Manihi Atoll - Tuamotu

Posted 29 May 2011

This week that we spend in Manihi Atoll flew by so fast. It is so beautiful here. We spend the week exploring the Atoll, snorkeling to look at the coral and fishes with our friends Ib and Yadranka from s/v Aeolus. We were invited for a Tuamotuan picnic on the beach at the blue lagoon by Fernando and his friends. The blue lagoon is on the eastern side of the Atoll about 15 nm from the entrance. The water is so clear, is looks like a swimming pool. We had great fun learning the local way of doing things, from making salad from the palm tree and greens for a green salad, making bread from the old coconuts, grating coconuts and making a fire using the coral stones as charcoals. We had a feast and was lucky for a visit by the black tip reef sharks that swam close by eating the fish bones we threw for them.

We have a small problem with the outboard, looks like the impeller, lucky we have spares. We will look at this tomorrow morning and then heading for Apataki Atoll on Tuesday morning 31 May. Apataki Atoll is about 50 nm from here.

On route to Manihi Altoll - Tuamotu

Posted 23 May 2011

We left early Wednesday morning 18 May for the 480 nm to Manihi Atoll. It just happened that six of the boats that left that morning formed a little net between each other, checking in once per day on the SSB radio. We had perfect sailing conditions all the way, the wind was blowing between 10 and 15 knots with calm seas. It took us 4 days to reached the Atoll, but we had to slow the boat down to arrive in the morning instead of night time. This was the only time that we were uncomfortable, as the reduced sail cause the boat to roll more.

The Tuamotu Archipelago are low lying islands with reefs and strong currents, so a person has to be careful navigating in these waters. We were 3 boats that entered the pass in Manihi Atoll on Sunday morning 22 May. S/V Tiger, then s/v Aeolus and then us. The pass was quite easy and we could clearly see the coral. Beginners luck we got our anchor stuck on a coral head. Will have to dive to loosen it if we can not manage to get it loose by engine and patience alone. We have been told that 80% of boats in this anchorage have the same problem, so we do not feel too bad.

Ua-Pou Island - Marquises

Posted 22 May 2011

As we approached Ua-Pou Island we noticed several pinnacles on the mountains and also a more dry vegetation. A beautiful island. We were later told that this island is one of the driest islands in Marquises and that the water supply is shutdown 3 times during the day at times.

We found the people the most friendly here, for example, Dinis asked a lady where we can find a restaurant as he would like to get a beer and some food. She told us that the restaurant is closed as it is Sunday, but it would be open later in the evening. She then offered us some grapefruit, oranges and lemons and drove us to her house to pick the fruit up and then took us for a drive through the village.

The next morning we left this anchorage for another anchorage on the same island. We were 9 boats anchored in this bay, most waiting for the wind to pick up for the Tuamotus. We were invited for a traditional meal at a local resident and his family. This was great, all together we were 8 sailboats that joined in the festivities. That night we ate until we could no more, the food was lovely and everyone had a great time. The host and his family did some traditional dancing. Later when everyone had eaten the fun started, all the men had to learn the 'Pig Dance'. We were in hysterics and I took several photos and videos (which I can only post when in Tahiti), then it was the ladies time. We had to do some traditional dancing mimicking our host's daughter, looked easier than actually doing it. Then is were the children's time.

We were glad that the next morning the wind still did not pick up as most of us needed some more sleep and preparing the boats. We got the dinghy all washed and stowed.

The next morning Wednesday 18 May, 7 boats left for the Tuamotus from this anchorage.

Nuku-Hiva Island - Marquises

Posted 19 May 2011

Baie de Taiohae is a big bay and we had no problems finding a spot to anchor. We were glad to see our friends Ib and Yadranka from s/v Aeolus at anchor in the bay. We last saw them in Hiva-Oa. We spend a few days exploring the beautiful village, done some provisioning and trying to sort out the internet and our gmail account problems. Unfortunately singing on to our gmail in Hiva-Oa caused us having to verify our account by cell phone (which we do not have) as gmail security detected that we signed in from an 'Unusual Location'. Only in Tahiti will we be able to resolve our email problem, and will then be able to read and send emails.

On Thursday May 12, we motored to Baie Hakaui (Daniels Bay), which is just 5 nm east on the same island. The bay is hidden and just as a person think there is no bay, this magnificent bay opens up. Very protected and beautiful. Our friends from s/v Aeolus and Kittywake were also anchored in the bay.

