squalls so heavy they completely obscured the mountainous islands of Raiatea and Tahaa, our next destination. Now in our defense we didn't expect the conditions to be quite so miserable. Our weather GRIB files showed light southeast winds, shifting anticlockwise as a front passed us far to the south, but I should have paid more attention to the dark line of rain clouds that were gathering on the horizon and to the inner voice inside my head, reasoning with us to stay. After-all, as we so frequently point out, we don't really have a schedule to speak of, so why did we leave the most beautiful anchorage we've visited to date in the Society Islands, nestled away on a remote stretch of coastline where the few Polynesians that lived along the shore delivered fresh pumplemousse, bunches of bananas, coconuts and papaya to our boat in traditional outrigger canoes - for free - we had our own private beach with enough dry wood for bonfires every night, glorious snorkeling in the lagoon where we anchored and we got to share it all with our friends from Coquelicot. Well, the answer is, sadly, because we had planned to leave.

You see while we're cruisers, world-wanderers, happily and, most of the time, unhurriedly exploring distant shorelines, we (mostly me) occasionally forget that fact and charge ahead for no other reason than wanting to adhere to an unsound, nonsensical and unreasonable schedule. Now in my defense I have made great progress since my obsessively punctual New Yorker existence, but it seems I still have work to do. And while I'm confident that the island of Tahaa has equally beautiful, remote anchorages to explore, and Bora Bora is now only 25 miles away, in the future, when my inner voice is trying to tell me something, I promise to listen.



 
 

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Day 793 - Cook's Bay, Moorea (S 17° 30 W 149° 49)
10:47hrs - August 1st 2009
New Friends

We're anchored in the famous Cook's Bay on the island of Moorea, which lies just 10 nautical miles off Tahiti's northwest coast. We've been exploring the island for five days, two of those days on bicycles which we hired from 'Fun Bike', one of the only two bike rental businesses on the island.

Now I'm not usually one to complain, and our journal entries are usually of a positive nature, but unless you're staying at one of the swanky resorts that boast their own private shiny inventory of new bikes, I strongly recommend, should you find yourself on Moorea one day, that you hire a scooter, car, beach buggy, ATV, hitchhike or just walk instead. You see, the name 'Fun Bike' is just a little misleading. Sure the 'bike' portion is true enough, they do in fact rent them, but with saddles like rolling pins, brakes that just barely reduce your speed, frames lathered in oil, greasy chains that refuse to stay on the gears, and one peddle that just clean snapped right off, we were sadly a little shortchanged on the 'fun' portion of our rental experience.

With our friends and biking companions, Helge and Therese from Coquelicot, it became apparent after just a few painful miles of grinding gears, bruised bottoms (and in my case, a saddle that wouldn't lock properly and slowly lowered under my weight until the seat hit the frame, forcing me to either peddle standing up or ride seated extremely low down with bent legs and my knees rising up practically to head level) that our grand plans to circumnavigate the island on its 60 kilometer coastal road was just a little optimistic. We made it around the north half of the island, but by the end of our second day were in no condition to attempt the southern coast or even consider the steep interior roads. So we made plans to rent a car instead and join the convoy of happy tourists that frequently passed us comfortably while we toiled on our fun bikes.

As a reward for our two-days of effort, we decided to treat ourselves to dinner at Allo Pizza. Perched tenderly on bar stools and after eating the best pie I've tasted since we left New York, we struck up a casual conversation with the chef, Sommers Moearii, a local Polynesian man, who upon hearing of our plight and plans to rent a car for a day, insisted we take his Nissan 4x4 truck instead. Now it's not often that you meet someone who, after just a few hours of casual conversation, offers complete strangers the keys to their car for the day - especially four rather disheveled looking cruisers, but such is way in French Polynesian - the generosity and kindness of the people here continues to amaze me.

So the next day we met Sommers at Allo Pizza to collect his truck, and after instructions on how to start his old diesel (by sticking any pointed object into the ignition switch that dangled loosely from electrical wires from a broken dashboard) the four of us set off in comfort to explore the rest of the island - the panoramic views from Mt Tohiea overlooking Cook's and Opunohu Bay (where the 1984 movie Mutiny on the Bounty was filmed) to the turquoise lagoon at Hauru Point where we played with a dozen extremely friendly stingrays. We ended a perfect day with another round of delicious pizzas, cooked to perfection in Sommers wood burning oven.

So, if you find yourself in Moorea one day, take the time to stop off at Allo Pizza on the eastern shore of Cook's Bay, and treat yourself to a slice or two of the best pizza in the South Pacific. Tell Sommers his new friends from Dream Time and Coquelicot say 'hi'.