Sunday, May 29, 2011

Makemo

Sunday 5/29/2011

Well, we have waited out a storm front here in Makemo for a week. It has been very (max of 40kts) windy. But, it has also been a real treat to be tied up to the wharf here - especially since it is free!!! We did not expect to be able to be at a dock until Hawaii in November. So way cool for us. The local people here are very friendly, and the cruising boats here have provided unlimited entertainment for the local kids. Just goes to show that not much happens out here on Makemo!! Josh is picking up a little bit of French with the help of his friend Francois from Calou. The rest of us are getting a lot of practice as well, as English is not spoken very much. Really it is good for us to be immersed, so we learn faster.

As I said earlier, we have gotten a lot of projects done, only have three left on the list - finish rebedding a stantion, run Josh up the mast to fix the wind vane (definitely not something to be done in high winds, and we may have to forgo for now), and sew some straps onto a pad to protect the dinghy from the windvane when it is on the davits. The generator pump is fixed (finally, was not a straightforward process), the dinghy is patched and floating (finding a weather window to get that done was also a challenge) and I have done a lot of mending with the sewing machine. I even made sword scabbards for the 2 little boys on Charade and Calliopyge (the 2 French boats at the dock). My biggest chore remains laundry. I try to keep caught up, otherwise it gets overwhelming. But, all the sheets and towels are now freshly laundered. Now all we have to do is make water to refill the tank I emptied to get it all done.

Yesterday I went snorkeling in the afternoon, right off the boat. It is so clear and there is a reef just on the other side of the dock. I saw lots of cool fish - the coolest being a common lionfish - and one small black tip reef shark. It was nice to get in the water. Dennis had the kites out, and then took the kayak out. Josh helped with a lot of chores and then hung out with Francois. Surprisingly it has been pretty cool. Maybe we are just acclimated, but I actually had to wear a jacket to sit in the cockpit last evening. It is still pretty windy, but seems to be calmimg down a little bit. It will do what it will do I guess, we just have to wait and see. We are ready to move on though so hopefully.......


Saturday, May 28, 2011

May 28, 2011

 

05/24/11

(5/15-5/16) Spent two nights in Daniel's Bay - our last stop on Nuka Hiva.  It was a nice anchorage with a hike to a waterfall.- 2000ft high,  Very impressive! It was a pretty easy hike with a fresh water swim and shower at the waterfall.  We had a little picnic with Doug and Carla then hiked back.  For whatever reason, Josh and Francois did not wear swimsuits, so did not swim.  When they got back to the beach Josh swam out to Calou to get their kayak, and he and Francois then paddled out to the boats.  Thankfully it was an easy dinghy landing and launch, and we got back to the boats safe and sound.  We did supply the local mosquitos and no-nos with a feast, and we are still itching.

5/17 - We were up and at em pretty early to leave for Ua Huka - about 24 miles from Daniel's Bay.  We had a good sail, another less than stellar anchoring experience, but finally got settled in the Northeast anchorage.  Sorry I can't remember the name, and probably can't spell it even if I could remember it, but it is the 3rd largest town in the Marquessa's.  Nice place, lots of good places to provision.  Wednesday we went in exploring, and to scope out the markets.  At one of them I tried in my very bad French to ask a young girl if she knew anyone who would trade for fruit.  After much confusion, the lady with the girls said that she had fruit, and we could come by her house the next morning.  We bought some breadfruit and mangos from a house a little further down the street too.  That night we ate pizza out - was really pretty good, and not too expensive.  The next morning Doug and I trekked in at 0545 to get bread.  We actually scored pretty well - baguettes and sandwich loafs.  Then at the dock we were able to catch some fresh tuna (amazing what bites on a 500 franc note :) ).  At 0800 we all went back in to get fruit.  We weren't really sure where we were going, but figured we would see the lady, and she would recognize us.  We got limes, starfruit (not my favorite) and pamplamouse and when we asked how much, she wouldn't take anything!!! Much to our dismay, we did not get her name, but on our way back thru this fall, we plan to stop by with a gift for her.  Since we had accomplished all we set out to do, we (Evergreen and Moondance) decided to head out for the Tuomotus.

We left about 1030 am on Thursday, and by 1030 am on Friday we had gone 166 miles - a personal record for us.  We were on a reasonably comfortable point of sail, and moving along.  Josh took the 6p to 9p watch, and helped out a lot during the days.  Friday and Saturday were pretty uneventful pretty fast, did another 160 miles during the second 24 hours.  Saturday afternoon we started seeing squalls, so we ended up slowing down and we brought in the big jib.  I had 2 squalls during the first 2 hours of my watch Saturday night, after that I could have put out the big jib, but decided not too as I would have had to wake someone up to help me furl it if another squall came through.  Made it to Makemo late Sunday afternoon, was close.  The pass into the lagoon looks huge until you are in it and realize that the channel is narrow, and even at slack tide the water is squirrely.  Dennis did a great job  steering through the crazy water - reminded us of the passes in the San Juan Islands.  As we were coming through the pass into the lagoon, Calou hailed us on the VHF - they beat us by about 3 hours, having left just behind us on Thursday.  The next surprise was that we were able to tie up to the wharf here.  What a luxury to be at the dock!  No power or water, but no big deal there - we make our own.  But to be able to step off the boat onto land - Wow, we weren't expecting that until we hit Hawaii in November. Moondance did not make it in to the lagoon until the next morning.  We saved them a place at the dock which is now quite cozy.   5 boats all tied up. 

