A little bit of paradise

We left the north-west anchorage on Hiva Oa to begin exploring the other islands of the Marquesas Island chain. First logical choice was the island just a few short miles south of Hiva Oa; Tahuata. 18 miles from where we had been anchored the past few days. Once again we expected to motor the majority of the way down the leeward side of Hiva Oa but would be able to sail once we got near the mouth of the passage between the two islands. Once again, we were proven wrong. We are still learning the local wind patterns of the area. With less than an hour of motoring the sails were up and doing their job. Close hauled and cutting through the wind and waves nicely, we were ailing although not necessarily toward our proposed anchorage on Tahuata. But, I had an idea that the wind would return to our favor as we crossed the opening between the islands and allow us to slowly turn towards our destination, and it worked! The further south of the pass, the more the wind turned us in a beautiful arch to within a reasonable distance from our anchorage where it eventually died off forcing us to motor in to Bay Hanamoenoa.

The waters of the bay were perfection. Crystal clear and clean. We anchored in 30+ feet and could see the bottom with ease. The weather was warm (or hot if you ask Kerri) and I began the daily ritual of getting in the water to clean the sides of Meriwether where she had grown a prickly mustache. It was hard work scraping and scrubbing, but eventually the clean white hull would appear under the rust and algae colored filth.

Kerri and I would snorkel, and explore the white sandy beach over the course of a few relaxing days. We needed this badly after the shock of the 26 day passage across the Pacific. These days were exactly what you come to French Polynesia for, pristine waters and white sandy beaches in a warm climate. Yes! 

The only unfortunate event was that Meriwether got lice. Well, weevils to be exact. The appeared in just a few bags of stored goods, but over the course of the next week we would find weevils and other mites infesting most of our flour, rice, and many of our dried beans. it was a huge loss to our stockpile of food, but not all was lost. We could still feed a football team for months on what we have stored on Meriwether.

We did eventually decide to leave the paradise anchorage to return to Atouna. We still had some supplies to get before heading away from what little civilization there is way out here; primarily more diesel fuel. Enough to fill the tank and all jugs is all. The return trip was not pleasant. Our path would plow directly through the pass we came through a week or so ago. The wind, and sea state, would be in opposition to our direction of travel making for a bouncy ride at best. We didn’t even bother to raise the sails, which in hindsight may have been a poor choice. At least with some wind in the sails the bounce and roll can be mellowed somewhat. Our return to Atouna was to a mostly empty anchorage, so contrasting to how it was just days prior. We anchored in the inner harbor, though there was no less roll. 

We walked into town again (this time properly shoe’d) for more cash and groceries. On our return trip we stumbled upon a baby chick stuck in a drainage ditch along the roadside. With no momma hen nearby the little guy, “Roscoe” (we probably shouldn’t have named him), returned to Meriwether with us while we attempted to find a home for him with the locals. Unfortunately, baby chickens are not highly sought after on the islands. They are plentiful, and more importantly, the are loud little fuckers. Constantly chirping of the high-pitched-air-horn volume. He was hard to live with, for sure. Sadly, Kerri talked with others online in the first few hours of the new crew member coming aboard, and she was warned by all to expect the chick to die. They just give up the will to live without their siblings or momma around, and Roscoe followed suit in the middle of the night… quietly and peacefully. The boat felt sounded so empty for a day or two after. 

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1 Response

  1. Rob says:

    Wow, a good story & pictures of Tahiti!
    I get the impression of a lot of catamarans out there…

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