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Old 26-12-2020, 12:29   #1
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Info For Bora Bora Bucket List Charter

My wife and I are planning a bucket list trip to Raiatea and Bora Bora, chartering first and then hanging out in a hut. We would appreciate any information that folks can provide.


I have 50+ years experience on monohulls up to 46 ft., but have never driven a cat. My wife has around 10 years experience as mate, and is good on the helm. We have done multiple charters in the BVI and USVI with just the two of us on monohulls up to 42 ft. We are 72 and 70 years old.


Catamaran or monohull? How much sailing ground would we lose with the extra draft of a monohull? How much more difficult would navigation in the lagoons be with a monohull? How easy will it be for this old dog to learn the tricks of a cat? (I would start with a checksail with a skipper from the base.)


Bareboat? Bareboat + Skipper? Bareboat + Skipper + Chef? This is a bucket list trip, but we do like our privacy onboard. We are not quite as spry as we were on our last charter a few years ago.


Provisioning plan or self-provision?



How many full days/nights on the water? (Excluding departure and return days.) We like a relaxed pace, sometimes just hanging on the hook for two nights and vegging out.


We usually charter with Sunsail, but I'm leaning towards Moorings for this trip. I'd appreciate any thoughts or recommendations.


Any other information would be greatly appreciated.


Thanks!
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Old 26-12-2020, 18:05   #2
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Re: Info For Bora Bora Bucket List Charter

At the moment, French Polynesia is still closed, so all this is rather vague, hidden by mists of the unknown. I wouldn't book it for 2021. Remember to bear in mind that cyclone season is Dec-March, and there are sometimes out of season cyclones.

I'd say, if it is a bucket list kind of deal, you and your good lady should decide together on the luxury vs. the privacy. I think you can count on the skipper/chef staying out of your way, pretty well. They may speak only French. One benefit of having a skipper and cook is that they will be aware of places of interest to go. But BoraBora doesn't have a whole lot if you aren't water babies. We enjoyed it there, on our own boat, and it has a unique beauty, but much of our pleasure was snorkeling. If you're not happy to spend a lot of time in the water, it's actually kind of small for sailing around in the lagoon.

I don't know if it is available to you, but a charter from Tahiti via the Isles Sous le Vent, to Bora Bora might be of more interest. Tahiti boasts a Gaugin Museum, and a lot of other items to pique one's curiosity. On some of the islands, you can hire a car and visit archeological ruins. Bora Bora has a WWII airstrip, built by the US military. It really will depend on what is available and on what you guys like.

Ann
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Old 26-12-2020, 19:08   #3
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Re: Info For Bora Bora Bucket List Charter

Make sure you contact Polynesia customs before you show up. I think you need a recent Covid test for entry and evidence of a return flight.


We had no troubles hitting all the cool spots on Raitea etc with our IP460...5" draft.


If you charter on Raitea you also have Huahine an easy most likely upwind hop and my favourite island in the Societies.


I would allow 4 weeks to enjoy the 4 islands in the area.



Provisioning is easy from the charter on Raitea...about a 40 minute motor to town & several grocery stores...public concrete wharf to tie up and a short walk.
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Old 26-12-2020, 20:06   #4
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Re: Info For Bora Bora Bucket List Charter

Thanks, Eder.


We chartered an IP37 and IP38 out of the USVI. Great boats, but I could never figure out how to get them to point. Maybe that was my training for a cat.


For provisioning would you suggest a lay day for provisioning before boarding or depart the base empty, go "around the corner", tie up at the public dock and provision?


I wish we could afford to charter for 4 weeks. More realistically we are looking at 10-12 nights away from base.


Thanks again.
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Old 26-12-2020, 21:13   #5
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Re: Info For Bora Bora Bucket List Charter

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At the moment, French Polynesia is still closed...
Ann
French Polynesia is open Ann. But I do agree entirely with your sentiment that it's not a good place to go with covid. I think it is coming in as the 6th most dangerous country for the disease. This is in terms of number of cases per million population. Obviously too, as in most small island nations, medical care is limited, especially outside Papeete.

But there are issues in travelling there by air, prior to arrival a negative covid test, and then a 4 day quarantine. There's also a curfew and restrictions to travel between islands.

Here is a link to the relevant government information site.
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Old 26-12-2020, 21:21   #6
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Re: Info For Bora Bora Bucket List Charter

Clarification..............We are looking at June/July/August/September for our trip. Since we are officially geezer and geezette, we hope to have the vaccine before then.
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Old 26-12-2020, 22:04   #7
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Re: Info For Bora Bora Bucket List Charter

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Thanks, Eder.

For provisioning would you suggest a lay day for provisioning before boarding or depart the base empty, go "around the corner", tie up at the public dock and provision?

Thanks again.

Go to the dock, provision and enjoy Uturoa for the rest of the day or you can sail out & anchor to the NW behind the reef for the night & enjoy the sunset. After all how long does it take to load up 25 fresh baguettes avec fromage et jambone, a few dozen Hinano's and some bottles of nice Bordeaux.
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Old 26-12-2020, 22:19   #8
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Re: Info For Bora Bora Bucket List Charter

That's three of the basic food groups.
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Old 27-12-2020, 10:33   #9
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Re: Info For Bora Bora Bucket List Charter

To avoid retyping a bunch of stuff, I recommend you check out this thread:
https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...ia-206226.html
... which should answer a lot of your questions.

I reviewed my (very minor) contribution post:
https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...ml#post2701754
... and surprisingly I agree with most of what I said back then.

We also did a write up of our charter trip there on our blog:
French Polynesia Bora Bora and more! Sailing Idaho, the Salish Sea and beyond

To emphasize a previous comment in this thread, don't miss Huahine, we loved it there, lots of great cultural sites to see on land and not very touristy.

