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Old 04-06-2008, 22:13   #1
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Question Off to Bora Bora ....need your recommendations

Next Week, 6/13, I will be flying to Tahiti and onto Bora Bora where I will charter a 46' Bahia Cat. I have yet to decide upon my course or destinations. In General the plan is to leave the Sunsail Base @ Raiatea and sail to Huahine. Then back to Raiatea, then off to Bora Bora, and finally back to Raiatea and fly home. We will be chartering the Cat from Saturday to Saturday.

The problem is that I don't really know where the interesting or must see sights are....especially from a cruisers perspective. So if anyone reading this has been there and can offer some suggestions, I would appreciate it.
I typically like historical sites, natural wonders, and secluded places. I typically avoid people as much as possible. None of us speak french.


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Old 05-06-2008, 07:02   #2
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More specifically, I'm looking for recommendations for destinations on Bora Bora, Raiatea and Huahine.


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Old 05-06-2008, 07:24   #3
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Bora Bora
Although there is no official public harbour to speak of on Bora Bora, there are a few locations recognized by the public for mooring, anchoring, or docking your boat:

1) The main dock at the Vaitape wharf can be used on a temporary basis for loading and unloading. There's quite a bit of boats wanting to dock here, so "temporary" is the key word here.

2) The first and maybe most popular spot for mooring vessels is in front of the famous Bloody Mary's restaurant, where services are few but include water fillups, trash facilities, a dingy docking area, and a local card phone. It's probably not a stretch to say that over 90% of the boats mooring here have dinner or drinks at the restaurant. Long stays here are not permitted.

3) Another public and popular place to anchor or moor vessels is the Bora bora yacht club. Here, vessels from all over the world are permitted to stay for times of longer duration if necessary, (no drydocking) and can utilize the facilities for water fillups, electrical hookups, garbage disposal, and newly revamped restaurant and bar services among other things.

4) You will also see yachts at various other random protected places within the lagoon waters. A few favorites include anchoring in the protected waters of Motu Toopua, and just inside the Teavamoa Pass and to the South of Motu Piti Aau where there is a 30 foot sandy bottom and good holding.

See the Moorings itinerary:
The Moorings Tahiti Itinerary - Bareboats

Raiatea and Taha'a are two islands enclosed in a single barrier reef.


Uturoa is the only harbour on Raiatea island. The large lagoon offers near complete circumnavigation of Raiatea within it's barriers.

There is one harbour on Tahaa and a few good places to anchor or moor boats. The harbour is located in Tapuamu Bay on the northwest side of the island and is called Tapuamu village. Tapuamu bay is considered by sailors to be one of the most sheltered in the area, affording good protection from the famously strong southeasterly tradewinds known as "Maraamu".
For good places to moor outside of Tapuamu bay, the 2 most popular places to moor are at the Marina Iti, on the south side of the island, and also in front of the Hibiscus hotel in Haamene bay on the east side of Tahaa.

There is no public harbour to speak of on Huahine, but several good places to anchor and moor your boat. One of the most popular spots to moor is in the protected lagoon directly in front of the village of Fare. You will also see yachts at various other random protected places within the lagoon waters.
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Old 09-06-2008, 05:01   #4
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Have fun and be prepared for deep anchorages. We anchored in the south of Raiatea in 100 ft, and off the town in Bora Bora it is about 65 ft. If you want to go off the itinerary, we had a ball in Patio, on the north end of Tahaa. It is a remote town, where a lot of locals don't even speak French, but they rounded up an Australian woman who had married a local and we spent several days with them, skindiving on the reef, going to their home and vanilla plantation.

It is getting close enough to Bastille Day that you may be able to take in some of the festivities. After watching the 'professionals' doing the hula in Papeete, we much preferred the more spontaneous action in the remote places like Patio.

I remember anchoring in Fare and renting motorbikes to see the island. There is a good surf break right outside the entrance to the lagoon, and you can use the current in the pass like a ski lift to get you back outside.

In Raiatea, the big smoke is Uturoa, where there was a new marina we used in 1992, but it was full of local boats by 1997. Talk to the charter base about where to leave the boat when you go to town. There was also a nice shallower anchorage off an island just inside Toahotu pass.

Remember that this is coral country, and you don't try to navigate around the lagoons unless the sun is high, and wear your poloroids.
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Old 09-06-2008, 08:09   #5
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Originally Posted by donradcliffe View Post
Have fun and be prepared for deep anchorages.

Remember that this is coral country, and you don't try to navigate around the lagoons unless the sun is high, and wear your poloroids.
I often read in the crusting guides that the lagoons are deep the channels are well marked and there are no navigational issues to be concerned about. But then I come across folks that have sailed there and they mention coral heads. If you are in the lagoon channel and the water is that deep blue, is there still an issue with coral heads? Or are the coral heads only a problem when you try to get off in a secluded area nearer to the reefs?

Any idea if anyone has a list of best anchoring or mooring locations?

We are not following any specific Itinerary. The current plan is

Sat - Raiatea to Tahaa
Sun -Tahaa to Huahine
Mon - Huahine
Tues - Raiatea
Wed - Bora Bora
Thursday - Bora Bora
Friday - Back to base, Raiatea

My post was really meant to focus on "Points of Interest".
For example, perhaps a pearl farm, the ruins at Taputapuatea Marae. a short hike to a mountain peak.
Any suggestions?
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Old 09-06-2008, 21:33   #6
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I have been to Bora Bora. My suggestion for the best way to learn about and see the island in the short amount of time you have is:

There is only one way in and out by boat. So when you come in, head aprrox 110 deg magnetic to Vaitape and anchor just north. Check out "downtown" Vaitape and schedule a Jeep Tour (even though they use zebra striped Land Rovers, not Jeeps). The tour will take you up into the mountains where you can not go alone. You will also learn a lot about the history of the island, see historic stuff, see how the locals live, see a pearl farm, and eat some of super delicious fruit. We learned the most about the island from the Jeep tour. You will get to see much of the island from way up. Spectacular views.

While on the tour, you might see other spots to anchor. That's why I suggested the tour first before sailing around inside the island.

If you want you can also rent a car in Vaitape and drive around the island (but you can't go up in the mountains, only the Jeep tour because it really is 4wd, I mean serious 4wd, not just dirt). It only took us an hour to drive all the way around at slow speed. You will see and learn more from the Jeep tour though. Taking your boat to the far side of the island (inside) would probably be more fun than the car rental.

There is not much to "do" on the Island except have dinner at Bloody Mary's. I think they have a water taxi for the restaurant also.

I would skip the glass bottom boat and submarine tours. Although it was cool to see the outside of the volcano that is the island. It's just a steep drop down into the ocean floor. We went to 150 ft and the whole way it was just a nearly vertical wall of coral.

Don't be surprised to see male cross dressers (locals in drag). It's normal there and perfectly acceptable. Has to do with their history of human sacrifice. You'll probably learn about it.

Gene :^)

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