Written by David Townsend

5, August 2007

Position 13°39’399S 157°26’050W

On-route to Suwarrow Island, Cook Islands, South Pacific Ocean.

Hi dear friends, thank you for following my journey. Here is this week’s update.

As Pinta and her crew embark on their third year of this voyage we arrived in Bora Bora.

In the beginning there was the god Ta’aroa. He created the islands; first among them was Bora Bora Fanautahi, an island surrounded by motus (coral islets). He also gave birth to the demigods, among them Maui, whose footprint travel’s may have seen on the reef off Tahiti, and Ru, the navigator. Ru tried to lift up the sky to relieve the darkness. He succeeded only partly, because hunchbacked from the effort, and ruptured himself so badly that his intestines floated away to settle forever as clouds above the mountains of Bora Bora. These are called rua nu’u a Ru.

Hiro, the sorcerer, kept a hideout on the southern tip of Toopua, one of the encircling islands of Bora Bora lagoon. He tried to steal the island one night and was about to hurl a chunk of it away when the cock crowed. Since Hiro’s powers worked only between sunset and the cockcrow, he was thwarted in his purpose; he abandoned his double canoe and fled.

For those that want to checkout Bora Bora (on the internet etc), you can see Toopua-Iti, this is the chunk of land Hiro tried to steal, and the parallel rocks between it and Toopua are called Hiro’s canoe.

The turtle stone, ofai honu, mated with the cliff of Mount Pahia to begin the royal dynasty of the island in the person of Firiamata o Vava’u, a great navigator. The island Vava’u in the Tonga group may also take its name from Firiamata, and there is other legends evidence of the Tongan connection.

Bora Bora came to be known as a great warrior state, conquering numerous nearby islands and some not so nearby. Her military strength stemmed in particular from her warrior’s ability to achieve surprise; this they did by muffling the paddles of their canoes, staging swift, silent, nocturnal raids. Some say Bora Bora means “fleet of canoes with silent paddles”.

When Ru returned from his great journey to New Zealand in the canoe Te apori, the voyage was immortalised in this chant;

O Ru, what land is this rising upon the horizon?

It is Porapora, let its watchword be,

Porapora the great, the first born,

Porapora with the fleet that strikes both ways,

Porapora of the silent, muffled paddles,

Porapora of the pink leaf,

Porapora the destroyer of fleets.

Life Onboard:

I have added the above for on checking out where I should visit in New Zealand; I found the harbour that Ru used (Cook sailed passed it not realising it’s importance). I shall let you know more about this great legend when I arrive there in November.

After spending five days in Bora Bora we depart on-route for a very small island, Suwarrow Island. This is now a national park, so to preserve it’s beauty.

The passage so far has been very slow in light winds, calm seas. This I do not mind so much for it gives one the opportunity to appreciate the South Pacific Ocean and the heavens above.

We were originally going further south however the Southern convergence zone has been heading that way causing nasty winds. I decided, like always to go where the wind would take me (nicely).

I caught my first Barracuda this week; normally you cannot eat these for they contain toxins from reef fish that they have eaten however out here in the open sea they are supposed to be safe. If you hear from me next week you will know this not to be true.

The Boat:

The engine-cooling pump is working well, as is Pinta on the whole.

Fair winds, calm seas.