[This was sent on June 3rd but failed to post]
Thursday May 31st
Hakehau, Ua Pou
This morning our friends on Rishu Maru and Esperanza left . They
are on their way to the Tuamotus a 4 day sail from here.
Pretty much everyone stops in the Tuamotus when they leave the
Marquesas. They are a large set of coral atolls that lie right
between the Marquesas and Tahiti and are supposed to be very
nice with extremely clear water and wonderful snorkeling and
fishing. We will be heading that way in 3 weeks. We spent most
of the day Thursday trying to get some fruit and buying a few
groceries. There is this odd guy who swims around the harbor
here, just resting on a small surfboard, and asking the sailors
if they need help getting any fruit. We had been saying no to
him, but when we walked over to a house which everyone said was
“the place” to go to get fruit, the swimmer was there taking
down orders. Several other yachters were there – and he said he
would send his buddy up into the hills to get fresh pamplemousse
and bananas and bring them down to the dock at 2:00 p.m.. We
asked for some bananas, and pamplemousse, and then we continued
on our way.
The day before we had gotten about 20 beautiful mangoes in town from someones yard, and we found a gorgeous looking tree outside another house today and asked if we could have some. The woman who lived there was very young and cute and she hopped up onto the fence, and picked a dozen huge mangoes and gave them to us, but with the warning that they probably wouldn’t be too good because they weren’t ripe. We have become used to this, as the locals only eat fruit fully ripened on the trees ( except bananas which everyone picks green). Since we can’t wait around for them to ripen and drop off the trees, we are happy to get the green fruit and let it ripen on the boat. When you pick a hard mango from the tree, an incredible amount of sticky sap comes running out of it and we are sure we are missing out on a lot of yummy sweet mango taste by taking them prematurely but what can we do? We stopped for lunch in one of the two restaurants in the village. The special of the day was chicken paella, which I had, and which I only mention as it is going to come up later in the blog. The waitress at the restaurant doesn’t seem to like us very much but we enjoy eating out since we don’t get a chance to do it very much here so we ignored her rude behavior and enjoyed the food.
We had decided that we would leave for another harbor in the afternoon as the village we were in, Hakahau, was not terribly interesting and we didnt really like the harbor very
much either. The anchorage has a beautiful view, but it is ruined by a cement wall they have running all along the shore, and some construction trucks working on the nearby docks. Just
as we came back to the bay, however, we saw our friends on Intiaq pulling in. We have not seen them for nearly a month since we left Fatu Hiva- so we went over to help them with their
anchor (Vera beat us to it, however), and to say hello. They had just spent the past few days in the nearby harbor of Hakahetau which we were preparing to sail to. I told them that
we had eaten in a restaurant in town that day and Karin totally surprised me by saying, Oh, and didn’t you have chicken paella for lunch? I couldn’t figure out how she could possibly
guess this. It is not a typical dish, I had seen no-one since the restaurant who could possibly know Karin and tell her, and I was pretty sure there was none dribbling off of my chin. How
did she know It turns out that she had been talking to some of the people in the village of Hakahetau, and a young woman had told her that her boyfriend worked at the restaurant in Hakahau and was planning to make chicken paella. So Karin figured, rightly, that was probably a pretty good chance that I was at that restaurant. It was very funny. We were glad to see them, but anxious to move over to Hakahetau, and meet up again with Vera who had just sailed over there.
The fruit man showed up on the dock as planned, but somehow he had messed up the order, and forgot to bring anything for us just for the other boats. So he gave us a small bunch of
bananas for free and said he would bring us fruit the next day if we wanted. We said no, because we were really anxious to leave by then. So at 4:00 P.M. we pulled up our anchor, with Jean Francois helping us pick up the stern anchor, and set off for the nearby bay of Hakahetau. It was a very short distance only about 5 nm, but really stunning. The island of Ua Pou has a beautiful coastline with very huge, very phallic looking peaks jutting up above the green hills. A large pod of dolphins starting swimming with us for the last mile leading to the bay. We hope to take Hannah and Mia here for a few days. We pulled in to the harbor at 5:00 and found that it was empty except for Vera. They invited us over for our second dinner of fresh mahi-mahi.
Friday, June 1, 2007
Today the weather changed and we had a whole day of rain and squalls. Unusual here to have a whole day like that, and there was a lot of wind and swells in the bay. We hung out with Vera on our boat for part of the afternoon, and then just hunkered down to await the storms passing.
