Well we have finally uploaded the pictures we have taken so far!! They are listed by the islands we have visited but are not organized in order yet. You can see them by hitting the photo album tab at the top of the web page. Posting the pictures turned out to be a real feat with the internet we have here. Barb ended up staying up most of the last to nights working on it. Tomorrow morning we will be leaving and heading for the Tuamotus. The trip will take us about five days, if we have good wind.
Saturday 5/25/13 9:30 08 54.873 S 140 06.079 W http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:08%2054.873S%20140%2006.079W Baie De Taiohae – Nuku Hiva Posting by Barb: It was only an 8 mile sail from Baie Du Controleur to Baie De Taiohae. The bay is fairly long so we had to motor out for a while until we got to open sea. We spotted some more Manta Rays and I think Dennis would have jumped in again had we not put away our Dingy. It was an easy sail with about 10 knots of wind. When we pulled into Bay De Taiohae there were about 40 sail boats here. The bay used to be a volcanic crater and the south facing side of the crater collapsed and created the bay. By chance we ended up anchoring next to the Vancouver couple, Rick and Kira, which was nice as we have a great time with them. We have been in Taiohae for a week and are now moving on. It has been great to have internet again, although not cheap, and we have re-connected with many family and friends. The internet is very slow during the day so we have gotten into a schedule where we are in bed by 7:30 (it gets dark here by 6:30) and we are up at 3:00 am making phone calls and sending emails. Even then, the internet was unreliable. We have walked from one end of town to the other many times and we have found 2 grocery stores (the size of a 7-11), a small hardware store which is behind a counter so everything you need requires a clerk who barely speaks English, 3 restaurants as well as a nice water front dock with a few more open snack bar type restaurants and a few stores. There is also a 3 star resort here which seems to be for the most part deserted. We have gone out a couple of times to enjoy the local cooking and also had a night of Pizza and beer, much to Dennis’s delight. I am still waiting for the place that will serve wings and beer (there seem to be enough chickens running around free to make that possible)! We have also had a movie night out with Rick and Kira to watch some French Polynesia documentaries (one about the nuclear testing in the Tuamoto by the French Government which had English sub-titles and another about locals of Vanuatu attempting to make a living by entertaining tourists with re-enactments of the way they hunted-trapped humans when cannibalism was an accepted practice (this one was in French only but we could interpret the jest of the story line). The best part was that the little theater was air conditioned and for the first time in 60 days we were actually cold! On one of our daily walks we stopped at the dock and watched some local fishermen cleaning their Yellow Fin Tuna fish catch. We wanted to see how they cleaned it and learn from it so we would know what to do the next time we catch our fish. They were throwing the fish remnants into the water and the water was just boiling and churning with sharks all fighting for the fish snacks. There were about 10 of them and all about 5-6 feet long. After that we were extra careful getting in and out of the dingy and climb the slippery ladder to the dock. We decided to take on the project of fixing our Auto Pilot. We will need it for the longer sails. One of the things we had to determine was if it was fixable or whether we would have to purchase a new Auto Pilot. So we tore the boat apart, took out all our tools and emptied out the lasarette which holds our generator, 100 lb’s of spare line, spare anchor and many other important spare parts. Dennis contorted himself into a little ball and crawled into the 4 foot space where the Auto Pilot is located. It was no easy feat to disassemble the base which was corroded and completely seized up and no longer rotating the way it was supposed to (no wonder it quit working). With the help of the internet and a B&G technician in Florida we managed to get the help we needed to bleed the RAM and get it working. The base we took to the Yacht Services who would, for a price, bring it to a mechanic with the right tools (a torch) to make the corroded base rotate again. From there we had to use some creativity to come up with the tools to bleed the RAM. And if you all know Dennis, we creatively fixed the Auto Pilot. Yes, we are good to go! So we have re-filled the propane tank, re-fueled the boat, bought a few fresh vegetables, fruit and French Baguettes and we will be leaving here shortly. We plan to make a one to two night anchorage stop at Bay de Taioa, about 5 miles from here, and then on to the last island we will visit in the Marquesa, Ua Pou. We have a tighter timeline now because we have to get to Tahiti by June 28th as Pat Moriarity is coming for a 17 day visit. Yay!! We are so excited. We welcome visits from friends, especially since our ‘bed bug’ issue is no longer an issue, we think?
