Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Marking Time in the Marquesas ..... November 2015

25 Oct – 22 Nov 2015:  Taioha’e, Nuka Hiva, Marquesas ~ 8 54S  140 05W

Rugby, Rugby and More Rugby20151024_072006 

With France knocked out of the World Cup Rugby in the Quarter Finals by New Zealand there wasn’t nearly as much interest in the Semi Final game ~ South Africa v New Zealand. 

The big flat screen television had disappeared but beggars can not be choosers, the old 26 inch with the bright reflection of the harbour almost stronger than the picture was as good as we were going to get at 6am, so we settled in for another 90 minutes of spell binding, edge of the seat rugby.  The Men in Black came through again (just) and earned themselves a place in the final, another early start next Saturday for the BIG game!

PA270006How To Entertain Ourselves

With more boats arriving daily a pot luck dinner was organised to meet our new neighbours.  Our venue was interesting, Henri at the Snack Shack happily agreed to the use of his cafe, even though he is open evenings (which we didn’t actually realise because there is never anyone there at night).   We all brought our own food and drink and Henri provided the venue, plates, cutlery and a big smile, what a gem he is. PA300020  

A group of us returned to the Pearl Lodge for Friday Night Happy Hour (when cocktails are a mere $7 instead of $14), again with Jeff & Katie off Mezzaluna, and new joiners Barry & Sylvia off Iolani from USA and Roger & Sasha off Ednbal from Australia.  It is a lovely spot to sit back and enjoy the end of the day in tourist style comfort.

In between all this eating and drinking there was a leaking water tank to fix, gaining access to this was a two man and power tool job, 20151030_133216floors were taken up, holes were made, chaos was created and at the time of writing a 100 per cent fix has not been accomplished ~ suspect this little leak might provide us with many more hours of entertainment yet, what we really need to do is take the tank out but that will not be happening here! 

After extensive onshore excursions we have confirmed that there are no more hidden parts to “town”, what we see is what we get, and that isn’t much!  The upside to this is there is very little to spend our money on, so after a record high 6 month spend for the first part of this year we may have a chance to have a record low for the remainder.

Champions or Runners Up ~ What Will It Be?

Henri promised to bring back the big flat screen for the New Zealand v Australia final, the alarm was set and we were in well before the start to decorate everywhere with our flags but the Aussies got there first, what!  Roger and Sasha had flags everywhere,  in addition there was a charity breakfast on so there were palm fronds around the posts, balloons up and a live band playing ~ the Snack Shack was crowded, children were running round everywhere, music was blasting, this was certainly going to be a lively game in more ways than one!

20151031_062131 20151031_062150  20151031_082152 20151031_062444

 PA315253It was a tense game, but then we expected nothing less.   The All Blacks lead of 13 points at half time did not make us feel confident and a determined fight back by the Wallabies the beginning of the second half had us on the edge of our seats for quite some time.PA315256  Meanwhile the party atmosphere continued around us, the band carried on, Henri’s Snack Shack had never been so busy. 

A couple of quick All Black tries half way through the second half and we were starting to breathe again, but it is never over till that final whistle goes, especially when we play Australia so it was with immense relief and huge pride to see our All Black side become the first team ever to retain the World Cup, well done to our Men in Black and thank you.

20151031_084912Now What?PB060004

With the need to have access to a television over with it was time to give some thought as to what to do now.   There are a few other anchorages on Nuka Hiva that we want to explore but the cyclone season has only just started so we have about 6 months to visit them, should be plenty of time we think! 

Instead we decided to stay the week as we had cruising friend Bill arriving in from Panama,  he was doing a huge delivery trip of a mates boat from the Rio Dulce in Guatemala to Cairns in Australia, around 9,000 miles.  Bill and friend/crew Brett were intending on travelling Panama to Cairns non stop but had engine problems and needed a new starter motor so had organised for one to be sent in here.  PB090008 We had been in radio contact with them for days monitoring their progress and on the morning of their arrival winds were very light and without being able to start the engine they were parked up, just 5 miles away.

We had a quick tidy up below, buoyed our stern anchor, raised our main anchor and motored on out to meet them and tow them in.  But a light breeze got to them before we did (Murphys Law of course) and as true sailors they persevered and managed to sail  right in amongst the boats and drop anchor, well done.    It was great to catch up and a fun night was had onboard, along with Ednbal and another Australian boat Arizona who was passing through.  Next morning the starter motor had been installed, fresh produce, cheese and baguettes were onboard and by 10am they were on their away again ~ Cairns bound, phew, rather them than us!


And so we have stayed in Taioha’e.  There is a constant stream of yachts coming and going, just 15 when we arrived and 48 this morning.  The additional numbers have put a huge stretch on the internet facilities here which at best were poor to start with, if I manage to post this I will be amazed and very happy.  The upside of all the extra boats is happy hours here and there, more pot lucks organised, we have even found a little cafe that opens in the evenings and does a great fish n chips, there may even be a turkey roasted for Thanksgiving. 

PB240017 We are busy doing boat jobs, parts for our generator have been flown in from Tahiti and that is working well once again.  I have been doing a major remake of all our canvas work, replacing all the stitching, clears, zippers and worn panels.  Trying to get this done between rain showers is becoming increasingly difficult, El Nino has moved the convergence zone eastwards so instead of it being the dry season here now we have had rain for around 7 days, we are hopeful this pattern will not continue for the next 6 months.

