Wednesday, August 17, 2011

From the Captain...

I just cycled around Bora Bora - 32 km of mostly flat riding on a paved road - on a pusher style bike with a big soft saddle.  My bum hurts.

It seemed like I should at least make an attempt to see some of this tourist mecca and the most sensible way seemed to be by bike.  There is only the one road that circles the island.  Anyway, I rented the bike this morning and off I went - a liter of gater aid, a couple of granola bars and the guide book.  Don't laugh - the high point of the exercise was riding by the open gate of the RO plant (desalinization of sea water for drinking water - the municipal water supply) and inviting myself in for a tour.

First is was "not possible" but then I said I was a Canadian Engineer - and all things were possible.  His english was minimal but I could fill in the gaps and he as pleased and I got a good look.  They do nice work with HDPE pipe.  Chuckle - you can add that to fish ladders, culverts and sewage treatment plants.

A treat - there's a Danish couple on the next mooring with a Vega.  A very long way to come for two people in a small boat.  I really could have done this in Osprey (the imposing driveway decoration) but I like my comfort.

So, I cycled around the island and there's not a lot to comment on. They use the submarine base from WW2 for a small craft harbour.  There's various other concrete remanents plus several 7" gun emplacements of the conflict.  There's hotels etc., some abandoned and falling down - actually there's quite a few derelict structures of concrete - for what should be a permanent material lack of understanding of it results in a realtively short lifespan.  It's sort of neat seeing columns busted apart because of the rusty rebar and poor mix and rough workmanship.  The geology is neat and the vegetation is lush.  The diving is "OK" but heavily used.

My crisis yesterday morning was the anchor chain wrapped around a coral head. I had to dive on it, in the course of which discoverd one of my scuba tanks is useless - the O ring under the valve has failed.  A $0.50 item that can't be had here it seems.  Fortunately I have two tanks - I debated that, glad I brought both.  The weather is hot.  The dogs here are interesting.  Exceedingly laid back and all stay well away from anyone.  They are also expert and sleeping in the heat. Generally speaking they don't bark at you, charge up to sniff etc., growl or anything - very well mannered and I haven't seen any evidence of the locals making any effort to "train or disipline".

Similarly with kids - they're all over the place, all pleasent and happy - not mean, very seldom loud or yelling, no crying, screaming or tantrums etc. - and again, parents don't seem to disipline or order them about etc.  Very laid back and easy going.  And unquestionably friendly, pleasent and polite and helpful.  (A couple of times I've been carrying water jugs or groceries and a kid has come up and just stepped in to help.  Seems weird.

 They are also fun, and love there outrigger canoes.  Coming in, feeling my way into a narrow pass to the anchorage, two 12 or so year olds come belting up and yell  "safe here"  and then were racing me, then hooked on yelling "faster, faster" (which I did not oblige) Quite wonderful actually.  So there you have it - generally really nice people, quite well off compliments of low cost of living and a lot of subsidy money from the french government plus high costs to the tourists.  Nice enough place but other than the physical setting, not spectacular and almost over run with tourists.  Glad I came, but I won't make a great effort to come back other than it's a convenient stop to check out of the area and get the bond back.

So I'm off tomorrow to the Cook Island group.  Aitutaki Atoll is the target.

Take care
Love Dad
At 04/08/2011 4:28 AM (utc) our position was 16°30.60'S 151°46.21'W