Up early, toast for breaky, tidied up and went to shore to a little boutique where we bought a fresh bread stick for lunch. We departed around 9am for the motor around the inside of the lagoon on the eastern side. This area is a little tricky to navigate, so you closely have to keep an eye out on the markers and the colours of the water as they change from deep to shallow. You then should have someone on the bow looking out for coral bommies. Such beautiful postcard colours. We got down to 2.5m of water. The breeze was NE at 25kn but the sky was clear and blue and sunny. All around the motu's north and east of the main island (motu Orme, Tofari, Tupe & Tape) have resorts with over water bungalows. It really is a shame as it is overkill and no longer unique. I also think there are resorts that are suffering financially on this island
. However, the area is still gorgeous and the colours of the water indescribable. We saw Jerome again – he called me on the phone and told me he could see me in the bay! They were on one of the by the cabin boats dropping a few guests off to a resort who are in the tourism industry. Gee, I am beginning to think Jerome has the best job in the world.
After picking our way through all the really shallow areas, we dropped anchor in 3m of water off Taurere (which took us 1.75hrs to get to for 7nm) and had a sandwich and champagne for lunch. Decided we would set out in the dinghy around Point Faroone and visit the coral gardens & shark & ray feeding area. We didn’t quite make it to latter but we did drop our anchor in a sand patch amongst the coral and dropped into the water for a snorkel. The first thing that took me by surprise were the hundreds of huge black spines coming out of the rocks which belonged to all the sea urchins. I think we found their breeding ground. Freaked me out a bit. Some of the urchins had the brightest blue patches on them. We experienced lots of colourful fish and lots of different coloured clams – including one clam that had closed up on a little fish who was desperately trying to wriggle free. Had to be careful with the currents here and I never strayed too far from the dinghy.
We got back to the boat before 1pm and my thoughts were returning to food and that our stocks for dinner were getting low
. I found that there was a small market directly across the bay from where we were anchored but discovered it closed between 1pm & 3pm. So we back tracked the way we came and I kept trying to call Bloody Mary’s restaurant as this is where we were headed for the night. No luck there. However, we decided to pick up a mooring (Bloody Marys is located in Bay de Povai on the southern part – with a large jetty out the front – GPS S16°29’.467 W151°42’188). It was a 9nm jaunt of slow motoring which took 2.5hrs. Tied the dinghy up to the jetty and went ashore to find out what was happening with the restaurant. A bus load of tourists were out the front but the place was under renovation which was a real disappointment. I guess the upside is that we got to look around and take lots of photo’s. Many famous people have walked through the doors of this iconic place, which they list on boards out the front. We will have to add our name’s…So I guess the mooring was free. Very windy with big gusts coming through over the hills – not unlike the bullets you find funnelling down in the Whitsundays.
Jumped in the dinghy, thinking that Hotel Bora Bora was just on the corner and we could eat there. However getting closer we realised that this resort had been shut down for some time. Buggar again. We kept going and heading around to Matira Beach where most of the tourists can be found as it is a lovely beach and fairly calm in comparison to where we moored the boat
. We also found half a dozen boats anchored here, which I am sure we could’ve done if we were careful about picking our way through the coral to get here. But – in our guide it does state under no circumstances are you allowed to go here in your Dream Charter Boat…We beached the dinghy at the snack shack and walked around the road which would lead to the Tiare market. This is a pretty nice area – full of all the big resort names and quite pretty – a far cry from Vaipete. Loads of restaurant’s here and I browsed menus with my mouth watering as we walked past. Got to the shop but they didn’t have much in the way of fresh meat, so we had to grabbed more ham, chorizo and a few salad items, along with beer after our walk in the sun. Once we got to the checkout and I went to pay, I realised that all our money had been left on the boat!!! Couldn’t believe it. No groceries, no restaurant dinner..NO BEER! Trudged back to the dinghy and motored back to the boat wondering where we were going to eat that night. Don’t get me wrong we had food on the boat but nothing that we wanted to eat as we had been looking forward to eating out for the last few days. So into the Lonely Planet book I delved and found a place they spoke about where you eat on a houseboat – but lo & behold – closed on a Monday. I felt we were destined to starve. Found another restaurant listed being the Bora Kaina Hut and I called them first and found out they were open, so I made a reservation. They were only 500m down the road from Bloody Mary’s too and they did offer to pick us up, as the restaurants here often do. What a lovely little restaurant. Sand floors, candles & nice timber décor. There was a couple from Florida and another couple from Brisbane sitting right behind us. We ordered a shared entrée of breadfruit gnocchi in tomato sauce & parmesan crisp which is their signature dish and very nice but filling, then we had a lamb shank (Dale) and I ordered the beef fillet in red wine – which was under cooked for me but I ignored that as it was so beautifully tender and tasty
. There was a side dish of crispy potatoes & I also had a couple of cocktails – a Mai Tai and a Pahia (the latter being very refreshing & minty without being too sweet). We shared a coconut cheesecake for dessert with a raspberry sorbet. Not quite the cheesecake I was expecting – more like a sponge but delicious. Our dinner cost 15,070XPF (about $180AUD).
The Australians behind us ordered lobster which was freshly caught the evening before and they were huge and looked divine.
We were fully stuffed and chatted with the other patrons before walking back to the dinghy and crashing for the night.