This weekend there is a festival here, a dress rehearsal for the big 4 yearly Marquesan Festival to be held on Hiva Oa mid December.  We have watched the practice a few times, and hear them every night.  We will stay for the festival and then think about a change of scenery.


If This Is The Dry Season We Are Glad We Didn’t Come In The Wet Season!  

Friday, 6 November 2015

Getting To Know Nuka Hiva ..... October 2015

14 – 24 October 2015:  Anaho to Taioha’e, Nuka Hiva ~ 8 54S  140 05W

PA080015This Weeks Tiki Tour

We stayed happily anchored on the north east coast of Nuka Hiva in Anaho Bay for a few more days, enjoying the peace and flat water.  Another “hill session” over to Hatiheu one morning had us setting a new personal best of 50 minutes one way, something to improve on over the cyclone season when we return there!  (Skippers note: had to wait for Admiral at top!!)

Re-energised after a long black espresso (run out of all manor of milk options at Chez Yvonne's and both stores!) it was time to walk further afield and explore part of the nearby ancient sites.


PA080012Hikoku’a is set in yet another beautiful location.  This was the site of the public plaza and ceremonial centre.  It has been extensively excavated and restored, previously removed tikis (now displayed in various museums worldwide) have been replaced with aging replicas and it was much easier to imagine this as a centre for the large population that once lived here as parts of walls and platforms were still in situ.


PA120004Back Down to Earth

Anchoring the dinghy had seemed a very good idea when we left it ashore at Anaho Bay in the morning at low tide. 

Have the tides really been this high? we commented as skipper waded, then swam out to Douglas the Dinghy who was now happily afloat in about 8 feet of water 100 metres offshore, whoops, won’t do that again!

We spent another couple of days in paradise, skipper occupied himself by making his way around Balvenie searching shade at every opportunity, servicing her winches for another season.


Meanwhile I spent a couple of afternoons ashore with my twin tubs making the most of the excellent piped freshPA120007 water supply ~ doing laundry by hand has never been so much fun, sun scorched hot water and bubbles everywhere, everything washable on Balvenie is now squeaky clean.   Next time I might even pop up a clothes line between the coconut palms, lie back in the shade and wait for them to dry.

Off To The Big City

The quarter finals of the Rugby World Cup were fast approaching and we needed to be able to watch the games live.  Rumour had it that the Snack Shack on the dock in Taioha’e would be showing them so we set sail for the main town in the Marquesas, we were off to support the men in black, our All Black Rugby Team.  

Enroute skipper deployed his new fishing line,PA160025 we had made another investment in extra strong line, hooks and tracers and we even bought a new bicycle inner tube for the bungy while at Ua Pou in an effort not to lose more gear to sea monsters.  Of course the flip side to that is now that we have gear tested to 180 kilos we are somehow supposed to actually land said sea monsters, that could be a problem!  But today we were lucky, a long sleek Wahoo decided to join us for dinner, we had him wound in, onboard and supping on vodka before he knew what had hit him.  Our new line has already paid for itself.

20151025_170151We entered the large open bay of Taioha’e mid afternoon, about 15 other yachts lay at anchor, 3 small local craft were tied to the concrete dock, a couple of two story commercial buildings showed some sign of business life, a few pickups drove along the waterfront road and the sweet smell of woodsmoke wafted out from shore, this was definitely not some sprawling metropolis or even bustling town.

A late afternoon excursion ashore reconfirmed our first impressions, just a couple of local cafes at the dock, a small produce market with souvenir section nearby, less than a handful of other shops, a bank, post office, mini hospital, administrative offices and 2 small groceries were all within short walking distance, any signs of other commerce were not apparent – perhaps on further inspections!  20151017_111855

 Game On

Most importantly we did find what we had come here for.  Henri, the very friendly, rugby loving owner of the Snack Shack at the dock confirmed that he would be bringing in a big flat screen tv and opening at 5am for the 5.30am New Zealand – France quarter final game in the Rugby World Cup.  Music to skippers ears! 

So it was out of bed at dark o’clock and ashore just as the skies were lightening to fly our flags, get front row seats and settle in with a big cup of coffee.  PA235212We were definitely in the minority, this is after all a French Territory.  At half time we were feeling confident but we know these French, anything can happen, half way through the second half it was all going our way, by full time it was a very gloomy bunch of French supporters sitting with us, but we were two extremely happy All Blacks supporters, off to the semi finals, yippee!

A Week to Wait till the Semi’s

We settled in for the week, the anchorage was a little rolly but we had a stern anchor out to minimise the discomfort.  PA230004A large cruise ship came in one day and we were overrun with hundreds of tourists, dance groups performed in the shade, souvenir sellers displayed their wares ~ it was a happening place for a few hours, but then they left and calm returned.

Appointments were made for dentist and physiotherapist visits to fix overdue ailments, the hardware store was found up the valley, free wifi was available in at the Snack Shack, just a shame they don’t serve alcohol as it would be a great spot for happy hour.  Instead we put our glad rags on one night and visited the very upmarket Pearl Lodge for happy hour along with Jeff and Katie off Mezzaluna and enjoyed a wonderful view over the harbour as we sipped on our cocktails.  We finished the evening with pizzas at a small local restaurant.  What more could we possibly want?


Maybe This Will Be Home For The Cyclone Season