Once again we can feel your sympathy somehow… What can we say it is pretty awful we are stuck in Bora Bora, the wind has decided to pipe up from tonight. This will last for a few days and when this happen, cabin fever sets in quickly if you can’t get out because you worry about your boat at all time. So knowing this was going to happen we decided to move in front of Mai Kai restaurant/marina which is located close to the village and we then took a buoy.
The plus side is that we have internet and a dinghy dock. We can be in town in no time and see civilization when needed. Needless to say we are all enjoying a bit of connection with the outside world, just for a little bit!
Letitgo in a “luxurious” setting.
And then we do this once we have descent internet.
Openning youreyes to clear blue water, and clear blue sky; nothing better to start the day; the shallow lagoon sparkled and Bora Bora shined its glory. We jumped in to see what was happening underwater and found ourselves snorkeling the green pastures of Ireland.
And we found the BB Squadron of Spotted Ray.
We of course dove deeper when we saw the shine on that carapace, swimming so elegantly and quietly.
Here we are at last. Bora Bora, an atoll renowned all over the world, it has been making people dream of paradise forever, the water is blue and the mountain lush. Pinch us! Is it real? We are currently nested between the St Regis and the not so fresh Meridien… Yeap we are here, and that’s all we can say for now…
The Tahaa Relais et Chateau, the place if you want to treat yourself in our opinion better than the big sister.
Is there something wrong with this photo? Answer at the bottom of the post.
The race is on: Madengo 3 a superb 140Ft simple boat.
As for the photo above, Benjamin is 5ft 9, Letitgo’s draft is 3 feet and he is out of the water by 1.5 feet! Well that doesn’t leave much water under the keel, does it?
We just wanted to make sure that we hadn’t dreamed yesterday so we went for another snorkel! Is this enough of a teaser?? Let us tell you that we were not disappointed, we found a few new ways around the maze of corals: and it is still incredible to watch the wide variety of species roaming around while they make a good racket while feeding!
Sadly Benjamin could not join us, he still writing a few essays… Our guess is that he is really yearning to get out of here and in a good institution!
The sun makes it sparkle.
Some chose camouflage, while another one went with the Picasso look.
To each their own.
Find the intrus!
Me! Me! Me! “Please take my picture” Is what it feels like.
Ok guys! Time to go home now.
After a day working for the tourist board.
And lastly: The most famous island of all in the background.
After all the rain we’ve had lately; today was a postcard perfect day! Finally our batteries received their fair share of energy, the water-maker filled our water tanks and the laundry had proper time to dry! Once all set and done the coral garden was calling us, and here are more pictures to tantalize your senses…
Out of the blue, surrounded by hundreds of those!
Even the fish above wondered what kind of species this was below…
After a good night rest it was time to set about for another discovery, the vanilla house where they process the bean; to get there is quite simple follow this sweet rich aroma! Okay maybe not that simple here are the directions:
From the foot of the bay, take the first street past Tahaa Maitai’s restaurant if you dock with your dinghy there or the first one before if you use the opposite side dock. You will know if you are on the right track, when after 10 minutes you are at the foot of a steep hill. Walking along the road you traverse a rich jungle as we rarely saw; downhill we walked for another 30 minutes and an unassuming farm appeared to the left, you have arrived at “La maison de la vanille”. On the island only two families/businesses process the beans which are very labour intensive and growth some Bio. Gustave treats up to 18 tonnes a year with his family buying from 400 producers scattered all over the Society Islands. The entire operation is extremely time consuming and requires meticulous care rendering a high cost of the finished product, as we all know too well… Then again you get a vanilla of such quality level with an international reputation that gastronomic places glorifies themselves for using it.
Those are grown the old fashion way, not under in the “ombrieres” a shed like nowadays.
The flowers need to be pollinized by hand; one person can do up to 1000 a day.
After 9 months a bean appears, turning brown when mature.
The beans are exposed to the sun for 5 hours, and then put back in boxes to ensure a sauna like phenomena where they sweat and get once more into the sun. After a month the majority will be at the 50% humidity required.
By this time from 3 kilo you will get 1.5 kilo of finish product on the 26 grade, 4 to 1 is the ratio for the smaller one.
The top grade is 24-26, the rarest of all 200gr $100. The good news is: it is reusable 5 times before it loses its flavor.
This wild orchid is called Vanilla Tahitensis not the bourbon one mostly grown in Madagascar and all over Southern Asia. We now can see the major differences in the product we purchased for so long back home.
After the speed boat, the jet ski, here is the new way to travel the lagoon. Dragged behind a sailboat travelling at 1 knot, to give you an idea we were able to swim faster than Letitgo.
It had been such a long time since we had fresh croissant and pain au chocolat for breakfast, what a treat to start the day and wake up with this warm flaky pastry waiting for you on your plate along with a freshly brewed cup of coffee. Now if only we could get Benjamin in the habit to wake up before us, jump in the dinghy and forage future villages for this delicacy! One can always dream right?
At last the sun reappeared quietly and glided away from the dock in an elegant style with 18knots on the beam, rotating a fender as if we do it every day… This time the plan was to leave Raiatea en route to Tahaa, with a little bit of wind we let it play in the genoa inside the lagoon, truly a treat to be racing around on flat water, we arrived all the way to the end of the Haamene bay a fjord type setting and were rewarded by some wonderfully setup free buoys (not to be confused by the one in front of Hibiscus restaurant at the entrance).
In a flash we had picnics ready and were set for a hike up the valley, even with menacing clouds around we thought not to waste a minute…
The old chief loved the letter “aaaaa” around here, from Tahaa to Haaritara and best of all Faaaha, remember you have to say every letter in Tahitian. Sorry nearly forgot Mount Teraumaramarama a tongue twister in itself. A belvedere was awaiting and after confirming with the fireman that indeed the path behind the brigade was the right one, we set for what is a 3 hour hike. Don’t be afraid of the barb wire gates, they are here to keep the cows where they are supposed to be. The vegetation is incredibly lush and green, the smell was rich of underbrush with a hint of mushroom flavours and as you reach the top here is this view!
Spectacular view until our friend the grey cloud came to bring us…… You know by now it’s not a postcard everyday.
Nothing like a romantic walk under the umbrella!
After all it’s not that green and lush just because they water every morning.