Sailing though New York, visiting Lisbon and walking the Picos Mountains in Spain were a few ‘let’s make sure we do this’ items on our list when we left the UK. I’m pleased to say we’ve achieved one of our other aspirations. We visited Bora Bora, a small island in the Society Islands, French Polynesia.
Our chum Ken who lives in Bonsall, Derbyshire in the UK sailed to Bora Bora on what I think was the first ever Round the World Rally, an organised sailing event where boats travelled in company on a planned route. I don’t recall the exact year but it was a chunk of time ago. He has a front page newspaper article from a a local Derbyshire paper on his office wall. A fresh faced tanned healthy looking youth smiles as he is ‘the news’ that week.
He recounts a tale from Bora Bora. Which was the reason we had to go there.
The schedule on his world sailing trip was fast paced, round the world in 18 months. To put this into perspective, we’ll have been sailing for 6 years come July and we’re not even half way across yet.
Bora Bora is a stop on his itinerary. It’s a stunning place delivering clear water, reefs, hills with views to sell travel magazines and it boasts the Bora Bora Yacht Club where having a Pina Colada as the sun sets is rather a pleasant thing to do.
Ken is on this whirlwind trip as crew. The agenda is generally sail to the next place requiring a few days at sea, stop, fix things that have broken, clean the boat then have a couple of days to see the place before it’s time to cast off again to the next destination. There’s a fairly tight schedule with weather patterns driving the need to keep moving if the 18 month deadline is to be hit.
Breakages have been dealt with, the boat is clean so Ken and a friend from another boat head off to do the big walk to the top of Mount Pahia. It’s not far to the top in terms of distance but it’s steep, unforgiving and you absolutely earn the view from the summit with every step. It’s hard work and very hot.
A few hours later, Ken and his friend are lying on a white sand beach with a beer having descended and rewarded themselves with a cold beverage. The rally is a whirlwind tour, places merge and blur. There’s no time to draw breath. It’s fun with a relentless pace. Then the line that has drawn us here is uttered on this beach all those years ago ….. “Where the f*ck is Bora Bora!?”
In his honour, we came, we climbed, we raised a glass. It’s likely much busier here than when he passed though all those year ago. Posh chicken coops over the water cost mega bucks per night. Swanky resorts promise a magical pacific experience. There was no one else sweating their rocks off on the hill climb though. That requires effort and no one goes to Bora Bora to expend themselves. Except sailors, from Derbyshire.
To you Ken, my friend. 😀