Friday 5/17/13 20:30 08 52.874 S 140 02.832 W http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:08%2052.874S%20140%2002.831W Baie D’Anaho and Bai Du Controleur – Nuku Hiva Posting by Barb: We left Baie the Vaipaee at 6:00 am, Saturday on May 11th. The wind was still gusting and I was apprehensive about leaving and having to navigate through the narrow channel but it all worked out ok once we struggled with the stern anchor for a little while. We had a great downwind 5 hour sail. We sailed wing on wing with the Main and the 160. It was a pretty tight course so we could not use the wind vane and so we took turns at the helm. We so miss the auto pilot!! We were joined by a pod of dolphins again and they kept us company for part of an hour. Baie D’Anaho was a beautiful sheltered anchorage with white sand, Coral reefs, sea turtles and mountains. As we motored into the bay it didn’t look like there were any other sailboats there but as we got close we saw the boats anchored around a point. There were about 6 boats there. We decided we should stay here for a couple of days. We got a chance to clean the boat, wash some clothes by hand and socialize a little with a couple from Vancouver and do a couple of hikes. On one hike we went over a steep divide to the town on the other side. It was a 3 hour hike in total. It was a nice little town with a great restaurant. We ate lunch there. We started with a nice cold beer and then I had the Poisson Cruz which is raw fish marinated in lime juice and then tossed it coconut milk with other vegetables such as cucumbers, ginger and little tidbits of carrots. Dennis had curried goat. The food was great. The restaurant was just an open deck and there were chickens and cats roaming around and we were served by a Polynesian lady who ran around in bare feet. This along with the lizards crawling around the ceiling eating the flies made it an interesting experience. On the hike back we got caught in a downpour which turned the trail into a little trickling stream. It was difficult to run down hill on the slippery slope. Dennis did fall and got covered in mud. I, being the conservative one as well, did not laugh, ha ha. Well it was pretty funny!!! The next hike took us to a vegetable garden where we bought some vegetables such as cucumbers, Kale, tomatoes and green peppers. We also bought a little water melon. From there we went to a beautiful beach that had great waves rolling in. We stripped naked and tackled the waves. The white beach was a mile long and other than the large population of small crabs, we were the only ones there. The price we paid for such a beautiful hike was a barrage of ‘no-no’ bites. The next day, after spending every waking moment scratching I tried to count the bug bites and kind of lost interest after the 100th fly bite! They didn’t seem to like Dennis as much. On Thursday we left Baie D’Anaho and sailed to Bai de Controleur. It was a rough sail into the wind and we sailed to close to shore so the waves were erratic and it made for a rough sail. We again could not use the wind vane and took turns at the helm. There were no sail boats here and the anchorage was not as pretty as the last. There was a small town at the head of the bay but the people did not seem as friendly as the locals on the last island. We hiked up hill for an hour to the ruins of an archeological site which had several large tikis and a marae which is a ceremonial platform used by chieftains for worship, burials and sometimes human sacrifices. Although the site had historical meaning it really did not look like much. Tomorrow, Saturday May 18th , we leave here and sail the 8 miles to the largest town in the Marquesas called Taiohae. There we hope to get access to internet and we will have to stock up supplies, propane and fuel for the next 30 days as we make our way through the Tuamotu Archipelago.
