23 Nov – 07 Dec 2015: Taioha’e, Nuka Hiva, Marquesas ~ 8 54S 140 05W
Nothing much has changed in the last few weeks, can’t believe we have already whiled away 8 weeks here, how times flies when you are having fun or doing boat projects! Our first reason (excuse) for not leaving here was that our Australian friends Roger and Sasha on Ednbal were putting together a bulk order for food and drink to be purchased by an agent in Tahiti and shipped up here on the Aranui. They offered us the opportunity to piggy back onto their order so we too did a bulk order and eagerly awaited the ships arrival.
The rain gave us a few hours reprieve, dozens of boxes were unloaded, checked, sorted into who’s who piles, carried to the dinghy, ferried home, unloaded and stowed, all in a long days work! Most food and drink items can be bought here locally (not ginger ale) at the minimarkets (there is certainly nothing as large as a supermarket) prices aren’t too bad considering we are truly in the middle of nowhere, but the convenience of getting all this lot onboard in one go was great. Well done and thanks to Sasha for the hours she spent organising it all.
Next Reason To Stay
With a large contingent of American boats in the anchorage (we have peaked at 59 yachts in here, after only 15 on our arrival!) an evening get together was organised for Thanksgiving, which just happened to coincide with another birthday for skipper. There is a small Pension and Restaurant owned and operated by Rosie, an American woman who sailed here in the 70’s, liked it so much so made her home here.
Mark with Dave & Jan off Dulcinea, Suzy, Dena, Terry, Neil, Barry & Sylvia off Iolani, Distant Drummer & Libby plus there were 2 more tables full, an excellent attendance and evening
Rosie agreed to provide a Thanksgiving dinner, several of us “non Americans” were given honorary citizenship for the evening and we all enjoyed a fine meal of roast turkey & stuffing, chicken, wild goat in coconut milk, poisson cru and a selection of salads, all excellent. However several of us did comment amongst ourselves in amazement that the fruit salad on the desert table was tinned. Fresh fruit drips from every tree on this island, just why they used tinned fruit was beyond comprehension.
Coming up in mid December is the 4 yearly Marquesan Cultural Festival to be held down in Atuona on Hiva Oa. We are still undecided as to whether we sail the 90 miles back down to attend but meanwhile we got to see our very own sneak preview as the dance troupe from Nuka Hiva performed in the Festival of Patrimonie right here on our door step in Taioha’e.
It was a full days entertainment starting with wild pork, goat and vegetables being wrapped in banana leaves and placed in the pre-dug umu (just like a NZ hangi) by 7am, we of course missed this bit, still sleeps time for us! During the morning there were basket weaving classes and a walk of the historical sights with commentary in French and Marquesan so skipped those too ~ but we spent a long hot afternoon ashore sampling the hot steamed food straight from the underground oven, and melt in your mouth fresh tuna caught just hours previously. There were displays of wood carving & tapa cloth making, children played on the beautiful hand crafted drums and a festival atmosphere filled the air.
Late afternoon, with the hot sun beating down, the first performance began, a group of young high school youths ~ tattoos painted on made them look quite fearsome and their warrior dance had the crowd cheering. We were treated to an excellent display of dance late afternoon and early evening but you can’t see it as we were asked not to post photos online until after the festival in Hiva Oa so we will have to post a special edition of festival photos after Dec 15, but I will say that the costumes and dance moves were fabulous.
Time To Move On?
There have been so many boats coming and going, the social activities have flowed, way too much food and drink has been consumed, more happy hours, pot lucks, dinners ashore, dinghy fishing competition (no fish caught, well just one that got away by Libby!), snorkelling expeditions and sundowner dinghy raft-ups.
It is great to be back part of an active cruising community but sadly this is a “scattering point”. We have boats being left here at anchor while owners fly home for a few months, Mezzaluna, Ednbal and several others have departed for Hiva Oa to get prime positions in the small anchorage for the big festival, and newly made friends on Libby, Iolani and Distant Drummer are actively seeking a weather window to head north to Hawaii.
We are definitely not heading to Hawaii, both Skipper and Admiral are in agreement on that one, jury is still out on whether we head south for the big festival or just have a change of scenery in another anchorage here on Nuka Hiva.
Who knows, after 8 weeks in the muddy bottom maybe the anchor just wont come up and we will have to stay put here!
8 days Till The Festival, Best Make Our Minds Up Soon