Mischief - Up to Mischief Log 34 Further adventures of S/Y Mischief through the eyes and ears of Chas Baynes

Tuesday 8th May - Bora Bora

After a wet and windy night, we upped anchor at 0715. The chain was laid across two or three coral bommies and we knew the way the chain snatched when we initially dropped anchor it was caught on something solid, and so it was. But our windlass is strong enough to break the anchor out of the coral heads and as each cracked as it gave way which was a shame, but this is a recognized anchorage spot. Mad Monkey the other day burnt his windlass out in the same location - expensive!

As I said, it has been raining most of the night but this morning I was greeted by a bright rainbow over the Coral Gardens, and the wind had abated somewhat, in fact it had all but gone and we sailed off to the lagoon exit 2 miles south before heading off north west again towards Bora Bora. We were also treated to a pod of small dolphins that came over to see us out of the lagoon which was unusual but nice.

As the wind was on the beam at 12-15 knots we put up the Code 0 and maintained a speed of 7/8 knots all the way across the straights, which made for a really pleasant sail - even the rain held off for a while.

The Ile Bora Bora has spectacular volcanic peaks surrounded by an extensive lagoon of various hues of blue making this, according to our passage books, one of the worlds' most beautiful islands and is heralded as one of the highlights of World ARC - it is the site of much development in the tourist trade as a result, and is a must visit for cruise liners. The trouble is the peaks are covered in cloud this morning as we approach the entrance to the lagoon.

At 1230 we picked up a buoy at 'Bloody Mary's', one of the 'must do' places to visit, have a very expensive meal and come away with a T shirt, so we have booked for this evening. I shall need my credit card methinks. Someone came on the VHF over another conversation to say that Bloody Mary's was not worth it but I responded that we will take our own view, but let's hope they are wrong.

No sooner had we picked up the buoy and had a quick bite to eat another almighty squall came through with a load of wind and horizontal rain just as our American friends Dan and Agnes from Smoke and Roses came passed in their dinghy getting soaked. We invited them to take shelter and offered them a cup of English tea - very British, but we had run out of coffee! They had sailed across yesterday just as we had reached the Coral Gardens and had been hit by the squalls that went through; one hit 47 knots, which would not have been a lot of fun at all.

So, we headed off ashore later in the afternoon for pre-dinner drinks, which entailed a Bloody Mary of course and a couple of beers, and took a photo of the list of A lister names who had visited, far too numerous to mention here - probably easier to list who hadn't been. The ambience of the place was great, really inviting and we were first there for happy hour. The loos were very interesting, the gent's anyway: the water sluice for the urinals was an enormous willy hanging on a cord attached to the water cistern, and the sink was a mini waterfall. All the women were poking their noses in there for a look, can't imagine why! The menu was verbal, the maître d' explained the various meats and fish on display on the open counter then awaited our order with pad in hand after which we were shown to our table which was through a low archway with a fringe of fabric hanging on the bottom edge. The only trouble with the table was when Dave went to the toilets (to check out the big willy maybe) and forgot that there was a beam behind the decorative fabric on his way back and smacked his head sufficiently hard to draw blood.

Anyway, the meal was very good, and we got out with $60 a head although without starters nor desserts and no wine; why there were comments as to it was not worth it I don't really understand so really pleased we were not put off.
The young guys from Spirit of Catherine were there having a drink and mentioned they were planning to go up Mount Pahia, one of the two imposing peaks bordering the lagoon which according to the ARC literature is "the ultimate viewpoint, a tough but rewarding five-hour climb [661m] with unforgettable views". That's me set up for tomorrow then, 0630 pickup.