Friday 5/10/13 20:30 08 56.418 S 139 34.362 W http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:08 56.418S 139 34.362W Baie de Vaipaee Posting by Dennis: We had a wonderful sail here the night before last. We pulled up anchor around 6:30 in the evening and headed out of Baie Hanatekuua and headed northwest to the island of Ua Huka. It was a great sail with the wind on the starboard beam and the windvane steered us pretty well the whole way, that is with a constant eye on it. We had the 60 mile run in less than ten hours, which got us here at four in the morning. We had to then heave to until it got light, around 6:30, and then wandered in to this anchorage. It is a narrow canyon like bay with vertical sides and shallows up to twenty feet about half way back. After dropping the bow anchor we blow up the dingy and put out a steer anchor so we do not swing into the sides of the canyon and also helps keep the bow pointed toward the opening were the waves come rolling in. And they roll in continuously, they then ricochet off the walls of the canyon and roll the boat this way and that in no kind of pattern at all. So moving around the boat is unusually tricky. You tend to bounce off things more than usual. We went for a hike around the little village, people are very friendly and everyone greets you and waves as they go by. Most of the homes here are very nice and most seem to have fairly new pickups. Where they drive to is beyond me. But the place seems pretty affluent. The water in the bay is really disgusting because everything from the village dumps in there, and I mean everything. The water is pretty much trapped in the harbor and without much tide it does not flush out at all. This afternoon we went for a hike up into the valley. It is very lush. Barb insisted on picking some mangos but in doing so she ended up tumbling twenty feet head over heels before she snagged on a tree branch. I being the conservative one did not laugh as she whimpered over a couple of minor scrapes. I just pointed out a couple of other mangos she should get while she was down there anyway. They were very tasty as we ate them on our march to the top of the mountain. On our way back to the boat we found a little restaurant. The menu was taped to the fridge and consisted of four things, Steak and fries, chicken and fries, Chow Mein, and Raw fish marinated in lime juice. After seeing were they get the fish we decided that would not be a good choice. So I had chicken and Barb had Chow Mein. They were both very good. Mine was barbecued over a split 55 drum and Barbs was chicken and fresh vegetables. I asked the lady about some fruit she had there and ended up with four more Pamplemousse. I love them, we have one every morning for breakfast. Just as we were leaving it started to pour. So we ended up running to the boat when we reach the pier there were four guys that were cleaning a pile of goats they had shot. Wild horses and goats are a real problem here and are the main cause of the land being stripped of its vegetation. They say there are over ten thousand on this little island. The people in the islands here are so friendly everyone waves as the drive by and if you walk by their house they always greet you. I was talking to a guy a few days ago and I asked him if he ever that about leaving his little village of less than three hundred people. He looked shocked and dismayed and asked me why would he. I asked him if he went to town and he said once a year and said it cost about 5000 Polynesian francs, about fifty five dollars. He had no car and worked collecting coconuts. He had a wife and three children and was perfectly content with his life. As I left he gave me three Pamplemousse. I felt bad I had nothing to give in return. It was a very humbling experience.
Wednesday 5/8/13 19:30 09 42.084 S 138 59.572 W http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:09 42.084S 138 59.572W Baie Hanaiapa and Baie Hanatekuua Posting by Barb: Every day brings something new and we keep saying this is the greatest place so far. Monday morning early we arrived in Baie Hanaiapa. There was a neat little town there and we very quickly got our dingy going and headed for town. We walked the shoreline of the town to one end where Dennis found a local sitting under a tree and he went over to be sociable. The man could speak a little English and they talked for a bit while I explored further. When I came back Dennis was eating Pamplemousse (sweet grapefruit type fruit) and had two more given to him ‘to go’. We explored the town some more and on the way back we were invited in to a local house which he called ‘Williams Yacht Club’. The local ‘William’ was an older man and lived simply in a little hut. We were invited in to his porch and were given cold water and bananas. He wanted us to sign his book. He had several notebooks there with hundreds of comments and signatures from sailors and yachters from all over the world. He gave us a full bushel of bananas, a Papaya and a branch filled with little hot peppers to take back to the boat with us. He wanted nothing in return just for us to sign his book! In the afternoon we were relaxing on the boat when Dennis spotted a couple Manta Rays swimming nearby. He very quickly put on his snorkeling gear and jumped in for a chance of a lifetime to swim with the Manta Rays. I first refused to go in with Dennis as it looked a little frightening. They were huge. There were about 7 of them and one in particular was about 10ft wide and much larger than Dennis. I knew if I didn’t go in I would regret it and Dennis would never let me live it down so I jumped in as well. I stayed close to Dennis (hung on to his shirt and nearly drowned him a couple f times when the rays would come very close) and watched the Rays swim about 2 to 3 feet away from us. They would come at us with mouth wide open catching all the plankton and then when they were near they would dive under and turn upside down showing off their white bellies. It was an experience of a lifetime. Dennis even touched the big one and the ray flipped his fin and dove under. I don’t think the ray liked to be that intimate with Dennis. The man has NO FEAR. On Tuesday we headed to Baie Hanatekuua. It was a beautiful bay with a white sandy beach at the head of the bay. We explored the island a little and took a walk into what used to be a coconut plantation. It now seems pretty deserted with only a few isolated locals living there. We took it easy and basically prepared for a Wednesday night 60 mile sail to the island Ua Huka. I cleaned the waterline of the boat and went out in the dingy to take some pictures. While preparing to haul the dingy back on the boat and deflate it for the night sail, I felt a searing pain on my arm and noticed a blue line. I tore it off and the burning where the blue line was just seemed to get worse. It swelled into a big welt. I was screaming at Dennis trying to figure out what the Hell just bit me. He explained that it was a small Portuguese Man-O-War. Dennis calmly told me that the stinging would eventually stop but if it continued he could pee on my arm and that would make the stinging stop. I opted for the pain. When I looked down at the water line of the boat I noticed that these blue creatures where everywhere. I am glad they weren’t there earlier when I was in the water cleaning the scum off. Nature is fascinating. How could such a small sea creature cause so much pain when only the day before we were swimming with 10 ft wide Manta Rays and we were perfectly safe.
