The past days have been very pleasant, indeed. We left Anaho Bay at midnight between the 23rd and 24th, hedging our bets that an early morning arrival at the popular anchorage of Taiohae would give us access to an open market. We wanted to find something a tad special for a Christmas meal – otherwise it would be pasta or rice again. We anchored at about 07.30 and went ashore soon thereafter. There were more than a dozen other boats in the anchorage. Our bets paid off and we found a good market and a very friendly little village in this, Nuku Hiva’s most densely ‘populated’ bay. Danny seemed to enjoy revisiting this, his first landfall in Polynesia after a long passage down from Mexico on “Leeway”, back in May. He even found free unrestricted internet to skype with family and his girlfriend. 🙂
On Christmas day, we pulled up the anchor again and headed west – about five miles down the rocky coast to another Bay, called Tai Oa. More specifically, we wanted to visit the eastern lobe of this double-lobe bay, also called Hakatea. In fact, many cruisers call this place Daniel’s Bay, after a friendly Marquesan who lives there. We never did meet him, but the bay is quite breathtaking – perhaps the loveliest after Virgin’s Bay in Fatu Hiva (that we visited in August after the passage from the Galapagos). The western slopes, quite steep and exquisitely carved by erosion, are quite reminiscent of Kauai, or perhaps some scene from “LOST”.
When we arrived, there were two other boats, catamarans, already anchored nearer to the head of the bay in shallower water. But not long after we arrived, more boats started arriving. I suppose everyone wanted to spend Christmas in this lovely spot! By the end of the day, three more boats arrived – two more cats and a monohull – and on the 26th another boat pulled in too. With 7 boats on their hooks, the little anchorage now felt almost crowded! On a curious note, one of the boats was a very distinct catamaran called “Post Scriptum”. The first thing one notices about this boat is the excellent quality airbrush painting that adorns the topsides of both amas, or hulls of the double-hulled boat. It’s unusual to see a boat painted like that. There are a number of specific scenes, including jumping dolphins, a palm clad beach in paradise and one that even sports a kind of puffin or penguin bird, harking to islands in higher latitudes. The painting appears to be very well done. Anyway, we had already seen this boat, more than a year before – in Tobago! They shared the anchorage with us in Pirate’s Bay, up on the northeast corner of that Caribbean island. When I went over to say hello in Taiohae, they said that they remembered our boat too – even though we don’t have any elaborate painting! – and went one further: they remembered our boat also from Salvador, Brazil, back in August and September of 2009! Small world this cruising world, that’s for sure.
Our Christmas feast consisted of a barbeque! What else, right? Still it’s one of the more special meals we can do on Walk On and so it fit – Christmas Barbeque in a lovely bay that might as well have been named after our crew member, Danny! We had pork ribs from the US and a a nice side of entre-cote from Uruguay. A few cold beers and a bottle of Bordeaux made it all feel that much more like a celebration. Phone calls with family made it all feel that much more special, and also that much more nostalgic! We really miss our families, and look forward anxiously to next year’s holidays – which we hope to spend together.
The day after Christmas was a complete ‘relax’ day for boat and crew. We did very little except read books! I read two in fact and started a third. I can’t remember the last time I read so much in one day. The first book I finished off was “Mr. China”, by Tim Clissold. This book had been lent to me back in Brazil by Michelle and James and for some reason I’d never picked it up. It’s a delightful read, detailing the true story of some entrepreneurs and a great deal Wall Street money invested in China in the 90’s. Their adventures and troubled climb up the steep and erratic learning curve of investing and doing business in China is a fascinating story. I’ll have to take this book back to James and thank him for it! The second was a book we picked up in a laundry room trade in Tahiti: “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” by Moshin Hamid. It’s a gripping fable, a thriller really, told entirely in the first person by a Pakistani – of his experiences as a young man, graduating from Princeton and working in the big apple for a top tier valuation firm. It’s an entertaining view of post-9/11 US attitude and policy and an inside tale of what that all might feel like for a foreigner in America, a foreigner with a beard and a face that place him somewhere in the middle east, but not necessarily with the Taliban… A quick and easy read, I can definitely recommend this one.
Also on the 26th we received a short visit from a French couple that live on their monohull in the Marquesas, full time. They gave us a bunch of information about the bay, including the news that the famous waterfall was dry. This was disappointing, as we’d planed to make the 2 hour hike up into the valley to see it. So it was with a bit less urgency that we went ashore on the 27th to check out the beach in front of Daniel’s house. He didn’t seem to be home, but some other yachties came ashore to wash clothes and burn some trash. There is a fresh water hose under a tree in the middle of a large grassy area where Daniel keeps a number of cows. We decided that we’d rather go back to Anaho Bay to water-up before the passage – the access to fresh water is easier and we really liked that bay anyway.
