Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hiva Oa and beyond


Was a looonnngg day to FatuHiva. 35 miles, 10.5 hours. motorsailed the whole way, into the wind. Yuk! But it was well worth it. The scenery here is beyond description - lush, verdant, majestic, oh and did I mention wet? Beaucoup de plui!
Fatu Hiva Ho!

We pulled into the anchorage about 1700, got the anchor set and Josh was gone. Yep, we caught up with Calou and Phambili first kids in 28 days. I think he might have been just a teensy bit tired of adults. Sounds like we lucked out though, it is a small anchorage and we were told 8 boats had left that morning. Would have been very crowded. As it was there were only 5 including us.
Wednesday we got up early for a hike to the next village over (Omoa). Don't really know what we were thinking - a 10 mile hike after a month of zero exercise, and a steep hike at that. It was a beautiful hike, but very hard. It rained lightly on the up portion, which was a blessing, because I am pretty sure if the sun would have been out it would have been miserably hot. We stopped at a nice little covered picnic bench for lunch and a rest and then started the downhill portion into Omoa.
Lunch at the top
At that point we were treated to a full tropical downpour. Did I mention it is a warm rain? The dirt road turned into a muddy river and going was treacherous at times.
Mud, Mud Glorious Mud
We gave up on keeping our shoes dry and clean. What a sight we must have looked as we trudged into the village 5 hours after we started. The village of Omoa is very pretty and again the scenery... There was a cruise ship in the harbor (the Paul Gaugain) and a few tourists braved the rain to come in. They had a display of cultural arts - tapa, wood carvings, pareos, jewelry. Was very cool to look at. We also were able to pick up baguettes (read Josh in hog heaven). The tiny village by our anchorage has a store, but no beer or bread there. The rain had stopped be the time we got to the village, and except for our shoes we dried out pretty quickly. John from Calou had towed over our dinghy, so thankfully we didn't have to do a return hike or pay for a paroque ride home. It is only 3.5 miles by sea. We made it back to the boat in time for a little more rain, but as Josh says after 5 days in the Marquessas he is used to being wet.
Thursday we had a pretty lazy day recovering from the hike. Got a few projects done around the boat, and Dennis spent the best part of the day helping Calou with their refrigeration. They had been without refrigeration since the second week out. At this writing it is not cooling past 30 degrees, so Dennis may go again to see if there is anything else to be done. That night we had a great get together on Phambili. Pot luck and music. Bruce plays the accordion, John plays the violin, and Pascale (Bruce's wife) has an awesome voice (Calou). We had quite the concert.
Dennis resting - Omoa
Sadly as we got up to leave we discovered our dinghy was AWOL. It had been very windy and the painter came undone and the dinghy drifted off. Fiona and Tom from Phambili took their dinghy all around the anchorage, but no luck. So we gathered everyone back on board Evergreen, pulled anchor and went searching for the proverbial needle in a haystack. By that time it was about 0100. We spent the rest of the night following a path we thought the dinghy might have drifted. We had to take into account wind direction and current. It was a pretty rough night. By daylight we had seen nothing, were tired and discouraged, about 0630 we turned to head back to the anchorage. About 0830 I woke Josh to come and keep watch as I was beginning to hallucinate. Not 20 minutes later he yells "there it is", and sure enough 5.5 miles from the anchorage there was our dinghy bobbing around in the waves.
dinghy Ho!
We came about, lowered the main, and were able to retrieve the painter on the second try. That dinghy has a charmed life. It is really unbelievable that we found it. Also weird is that it was upwind of the anchorage. The winds over night had maxed at about 20, and we saw up to 30 on the way back in. Totally crazy that the current had more of an affect than the wind. But, we are not complaining. We brought our tired and grateful selves back into the anchorage, set anchor and fell into bed (about 1130). That afternoon we took the wayward little dinghy into the village in search of pamplamousse (grapefruit). We were able to buy some - 4 large pamplamousse and a coconut for 600 francs (roughly 7USD). They are good though.
Saturday we set off for Tahoata. Had a good downwind sail and made good time. Arrived around 1530. Now this is what I imagined when I dreamed of French Polynesia. Clear tourqouise blue water and sandy beaches. The kid boats are anchored close by - life is practically perfect. Had a good swim - the first real one since we have been here. Were supposed to have a bonfire on the beach, but the rain decided otherwise. Josh spent the night on Calou, and here we are.
Sunday - Happy Easter. Hard to believe it is Easter. I did not plan for it in my provisioning either, so no easter baskets this morning. Phambili is heading out today, they have family coming and have to get to Rairitoa (sp) to meet them. We will be here a few days, then head back to Hiva Oa - I'll keep you posted.
The whole wet, tired crew (L-R Francois, Anina, Naomi, Fioan, Cam, Josh, Tommy, Carol,Dennis and Vickie not shown Bruce,Mark and Antoine)


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