The Marquisan people are very proud people and in this specific village we were told by Augustine (local resident) that the people still prefer no electricity. Augustine is a very interesting person, he is a hunter (hunting wild goat and pig) and also do wood, bone and stone carvings in his spare time. We had the pleasure in meeting him.

That evening all the boats at anchor and Augustine went for a beach party. Everyone brought something to eat and drink. It was a lovely evening. Most cruisers done the walk to the waterfall, only Kittywake and us did not yet, so we decided to do it the next day. The following morning we had a great walk, but only made it halfway to the waterfall. We were eaten alive by the mosquitos. On our way back we picked up our fruit that Augustine prepared for us.

We stayed another day watching the weather for our crossing to the Tuamotus. There was not much wind so we decided to sail 25 nm south to Au Pou Island.

Fatu-Hiva Island - Marquises

Posted 15 May 2011

We had a boisterous sail from Tahuata Island to Fatu-Hiva Island with head winds 15 to 22 knots, which caused us to sail slightly south east of the island, took us 11 hours to finally reached the island. This was well worth it, as the anchorage was the most spectacular and beautiful.

The following day we met up with Mary and John from s/v Kittywake and Gary and Sue from s/v Yaringa to explore the village and also make the 1 and 1/2 hours walk to the beautiful waterfall and natural pool. Dinis negotiated with Christian (local resident) for fruit for us and we also bought a small tapa drawing from Christian for the boat.

Our trek up to the waterfall were fun with lots of laughter and jokes, so it took no time to get there. When we reached the waterfall and pool, we were surprise how cold the water was. Needless to say took us awhile before we were all in the water. It was refreshing and we were enjoying the swimming and just relaxing in the water. We saw fresh water shrimp and a eel. The eel was quite tame and not scared of people.

Our trek back was much easier and back in the village we got our fruit from Christian. We said our good buys to John and Mary as they were leaving the next day. We spend another day at anchor preparing for our overnight trip to Nuku-Hiva which is 128 nm north east of the island.

S/V Yaringa and ourselves left on Sunday 8 May. S/V Yaringa headed towards Tahuata Island which is on-route to Nuku-Hiva. We tried to make a phone patch via the ham radio to South Africa to wish my mom a happy Mothersday, but unfortunately my mom could not hear us, although her voice came load and clear over the radio. "Ma, hoop ma het 'n lekker Moedersdag gehad". We are struggling with internet services here in French Polynesia.

We arrived Monday 9 May midday in Baie Taiohae (capital of Marquises) Nuku-Hiva Island.

Hiva-Oa, Marquises

Posted 3 May 2011

We arrived on a overcast and rainy day at the beautiful Hiva-Oa island. The bay was packed with 19 sailing boats all anchored with bow and stern anchors. We were lucky that one boat left just before we arrived and had a spot to drop the anchor.

We pumped the dinghy the next day and headed into town to check-in. Dinis used his Portuguese passport and required no bond, so off to the bank we went to pay the bond for me. I had some trouble with my ATM card and could not withdraw the money for the bond. We decided to try again the following day and went for lunch and then back to the boat.

The following day we had more success with the money and paid the bond. All non-European union people have to pay a bond which is equivalent to a air ticket price back to your home city, which will be refunded when you check-out of French Polynesia. We went back to the 'Gendarme' to complete our check-in. This was the easiest and cheapest check-in, all we had to do was paying the bond, filling out a form and paying 70 cents for a stamp at the post office to send the paperwork to Tahiti.

We were very impressed with the town and the people, again very clean and very friendly. It helps that Dinis speaks French, although most people understand English. The only shock for us was the prices, everything on the islands are expensive, about double the price compared to the Canadian dollar. For example I bought 2 lettuce, 6 cucumbers, 5 grapefruit and 1 cabbage for about $20. We needed fresh vegetables and were lucky that a supply ship came in the previous day, so we managed to stock-up again. We also found some very nice New Zealand cheese that needs no refrigeration.

On Sunday 1 May we did a tour of the island with Jo and Rob from S/V Blue Moon. We visited 3 archeological sites, went for a traditional lunch and enjoyed the rugged driving conditions around the island.

We left this morning, Tuesday 3 May for Baie Hanatefau on Tahuata Island, about 14 nm from Hiva_Oa.