The kids are totally loving it, and this is the first time Josh has actually interacted with the local kids.  This week is a school holiday, so there are kids on the dock all day.  Josh is also loving the water here.  it is just as we imagined it would be -  clear and so pretty.  It is like we are tied up in our own personal aquarium.  You don't even need to snorkel to see all the fish.  The water is so clear that it is disorienting it seems shallower than it is.  Conning for coral heads is the next new skill on our checklist.  We are also impressed with the provisions available here.  The guidebooks led us to believe that there would really be nothing, but in reality the store here has some of the best selection we have seen to date, and not out of proportionately (sp?) expensive.  Yesterday (Monday) I was able to get avacados and carrots, as well as italian andouille sausage and frozen chicken drumsticks ( a Josh all time favorite).

Monday morning there were 3 boats here at the dock (including us) one left, and then 4 came in.  All boats we know (except one).  So we were pretty busy getting everyone situated and tied up.  The  wind is such that it pushes you away from the wharf, so getting lines to the people on the dock was challenging, but we finally got everyone settled.  As Carla from Moondance said - what is not to like, a dock (free), people on the dock to catch your lines,  a free baguette, and free fish!!  I am not sure who was handing out the baguettes, but the fish (marlin) came from s/v Charade (ginormous catamaran from France).  Seems they landed a huge marlin Sunday, so we all shared in their bounty.  Doug cheffed it up on our grill for dinner that night - YUM!

Tuesday 5/24 - Very windy and rainy today.  Since we are tied up, we are trying to get as many projects done as possible.  Sadly we rubbed a hole in the dinghy on the way here, so it needs repairing.  Currently it is on the dock awaiting a dryer day so the patch can be applied.  It also had a leak in the hard bottom (which probably contributed to the chafing) so the shell was full of water.  After draining it, Dennis resealed it.  I removed the dinghy cover to repair the chafe holes and to add leather patches for added protection.  Then Dennis worked on the generator - switching out water pumps.  We have such awful water pump karma - it just isn't right.  So that turned into an all day project that will overflow into tomorrow.  In the meantime, I repaired the protective leather cover that Roger made for the Hydrovane in Halfmoon Bay in September 2009.  Then it was on to laundry.  Laundry just happens to be my least favorite chore.  I try not to let it pile up because it really is hard work.  I would kill for a good old fashioned wringer!  The highlight of the day though was the morning delivery of chocolate croissants.  OMG  some of the best we have ever had.  The French Baker in Barra de Navidad is nothing compared to this lady.  YUM!  I have told you lately how it is all about the food????

Tomorrow's agenda is pretty full as well.  We ordered loaf bread from the bakery which we will pick up around 0800.  The dinghy will hopefully get its patch, the generator water pump will go back in (sans leak i hope), Josh needs to go up the mast to fix the windvane that the stupid booby broke on the crossing and I need to get the sewing machine out to fix the dinghy cover.  In the midst of all that we have an appointment to look at pearls at 1300.  The dock is great, but feels like work too.  We think another couple of days here, then we will move to the NW side of the atoll (this atoll is 40 miles long) for a day or two then on to the next atoll - TBD.
Saturday 5/28.  Still here, has been howling windy all week.  Calming down today, hope to leave Monday.  Projects are all done except for Josh's trip up the mast.  Not the best thing to do in 30 knots of wind.  More later.  Happy Memorial Day!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