For lunch on the 27th, we had the rest of the Uruguay meat, which we did in the Le Creuset enameled pot, together with rosemary and diced potatoes. This is a favorite recipe of ours that reminds us of Brazil – my mother-in-law does it really well. Anyway, just after lunch and we raised anchor again. The beat back against the swell and trades to Taiohae was easy enough and by 15.30 we were anchored again amongst the fleet. Ashore we visited the two markets to do some comparison shopping.
Taiohae will be our last ‘taste’ of civilization for a while. We plan to provision here for the next leg, to Hawaii. Provisioning will take up most of the day with several trips to the market and right now Lara is finalizing the list (as we finish our pancakes :-)). From Taiohae, we plan to head back to the north side of the island tomorrow and return to the lovely Anaho Bay. We’ll spend probably two if not three nights there, including New Year’s Eve. We need to water up and so Danny and I will be ferrying water back and forth in the dinghy – with the bottles we have, I figure somewhere between 8 and 10 trips! Hopefully the Mantas will be back in the bay again, as we’ve vowed to try and snorkel with them. Then…offshore again and… Hawaii!!! From Anaho, it’s about 1900 miles. It may sound far but after our 3100+ mile passage from the Galapagos, somehow it doesn’t sound that bad to us. Typically, this would be around two weeks aboard Walk On. We will start out by sailing almost straight north for 900 to 1100 miles. However, once we cross the equator and head through the ITCZ (Intertropical Convergence Zone), the winds can get fluky and so boatspeed suffers. From the ITCZ the plan is to fall off westward and the last 800 miles or so of the passage will be slightly west of north, maybe 345 or 350 degrees. Our planned landfall is Hilo, on the Big Island. Somewhere along the way, SPOT coverage should improve and so hopefully you’ll be able to follow along if that’s your kind of thing. Anyway, time to go shopping, so I’ll wrap this up and try to publish some pictures once ashore. Hope you’re having a good ‘holiday week’ between Christmas and New Years!
Some photos from the passage Moorea>>Rangiroa, from Rangiroa, from teh passage Rangiroa>>>Nuku Hiva, and then some of the anchorages in Nuku Hiva. Enjoy!
the fish we caught somewhere between Moorea and Rangiroa. We don’t know what it was, but it was yummy! Anyone know?
Our view at the anchorage in Rangiroa. Not bad eh?
Bungalow-type hotel going up onshore, just off the anchorage.
Before heading out on passage, Danny checks the weather bible to see what’s what… help interpret the clouds and all that.
Larissa making soup. 🙂 Soup & Bikini picture – unusual to say the least.
Lara and Danny on the little Motu by the anchorage in Rangiroa – we think it’s called Nohi Nohi.
Another view from the Motu, this one looking north and out of the pass towards the open Pacific Ocean.
Yet another view from the Motu.
Doing some mainsail repair… part of a sailor’s life.
Prettiest sailmaker around!
Lara and Danny in the Church courtyard on Rangiroa… sinners with a beer!
Lara has been into sewing lately… .here she sews a pillowcase while on the windward passage to Nuku Hiva.
Danny & Lara during the passage.
The church in the village of Hetiheu, our first anchorage in Nuku Hiva after the long upwind slog.
Panorama from the village road…
Tikis by the beach, and Walk On in the background, resting at anchor…
Another panorama in Hetiheu Bay…
Danny plays taxi man, with enthusiasm!
From the bow, Lara and Danny try for a better look at the Manta Rays visiting in Anaho Bay.
Not satisfied, Lara jumps in Danny’s Kayak and tries to get a closer look at the Mantas….
The camera never did really capture them, but Lara got a close up look at the three graceful Mantas
Moonrise in Anaho Bay.
The anchorage at lovely Anaho Bay, as seen from the trail above.
Quite breathtaking really, and not just because of the steep trail getting up there…
Nice, don’t ya think? The other boat was owned by a very kind, well-travelled French couple.
This a view inside Daniel’s Bay, the day after Christmas.
Looking east, up into Daniel’s Bay.
Looking west across the anchorage, from Daniel’s Beach, so to speak.
Some crabs… that didn’t make it. Found these dead land crabs near the end of the beach.
I think this must be Daniel’s house… as it’s the only one in the bay. But he wasn’t home…
Parting shot – this the other lobe of the bay, to the left, or west of Daniel’s Bay. The ‘scar’ up on the mountain is from the dry waterfall.
That’s it for now. Next photos from Hawaii….