I'll also chime in on some of your direct questions below, but remember it's just my opinion, so worth less than what you paid for it

-- Bass

(P.S. I have a few laminateable cards I made up to remind you how the reef navigation aids work, can send them if you want them.)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Blight View Post
We have done multiple charters in the BVI and USVI with just the two of us on monohulls up to 42 ft. We are 72 and 70 years old.
When the trades are honking the crossings can be burly, especially if you end up in Bora Bora at the end of your trip with no choice but to go back upwind to Uturoa. And the reefs and passes demand attention and respect. That being said, I think you will find the sailing fun and very manageable, I do NOT feel like you would feel out of your depth skill wise.



Quote:
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Catamaran or monohull? How much sailing ground would we lose with the extra draft of a monohull? How much more difficult would navigation in the lagoons be with a monohull? How easy will it be for this old dog to learn the tricks of a cat? (I would start with a checksail with a skipper from the base.)
Only thing we might have done if we'd had shallower draft was going around the north end of Bora Bora and into the east side of the island, that's a very shallow and not very well defined route. Other than that we did not feel any restriction with a deep drafted monohull, although it did make anchoring in Bae d'Avea a little more challenging.



Quote:
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Bareboat? Bareboat + Skipper? Bareboat + Skipper + Chef? This is a bucket list trip, but we do like our privacy onboard. We are not quite as spry as we were on our last charter a few years ago.
Totally your call, all I'd say is with your experience level I don't think you NEED a skipper.



Quote:
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Provisioning plan or self-provision
We did one big provisioning in Uturoa and then smaller ones in Fare on Huahine and Vaitape on Bora Bora, both had nice markets. One of our favorite things was dinghy into town for fresh fresh super tasty baguettes and brie, about all we really ate anyway... well that and Hinano...



Quote:
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How many full days/nights on the water? (Excluding departure and return days.) We like a relaxed pace, sometimes just hanging on the hook for two nights and vegging out.
We did 12 days on the water, could have done a month easy. Would have loved to get further afield and go to Maupiti (check with your charter company if this is allowed) but we didn't have the time especially since it's all upwind back from there and the pass is exposed and you can get stuck there for days at a time.



Quote:
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We usually charter with Sunsail, but I'm leaning towards Moorings for this trip. I'd appreciate any thoughts or recommendations.
We did a Sunsail 44i and were plenty happy with it, Sunsail is who we had mostly chartered through before. Again didn't feel the draft was much of an issue (many spots actually have moorings because it's way too deep to anchor, harbor off Vaitape in Bora Bora is over 100' deep in most spots). I liked having a boat with tankage etc for "8" when it was really just 2 of us, never had to bother with refilling water tank etc.[/QUOTE]



Quote:
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Any other information would be greatly appreciated.
Go, you'll love it, I would go back there in a SECOND.
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Old 27-12-2020, 10:48   #10
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Re: Info For Bora Bora Bucket List Charter

We did a two week charter there with Sunsail in 2013. Started in Riaiatea, went over to Huahine, then doubled back to Bora Bora. I think that a Cat is the only way to go. It was my first experience operating one and I found it very easy to adapt to.I'm sure that with your experience that you'd have no difficulty. The shallow draft let's you anchor over the edge of the reefs in many locations and it's ideal for the trip around the top end of the Bora Bora lagoon(lots of coral). We didn't find a language problem, just say La ora na and more often than not they will reply in English.We went in late April and did get one week of lousy weather with a lot of heavy rain at times, but that's always up to the God's! Don't miss a drift snorkel at the Coral Gardens on the reef at Tahaa. You'll have a blast!
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Old 27-12-2020, 10:57   #11
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Re: Info For Bora Bora Bucket List Charter

Thanks, everybody, and a shout out to Basssears for the details and links.


Fitting the pieces together should be an interesting challenge: Days of the week that Air Tahiti Nui is flying (which may change), boat availability and Bora Bora bungalow availability. I may just hand the puzzle to the (air/land) travel agent and (charter broker) Ed Hamilton and let them work together to figure it all out. Make them earn their commission.
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Old 27-12-2020, 11:28   #12
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Re: Info For Bora Bora Bucket List Charter

One random thought, we had to mount outboard every time we arrived and stow it on the stern rail before we left when we were doing inter island crossings (per Sunsail requirements)... if a catamaran had davits you could hoist dinghy on without removing outboard that might be a lot easier on the, err, less spry.
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Old 27-12-2020, 12:09   #13
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Re: Info For Bora Bora Bucket List Charter

Great catch, thanks. Especially something to consider with just two of us spry-ish folks aboard.
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Old 27-12-2020, 12:23   #14
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Re: Info For Bora Bora Bucket List Charter

sounds like a great trip.
I am not sure you can even rent a monohull from moorings anymore in that area. I just checked their website and during your time frame, 3 cabin Cat will run about 15K. The skipper will add about 2K and a cook will add 2K. So I guess it will really come down to what the budget can tolerate. Certainly a cook and a skipper would make your trip Really super enjoyable and you would have the owners suite cabin which would be really really comfortable.
If you choose to do the trip yourselves, I have no doubt that you will be able to pull it off but you would likely visit more places with a Capt who knows the waters. Add a cook and well that is just damn Luxurious!!!
I truly wish you the best of luck with it.
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Old 27-12-2020, 12:28   #15
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Re: Info For Bora Bora Bucket List Charter

leaving on my cat 5 years in Polynesia.


You could also contact Dream yacht charter in Raiatea. This part of Polynesia is realy very easy to sail.
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