blog post 051411

 5/14/11 Saturday
We have been in Nuka Hiva for a week. Met up with Doug and Carla on Moondance, so have been able to combine socializing with provisioning, repairs/projects and sightseeing.
Carol & Carla enjoy tropical drinks
Had a couple of rolly anchorages after Atuona on Hiva Oa. Hanamenu was nice the first day and we had a great sail there from Atuona. The next 2 days and nights there were rocking and rolling. The freshwater pool was really nice though.
Dennis in the pool on Hanamenu
We left Hanamenu for the next Island to the north - Oa Huka on Friday the 6th. The sail there was pretty nice. We arrived to more rocking and rolling. According to the local kids surfing, this was the time they had had surfable waves in months - lucky us. We were not willing to try a dinghy landing, and neither was Calou, so we left the next morning for Nuka Hiva. On the sail here from Oa Huka we put a small tear in the mainsail, lost a tuna right at the boat and then had to anchor in the dark. Was not one of our better days. Sunday we had to get the hooka out so Dennis could dive on our anchor which had become horribly wrapped in the lines and anchor of a mooring. 2 and 1/2 hours later we were reanchored and settled. Whew!! Things have been much better since then. Taioahe is the name of the town here. It is the biggest town in the Marquesa's. I tried to repair the mainsail myself, but although our machine would have done the sewing, the sail is just too big to move around to get the patch installed. So we ended up having to take it in to the sail loft - got it back yesterday afternoon.
Our hooka has paid for itself in this anchorage - Tueday, Dennis spent several hours in the water helping s/v Whatcha Gonna Do retrieve their stern anchor and search for their main anchor. No luck Tuesday, but they finally picked up the line with a grappling hook on Wednesday. One nice thing about the cruising community, we help each other out.
Wednesday we got up at O dark thirty to go to the vegetable market with Doug and Carla. We got lettuce, tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers, green beans (long and regular) and green peppers. We had 160 liters of diesel delivered on Wednesday too - what a mess getting it into the tanks!!
Thursday we shared a rental car with Doug and Carla and drove to the north side of the island.
Taiohe bay - Nuka Hiva
Had a nice lunch and hike.
Overlooking the anchorage -Nuka Hiva
The hike over to Anaho was not all that long, just steep. The bay is very pretty and has a coral reef which Dennis snorkeled on. I saw a small (less than 2 feet) shark and nearly stepped on a pretty big stingray, all in water less than knee deep.
shoppers take a rest



Friday we got our provisioning done before we returned the car. I think we bought something from every grocery store here. The supply ship doesn't come until next Wednesday, so we are having to do without carrots and apples but, we are pretty much set now until we get to Tahiti.
After stowing the provisions I went in and did laundry at the dock. It is nice to be able to use their water instead of water we make, especially for sheets and cotton items.
Today was a lazy day - we got the mainsail back up and that pretty much covered it. This evening we went to a party to celebrate the anniversary of something here. There was local music and dancing. Pretty cool and all over by 9:30 pm.
Doug - phone booths are in odd places
We plan to go to the next bay over tomorrow for a couple of days, then to Ua Pou (next island south) for a day or two, then we will cross to the Tuomotus. That crossing will take 4-5 days. The Tuomotus are atolls. We are looking forward to calm lagoons and clear water - I'll keep you posted.....

Tahoato and Atuona #2

Really enjoyed Tahoata. Did lots of snorkeling and swimming and some socializing.
The beach at Tahoata, opening coconuts
Took the dinghy the 3 miles to the neighboring village. They have a really cool church there. Wish I could describe it properly. It had the traditional thatched roof, but underneath it had tongue and groove wood, a beautiful stained glass madonna and child over the alter and the pulpit was carved wood. Very different.
Cool Church

We also scavenged mangos - yummy. Talk about a sugar rush. We had the by now requisite rain shower, but the clouds and rain keep it cool. One thing about the Marquessa's we have noticed is how neat and tidy everything is. It is unbelievably clean. A real change from Mexico. Left Tahoata for Atuona on Hiva Oa on Wednesday. We still needed to pick up our duty free fuel paper and get fuel. The boat with fuel was due in on Thursday morning.
Thursday morning came, and sure enough a big boat in the little harbor. The Arunui 3 is a combination freighter/cruise ship. Carries about 100 passengers. And we lost our passengers to it. Mark and Vicki were able to get a cabin on it, so off they went. Sure seemed quiet on the boat after they left.
Friday we were supposed to take a tour of the island, but turns out they were doing some blasting on the road, so we postponed until Saturday. In the meantime we took a hike to some petroglyphs, scored some limes and bananas. Was a pretty buggy hike, and we didn't find the waterfall that was supposed to be there, but there was a new fence in place, so that is probably why.
Saturday we took our tour around the island. Went to the ruins of a village - was pretty interesting. Then we took a long almost 4 wheel drive ride to the north side of the island to see "big tiki". The drive was actually amazing. These islands tend to have two distinct climates windward and leeward. Windward is drier and sunnier, more desert like, and leeward is tropical - rainy and humid. The big tiki was very cool. We also bought more pamplamousse and bananas and limes. Pamplamousse (like grapefruit) is a new staple in our diet.

Josh with the King Tiki, beheaded soldier tiki on right
Sunday I did some laundry on shore - they have a great water supply, so I took advantage of it. We bought some internet - very pricey. 4.00 per hour. It was Pascal's Birthday (from Calou) so we helped her celebrate with pizza out and chocolate cake at their boat afterwards. Again yum!
Monday, more laundry - its never ending, but doing it myself is so much cheaper. We had linen and towels done for us, Wow! cost as much as a whole season's worth in Mexico. Oh well, won't be doing 24 days worth again. Josh also had his hair cut by the girl on the boat next to us. She did a very nice job. Not too expensive either.
Today (Tuesday) we left for for a new anchorage on the NW side of Hiva Oa. Is pretty nice, and had a good sail over. Water is not as clear as we had hoped, but at least it is not crowded. We hope to see Calou here tomorrow, then on to Oa Huka in the next few days.