Saturday, June 2, 2007
The weather was pretty awful all last night and we were starting to worry about our friends on Rishu Maru and Esperanza. We would not have liked to be out at sea these past 24 hours and we know they are only way to the Tuomotus. Vera touched base with them via their satellite phone, and it has been very rough the worst conditions that Rishu Maru has ever experienced and they have been sailing for 25 years. Vera was supposed to leave today for the Tuomotus, but between the bad weather reports and our discouragement, they have decided to wait until the weather improves. They were really trying to time their arrival in time for optimal tides in the Tuomotus, there are many atolls there that you can (or should ) only enter at low slack tide and in broad daylight so you can see any coral heads that are sticking out. Today would have been the last day in the month that they could leave and arrive in the Tomatoes at low, slack tide, but it is too risky to leave with such big swells and strong winds.
We continue to rock uncomfortably on the boat with this big swell, but we are safe, and there is nowhere else to go right now. Mark and I went into town today as the rain stopped for a
while and we just had to get off the rocking boat. The town dinghy dock is a tough one ? you have to tie a stern line from your dinghy to a float about 30 feet from shore, and then motor
forward to the dock and leap off and tie up to the dock. Because of the big swells in the harbor there were some big waves breaking on the dock, but two local guys helped us tie up
without much trouble at all. We found a very cute, small town, with a tiny little restaurant run’ by a French man and his wife. The restaurant doesn’t have a sign or anything, but a very
friendly local women led us there when we asked her about getting food. The French man, Pierrot, has only lived here a year, but his family is all from here originally, and pretty
much everyone in this little town is his cousin or brother-in-law. He told us to take a walk up to the waterfall for an hour and then come back for lunch, so we did. We had not
expected to walk to the waterfall today. After such heavy rains we thought the path would be muddy and mosquitoey ( which it was), but it was not a long walk ( about 40 minutes each way), and it was nice to have a walk. The waterfall was great with a nice clear pool to swim in. Unfortunately, the mosquitoes were eating us alive, despite the Deet we had applied so carefully, so we did not stay long.
When we got back to town (after collecting a couple of dozen limes on the way), we found a’nicely set table at Pierrot’s for us. His wife and daughters and other family members were all
having lunch at the other table and were very friendly to us. He served us a great meal — quiche, entrecote, frites and broccoli, followed by some excellent French coffee and cut pamplemousse. He sat down with us and we chatted — a good chance for me to practice my French again — and it was really fun. We told him we wanted to arrange for a taxi to take Hannah and Mia to the airport on June 20th, and asked if he could help. He drove us to the home of the taxidriver in town, his brother-in-law and cousin Maurice, and we made an arrangement. We parted with an agreement to come back on Monday to pick up some fruit from him at his house. He gave us an enormous pamplemousse and a half a dozen passion fruit and we said goodbye.
Back at the boat, the weather seemed better and we went off for a snorkel. The whole side of the bay here is a coral reef and it was very clear water. We dinghied over to the reef wall and
dropped our anchor to hold the dinghy there while we swam. When it was time to go we could not pick up the anchor. Mark looked down and saw that the anchor was under a piece of coral 30 feet down. He tried to free it, but it was clear someone had to dive down and retrieve it. So Mark dove down and freed the anchor. Before we could pull away though, it lodged itself under another piece of coral and he had to get in and dive down
again. His ears are hurting now.
In the evening we had Vera to the boat for a “Pride and Prejudice” party. We had told them how much we love the BBC movie of it, and they have borrowed our DVD 3 times already to
watch it, so we decided it would be fun to watch together. We only had the energy to watch the first 3 chapters but may finish it up with them at some later date.
Sunday June 3, 2007
Last night and today the swell in the bay continued to be uncomfortable. By about 2:00 P.M. it seemed to be calming down a bit finally. We went for a great snorkel, and then watched a
huge rainbow appear in the sky just at sundown. Our friends Brita and Michael from Vera came by to say goodbye as tomorrow they leave for the Tuamotos. We have so many pictures we want to share, but we have no internet access at all here, and have not
had any really usable internet access except for a few brief hours in Nuka Hiva. We may have to wait until we get to Tahiti to share the rest of our good photos.