So we are now night sailing and off to the next island in 10 knot warm winds on the beam with the main sail and the 160 jib. The stars are out and it is a wonderful sail. We should arrive there early dawn.
Sunday 5/6/13 21:00 09 45.871 S 139 08.453 W http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:09 45.871S 139 08.453W Baie Hanamenu Posting by Dennis: This is the neatest place so far. We got here yesterday just after dark, not a good plan but it worked out ok. The plotter charts for this area are spot on so that helps a lot. You just get up in the morning and go so “so this is where we are”. Part of the reason we were so late in getting in was that we caught another fish. This time it was a yellow tail tuna. Not nearly as big as the other tuna we caught but the perfect size for us. It takes me an hour to clean the fish and then clean up the boat afterwards. I did a lot better job cleaning this one then the last two, they were kind of hack jobs. When we got anchored we rowed over to a catamaran that was anchored nearby and gave them some of our fish. They welcomed us aboard for a drink and stories of our adventures. They were from New Caledonia and said that we would have to come and visit on our way by. This bay is very long and has very steep sides rising almost straight up out of the water. The bay is not all that deep which is great for anchoring. It has a long black sand beach at the end with an abandoned coconut plantation behind it. We spent a good part of the day exploring the ruins and found a wonderful cool fresh water spring that dumped into a cool crystal clear pool. It was wonderful to climb into the pool and rinse the salt off our bodies. The cool water was so refreshing after hiking around in the heat. While hiking around we found the stone platforms from were houses used to be. We also found a pig trap, which is nothing more than a deep pit with palm branches laid over it and then bait is hung over that. Pigs and horses seem to be a problem because they have gone wild and have totally over grazed some islands. Some of the old homes seem to be very well kept and must be used like cabins by the people from town. I talked to a local guy in Baie Hanaiapa and he said four families live there. But when we were there none of them were home so we had the place totally to our selves.
Friday 5/4/13 21:30 09 48.171 S 139 01.857 W http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:09 48.171S 139 01.857W 50 days and 4 anchorages Blog posting by Barb: It has been a while since I posted something on the blog and I guess it is my turn. We have been pretty busy exploring, adjusting to the new time zone and re-stocking the boat somewhat. First I would like to say that we have not been able to get access to internet so other than using SSB emails we are not able to send regular emails, make any phone calls or upload any pictures. Our first anchorage in Bai Hanavave, Fatu Hiva was beautiful. The bay is surrounded by mountains and volcanic rock. The top of the mountain is usually cloud covered and makes the island look exotic and interesting. There were about 15 yachts there. The people were friendly and the local kids came flocking to the dingy all wanting a ride to ‘look at boat’. We had no money so we couldn’t buy anything although we looked enviously at the other boats that had all kinds of bananas and other fruit hanging outside in their cockpit. One couple from another boat did give us some ‘grape fruit’ type fruit. Looks like grapefruit but it is much sweeter and not at all bitter. We hiked to the 200 ft ‘waterfall'; Dennis got chased by a wild dog that backed off when I got nasty with him. We socialized with a few cruisers that came by for a visit in their dingy. Our second anchorage was in Baie Hapatoni, Tahuata. We were the only boat there. We shared the bay with a young Polynesian boy that had a hut there and was basically living off the land. We snorkeled (saw a baby shark), cleaned the bottom of the boat from layers of algae and barnacles and basically enjoyed the no stress peace and quiet. When we left we were escorted out by a pod of about 25 dolphins. Our third anchorage was in Bai Hanamoenoa, Tahuata. There were about 6 yachts there. When we were anchoring I spotted a large Manta Ray swimming around the boat. Apparently they show up every morning and people go snorkeling with them. At the head of the bay there was a beautiful white