|Here is the second part of John Anderson's
Tahiti to Cook Islands voyage June 2001. We take up the journey at Bora Bora:
"Visually Bora Bora is magnificent.
It is probably the most photographed island in the South Pacific, and rightly so. Entering
the lagoon is stunning, and as we did the cloud cleared revealing the island in all its
We dropped anchor off the Bora Bora Yacht
Club which proved to be our favourite watering hole. As it was in 1989, 1990 and 1994, on Søren's previous
visits. The walls are decorated with pennants from past visitors and Søren's (part of an
old course) was updated to include our visit.
Bora Bora's "cabriolet"
two-seater hire cars are a hoot. They are reputed to be powered by a diesel,
concrete-mixer engine. There are only two gears (forward and reverse) and conversation is
practically impossible above 10 KPH. They and the scooters and bicycles gave us access to
the other side of the island and the better beaches on the eastern end of the island.
Meanwhile Second Mate Barry scaled the
volcanic peak in 2.5 hours.
Snorkelling and diving was popular and
our American VCs Monica, Charlie, Ric and Mike just caught the last boat after diving with
manta rays. They described it as an "awesome" experience.
One of my
principal motivations to sail on Søren was to go "blue water" sailing. Aitutaki
lay 480 nautical miles to the south west. The experience lived up to my expectations. It
started with sailing off the anchorage. We cleared the lagoon on port tack with all four
squares set plus outer jib, main staysail and main. Seventy hours later we were still on
port tack and only had 60 miles to go. The force 4 south east trades had been consistent
and Søren revelled in them. Three Sie whales paid us a visit on Friday morning; one
swimming beneath the ship and out under the jib boom. We wore ship twice to clear the
western end of the island and came onto the outer anchorage late Friday Afternoon.
VC Monica won the "drop anchor"
sweepstakes. By one minute.
Immigration and customs had gone home so
we surveyed the scene from the deck. There is nothing like a good landfall to create a
were cleared on Saturday morning and the VC hit the beaches after negotiating the
incredible tidal race pouring out of the lagoon in the DOTY boat. They found a simple
settlement and the warmest and friendliest people. And the hidden gem was the fabulous
lagoon on the other side of the island. The turquoise blue must be seen to be believed.
Sally, Peter, Nick, Jost and Dave joined me in Willy's mini-bus for a tour of the island.
We never got past the Samade Bar and Restaurant. One stepped directly from the bar onto
the beach and ten steps later was the beautiful warm waters of the lagoon. Everyone else
found the Samade as well.
Saturday night we celebrated Cook
Squizzy's birthday with a "Doctors and Nurses" theme. The PCs stole the show:
Captain Tony's Dr Quack was great. He was
dispensing potions in an admiral's jacket and top hat. We thought he was quite
Engineer Peter was a patched up patient
who looked like he needed a doctor. The Grim Reaper made a chilling appearance in the form
of a ghostly Second Mate Barry.
Carpenter Jimma was in a straight jacket,
clearly round the bend.
There was a touch of Bob Marley in Bosun
Nick's witch doctor.
Decky Dave made a fabulous Nurse Gladys
in a sensational mini-skirt.
Decky Jost was a very slinky angel, and
Decky Rich said he was a doctor but we
didn't know why.
(Photos by request only)
The permanent crew clearly have some
creative talents. Squizzy had a wonderful night.
VCs Dave, Vanessa, Mike, Gil, Thor and
Anton were ashore and took in the local Polynesian dancing. They were knocked out; the
Aitutaki dancers are considered by many to be the best in Polynesia.
The second week ended with most of the
ship's company returning to the Samade. PCs Barry, Lucy and Rich accepted an invitation to
a private hungi and had a marvellous time.
Waiting for the last boat Sunday night I
joined Barry and Lucy atop Piraki looking down over the island. Being just before sunset
it was quite sublime.
It was calm for the final 140 nautical
miles to Rarotonga. The stars we brilliant on Sunday night as we motored south and
Monday's dawn was THE sunrise of the voyage; magnificent colours and clarity. After 9
hours of daylight sailing we had advanced as many miles. The almost clear blue skies and
warmth prompted many to have a swim at dusk in the middle of the ocean. The swimming pool
was 4,000 metres deep. The last sun set was as spectacular as the morning's dawn and we
Tuesday was as balmy as Monday and all
too soon we were off Avarua Harbour where our arrival was delayed by the late departure of
a ship. Ultimately we tied up alongside a fishing trawler and the journey was over.
The final night party was very warm and
friendly. Good shipmates having fun. And we were released from our articles next morning
before a fond farewell by the PC.
Rarotonga was a bigger Aitutaki with
volcanic peaks. Most of the departing VCs stayed a few days and enjoyed the beaches, the
shopping, Ronnie's Bar, the Staircase night club and Trader Jacks.
VCs Monica, Charlie and Ric volunteered
to crew Friday's Rarotonga Sailing Club's fundraising day trip on board Søren. A lively
event in a brisk south easter.
Some of us
joined the sailing club on Saturday and participated in their races. Sailing the local
outriggers was mind blowing. With the outrigger to starboard sailing on port tack was a
challenge. Get them in the groove and they really hummed. All except First Mate Sally went
for a swim. Or Two. And even three. Sailing in a shallow lagoon sprinkled with coral heads
was also something else. A bump
here and a bump there. At one stage we were in stays, in a wind shadow behind an islet. I
asked Nick to jump overboard and walk the bow around. I know. I know. It wasn't
I can recommend the Cook Islands to
anyone looking for a relaxed, laid back holiday. The key is the warmth and sincerity of
the locals. Attributes shared by the people of Søren Larsen.
(A word about Crew
here for the Web Log report Pitcairn / Henderson to Marquesas.
here for the Web Log report Easter Island - Henderson.
Below are links to Sally Anderson's Web Log reports from
the Galapagos to Easter island:
Part 1 tells of their passage from Panama
to Cocos island - 7/12th Feb. Click here.
Part 2 covers from Cocos
Island to the Galapagos - 13/18th Feb. Click here:
Part 3 recounts their journey
and Easter Island, and their experiment in traditional navigation
methods, 22 - 28th Feb:
Part 4: Continues the passage
to their arrival at Easter
Island, 1st-19th March: Click here.
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