Sailing Tahiti to Australia | Leg 2: Mo’orea to Bora Bora

Gamble Family Adventures and Travel Blog | Jana

by Jana Gamble

September 25, 2021

sailing mo'orea to bora boraIt took us about 24 hours to get from Mo’orea to Bora Bora on August 28 2021. Like the rest of French Polynesia, Bora Bora was in COVID lockdown, and we spent a  week there waiting for our departure paperwork to go through all the requisite bureaucratic channels. This required multiple trips to the local gendarmerie (police station), where Grant quickly befriended the two kind and helpful officers, Alex and Bruno.

We made trips to get water, fuel and provisions, but apart from that we had to stay on the boat. We passed the time snorkeling (saw a giant moray eel!) and inventing new water sports.

Once we received our exit paperwork, we were finally free to leave for Fiji.

We made trips to get water, fuel and provisions, but apart from that we had to stay on the boat. We passed the time snorkeling (saw a giant moray eel!) and inventing new water sports.

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Sailing Tahiti to Australia | Leg 4: Fiji to Brisbane Passage

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Sailing Tahiti to Australia | Leg 3: Bora Bora to Fiji Passage

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After having waited in French Polynesia for two and a half months, we excitedly sailed out of Bora Bora around 7:30 am on Saturday, September 4th. Like the rest of French Polynesia, Bora Bora was in COVID lockdown, and we had spent the last week waiting for our departure paperwork to go through all the requisite bureaucratic channels. This required multiple trips to the local gendarmerie (police station), where Grant quickly befriended the two kind and helpful officers, Alex and Bruno.

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After one year and ten days, we were finally reunited with our puppies, 10-year-old Labradoodles, Mackie and Paigie, and 4-year-old Great Dane, Phoebe.

In the summer of 2020, as COVID was raging through the world, we decided to sell our home in Virginia, move into a 40-foot motorhome named "Thelma," hitch our Jeep "Louise" to her and hit the road.

We had no idea where we were going or how long we'd be traveling. Our kids, Jack, then 16, and Ellie, then 14, were doing school virtually and us parents were working remotely. Mackie, Paigie, and Phoebe had lived their whole lives on our property and we had no idea how they would fare in a "tiny house on wheels" living situation.

We traveled 10,000 miles through 21 states, visited 11 National Parks and spent 3 months over the winter living on the beach in Mexico. It was a trip of a lifetime and we loved it.

In June 2021, we sold Thelma and Louise and bought Hanavave, a 38-foot 2002 Fountaine Pajot catamaran in Tahiti. We decided to relocate our family to Australia, but at the time the only way to get there was by boat.

The puppies had to stay in Washington State and begin the long and cumbersome importation process into Australia. The minimum period is 6 months since the first test and since we had begun the process two months before, we figured that we were saying goodbye for a maximum of four months. It was a very difficult decision, but their caretaker, Colleen, is an amazing lady and we knew that she would take wonderful care of them. Saying goodbye to the puppies was one of the hardest things our family has ever had to do.

Little did we know that it would be a year and ten days before we'd see them again.

Our sailing trip was complicated by the fact that as soon as we arrived in Tahiti, all ports in the South Pacific closed due to the quickly-spreading Delta variant of COVID. This meant that instead of island hopping, we had to make long passages to Australia and there was a lot to be done on Hanavave to prepare her for that journey. We made it to Brisbane in mid-October, but it would take another 8 long months to get the puppies to Australia.

They arrived on June 1, a year to the day we left them.
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