beach. We took the dingy to the beach, walked some and then went snorkeling. We found lots of beautiful tropical fish but most of the coral that we did see was dying or dead. It’s sad to see that. Our forth anchorage was in Baie Atuaona, Hiva Oa. There were about 20 yachts here but in the last day most have left. A young American couple travelling with kids greeted us in their dingy as we were anchoring and they gave us a Baguette and after 10 days with no bread it was heaven to us!! We finally got through customs here. Dennis already talked about some of our adventures here. I will add that on one of our hikes he was accosted by a tied up horse. The horse let me by the trail but he refused to let Dennis pass. He head butted Dennis and then slightly reared up on his two hind legs. The horse’s actions may have something to do with the stray dog following him. Dennis seems to have this love-hate relationship with local animals. We found a place where we could stock up on some fruit. We followed a sign that said ‘fruit for sale’ and ended up at this run down cottage house where we were welcomed by a small, mild mannered man and his 300 lb rough, overbearing wife dressed in a scant bikini. They invited us to sit and chat (no hurry they said) and Dennis followed the man around their fruit farm collecting fruit while I got eaten alive by flies and made small chat with the wife. At first I feared that at any moment the Machetes were going to be pulled out and we would be history, but that did not last long and I got to hear her whole life store while Dennis went about harvesting fruit. So we are $20 poorer but we have a lot of bananas, mangos and sweet grapefruit. He even threw in some weird fruit that when cracked open reveal a nut that tastes just like ‘Almonds’ (she noted that her father mixed them with chocolate and they were delicious!!). Tomorrow we head out to other anchorages. We have 90 days to explore French Polynesia. Hopefully somewhere we will have internet!
Friday 5/1/13 03:30 09 48.171 S 139 01.857 W http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:09 48.171S 139 01.857W Baie Athauku Blog posting by Dennis: I am having a hard time adjusting to the time it gets dark by 6:30 at night and then is light at 5:30 in the morning. I want to go to bed to follow the sun. I just don’t need twelve hours of sleep. Unlike Chile there are lots of Americans and Canadians here. A couple of days ago we were talking to a couple that were from Vancouver area and were crewing on a Shannon 38 pilot house. It was a 1979 and was still in pretty good shape. You know how everyone always said that I was anal about everything, well, all the boaters that make it here seem to be anal too, I fit right in. Barb and I decided that if you are not a little anal you just won’t make it this far. The islands here at truly beautiful. They tend to be so lush and green. The people seem to have a lot of pride in their homes and yards. I am amazed at the number of cars, considering that there is really nowhere to go. Here on Hiva Oa there can’t be more than thirty miles of roads and everyone has Landrovers and I even saw a Hummer. Last night we were walking to the restaurant to have pizza when a woman stopped and offered us a ride. It was an old rusted out Susuki that I climbed into the back of and Barb got the front seat. As we chugged up the mild hill and when around a corner Barbs door flew open, the woman driving did not seem to pay hardly any attention she just pulled over walked around the car and used both hands to lift the door up as she slammed it closed. Any way the two mile walk turned into an adventure all on its own. The pizza was great, the first time we have eaten out in six weeks. We have hired an agent to get our paperwork through customs. It seems like that is the easiest way to get it done and that way we are hoping that we will not have to post a bond. Everyone uses the same woman and you just call her on the VHF radio and she comes down to the harbor and you fill out the paper work. After that we headed to the bank to get some Polynesie Francaises, but it was just after twelve and they were closed until 1:30 so we wondered around town. Almost everything was closed until two in the afternoon, it didn’t matter because we did not have any money anyway. Once the bank opened we exchange our cash and then headed to the bakery and bought some fresh baguette and a couple dozen eggs.