Wednesday 9th May 2018 - Bora Bora, Mt Pahia

Dave was up before 0630 to give me a lift to shore and it chose that moment to hose down with rain so by the time I was picked up by Johnno and Alex, I was soaked through - not a great start to the day. WE had to drop their hire car back at the Yacht Club so had a coffee on the way, dropped off the car and walked the 2.5km back to where the climb up Mount Pahia was supposed to start. At least it had decided to stop raining for a short while at least. We were looking a little perplexed I suppose as the start was supposed to be "passed the pearl shop and before the church, an unpaved road off to the left", but a local chap standing there seemed to understand what we were looking for and pointed out a rusty sign behind some leaves marking the start. It said, in English that this was a difficult climb and "…….a guide is STRONGLY recommended". Oh well, I am with a couple of 21-year-old Australian army special forces guys here, what could possibly go wrong! Oh yes, and Alex mentioned in passing that it should not be attempted in the wet. Indeed, what could possibly go wrong? No guide, pouring with rain and I'm nearly 61 - "No worries, mate. You'll be fine". That's all right then so off we went towards what looked from our standing point as a vertical rain forest.

I have done a few quite difficult climbs before but I don't think I have ever done one where I used my hands and arms as much as my legs. For difficult here, read dangerous. The 'path' through the rain forest, such as it was, was steep, narrow, muddy, extremely slippery on roots and rock, with a number of near vertical and fully vertical rock climbs (one at least of 30m) with the assistance of questionable fixed ropes which were springy and not terribly confidence inspiring; it was pretty awesome. More of a worry than going up was coming down this stuff, its all very well going up as that is the easy part! Anyway, it was supposed to be a 5 hour climb and we did it in 2 hours so I was pleased with that as I had not held the lads up too greatly - I think the slippery slope had held them up a little thank God as it allowed me to keep reasonable pace!

At the summit the promised views extended no further than 10 meters, and the wind and rain were lashing up the slope over the top of the mountain at something near strong gale force; it was horrendous and standing on a narrow ridge made you crouch down for fear of being blown over the edge! We waited there for 15 minutes in case it cleared but needless to say it didn't, and we didn't want to get cold either so headed off down with a couple of photos of us with the summit flag - an old EU flag funnily enough.

Coming down was a real challenge and I found best attempted backwards on all fours. Johhno put a couple of stopper knots in the rope down the vertical 30m rock pitch as the rope was really slippery as it was essentially a waterfall in the conditions. But coming down backwards was definitely the way to do it as I could see where I was putting my feet below me, so I was fine. I had a small cut to my hand which I suggested to Alex was a mortal wound but he replied, "You're not mortal!" so that was good of him to say.

We eventually got to the bottom again relatively unscathed, a little grazed, soaked and covered in mud at 1130, 4 hours in total rather than the 10 hours the books say to allow, so well pleased with that. We then walked the short distance to the main road and were instantly back to civilization; the contrast of one minute being immersed in muddy rain forest to standing in amongst a load of tourists dressed to the nines was stark. We did attract a few odd glances dripping and muddy as we were.

Meanwhile, back on the ranch, Dave had moved the boat to the Mai Kai Marina and picked up a mooring buoy there as Rick off Amara had called to say he was holding one for him - they are at a premium so that was very good of him to bother. Reportedly, in the rush to get to the marina (only a couple of miles if that) the dinghy must have been getting buffeted as they had another big rain squall with 30 knots of wind and the outboard engine came loose - it had not been tightened sufficiently on the transom and it was hanging half off. Who had put the engine on and not tightened it enough? ……erm, that would have been me then. Dave sprang into action and saved the day thankfully as a leaking half-flat dinghy with one oar and no engine would actually be of limited use to say the least!

As it was Jean's last day on board we went ashore for the Mai Tai Yacht Club happy hour and met the crews from Madrigal and Mad Monkey for a few beers, then we went for a Chinese meal down the road which was very nice indeed and Jean picked up the bill, the gesture was really appreciated. It is hard to believe that she has been on the boat for 7 weeks - that time has flown by since Hiva Oa where she joined us in the Marquesas. I hope it stops raining for her to enjoy the couple of days in a local hotel before she flies home.

Tomorrow we are off to Maupiti, the last of the islands in the Society Islands some 30 miles to the west, leaving Trevor with Jean for her last couple of days ashore. Let's hope the weather improves.