Monday, 15 July 2019

Tuamotus, French Polynesia


We had a brisk 5 day passage to the Tuamotus and our first stop was Kauehi.


 

Kauehi has only one 'pass' into its interior.  The rest is reef and land, so when the tide turns almost all the water is rushing in of out of this 'pass'.  You plan to arrive at slack water but if it looks okay you can go in a little before or after.  It was a little rough coming in but not bad at all.  The panorama didn't work out very well but you can make out the 'pass' between the two points of land if you squint a little.




It has an easy entrance and we arrived in the early morning just in time to see Bruno's Girl leaving.  We waved and passed and took photos.

 


After the first and maybe second day of blue skies, the weather became wetter and windier, but we still had the occasional clear skies.




Time for making repairs to the baton pocket on the mizzen.

One the baton on the widest part of the sail, Tim was on one side of the sail and I on the other and we pushed the needle and thread back and forth.

I think we did quite a good job making a neat pattern so that if you only looked at one side it appeared to be sewn with a machine.



There wasn't wonderful coral in the atoll but the fish life was very good.

   

Our stale bread lured the remora, the whippy looking fish with the black fins, our from under the boat.  You are looking at them from the top.  The tread like mark on the back of their head is a sort of suction pad that will grip the bottom of the boat in the hope of bits of food coming out the drain with your dish water.  They are quite cool to watch but there is something a bit repulsive about them too.  Tim does NOT like to clean the hull with any remora in attendance.  Reef fish came to partake of the bread as well and in time a small black tip reef shark made a number of passes just to see what was going on.

Reef sharks are curious but are of no danger to snorkelers or divers.

Now I know I have more photos of Kauehi, but cant locate them right now and we will be on the move shortly so I will try to update this blog the next time we have wifi.

Today we are sailing from Moorea to Taiatea.  We have been waiting for wind and it has finally arrived.  Lots of boats have been leaving all morning.  As it should take us about 16 hours to get there we are leaving mid morning to arrive nice and early tomorrow morning.



We will continue to post to the Cruisersat.net which you can see at the top of our blog.

That's all for now!

Nancy

Sunday, 14 July 2019

Nuku Hiva

Our first stop in Nuku Hiva was Hooumi Bay a small offshoot to Controller Bay on the South East corner of the island.  After a lumpy sail with the swell and waves coming from all sorts of directions, it was wonderful to tuck into this very sheltered anchorage.

   

We arrived later afternoon and it does seem to get dark quickly once the sun has gone behind the mountains surrounding the bay.  Looking back to the entrance gives you a better feel for the actual time of day.

The next day we motored along the south coast to Taiohae in Taiahea Bay for some grocery shopping.


 

Approaching the entrance to Taiohae Bay was interesting for the rock formations that are displayed along the coast.  We see all sorts of fascinating cliff faces in our travels but they don't often make for good photos.  The sun can be so bright that detail is washed out. No so here.

        

As I flicked between these two photos, I got the feeling of movement we experience in big swell condition. In the second one particularly, I look at it and feel the 'push, surf and settle' movement we get with a big following well.

We, and everyone else anchored there, found the Taiohae Bay rather rolly.  Open to the south, the swell comes straight in the bay.  If your bow is pointed into the swell, it's not too bad, just a fore/aft and up/down movement.  When either the wind or the currents turn you side on to the swell, if gets pretty miserable. Once you start penduluming from side to side there is only to do but hold on till it stops and hope you haven't left anything unsecured. You'll know soon enough by the clatter of dishes flung out of the cupboard or the plastic cup of water sliding off the table onto the floor.  This rolling isn't constant or regular but it can be recurring.

   

When we arrived a cruise ship was ferrying guests ashore and back.  We guessed that the young men in the proas (outrigger canoes) catching the wake of the ship's tenders were laid on by the cruise ship for a local experience for the guests.

These proa are a narrow high tech fibre glass canoe with a single outrigger.  We have seen them being used all over the islands and in Hiva Oa spoke to a teacher from France who was learning how to paddle a proa.  He told Claudia and myself how difficult it is to manoeuvre - he even fell out once while talking to us - and how his students could not conceive of anyone not know how to paddle one.

       

Views of Taiehae.  The flowers on  the ground open through the day and then drop in the afternoon. There were a number of carvings next to the tourist office as well as an uncarved stone ready for the next creation.  This one is literally a pile of goats;  A cockerel on a bin of fishing gear on a truck at the dock; A flowering tree;  A local home.



The entrance to the church yard; Carvings; The entrance to the church itself.



Almost a panoramic view of Hahatea (or Daniel's) Bay from the entrance around to the anchorage and beach.  The mountains in the middle photo harbour a waterfall that Tim, Claudia and Phillip walked to by traversing streams and swimming an eel filled pond to see only the base of, the top being hidden by height and foliage.  I quite liked the look of them from the anchorage.




We thought this would be a fabulous shot of Larus, but the sun decided otherwise.  I have tweaked that photo to no avail.

This was a morning photo with the sun not yet completely over the mountains behind the beach.  The rock face behind us is very steep but it was no trouble for the tiny white or brown specks that moved across it.  It was even worse light for photos of goats and none of my photos turned out but it was good TV to watch then cross from one side to the other.



We had a lovely gentle sail up the west coast of the island, out of the swell and  with an unexpected light wind from the south.  This gave us lots of time to take note of the changed topography.

From the sea it looks like a valley might well wend it's way through closely packed peaks.  It also seemed a much harsher terrain with far less greenery than we had become used to.

And there were lots of these valleys opening out to the sea.  We anchored for the night in the less dramatic and much cosier Haahopu Bay tucked in behind Tehumuhumu Point.  Aren't the names wonderful?  There is an island in north Tonga that is affectionally known by cruisers as New Potatoes rather than its real name, Niuatoputapu.

  

Our sail to Anaho Bay looked lovely to start and deteriorated as we went along.  We beat into an eastly wind and the farther we got the worse the weather shore became.  It might look like a miserable sail but we still had a reasonably flat sea and a good wind.  The rain stayed ashore for the most part so I probably could have got away without the rain gear.  The final photo was taken by a boat we first met in Columbia, Mr X.

                    

Anaho Bay was lovely, calm with very little swell.  One of the attractions is a nearby farm where you can buy fresh fruit and vegetables.  The visit started with a dinghy ride to the beach on the south east corner of the bay.  On the way over we saw a couple of men on horse back and guessed that it was the farmers returning after taking produce the village in the bay to the west of us.

After hauling the dinghy up the beach and we followed the path the farmers too - 1) down the beach, 2) over the rocks, 3) past the very leggy trees, 4) along the muddy track down to the valley, 5) past the pamplemousse trees, 6) into the rows of tomatoes and cucumbers, 7) fill up bag and pay for produce, 8) go past the horses, 9) back along the path in the woods, 10) across the rocks, 11) along the beach to the dingy and then back to Larus.

Anaho Bay was our last stop before heading back to Taiohae to do a bit of provisioning.  This was about the time that Alia Vita arrived in Hiva Oa so we back tracked there and then Fatu Hiva, which was our jumping off point for leaving the Marquesas Islands and heading south the Tuamotus Islands.



Thursday, 11 July 2019

Hanamenu Bay to Ua Huka



           

Entrance to Vaipee Bay dead ahead; Crashing waves and swell to the right; Crashing waves and swell to the left; Inside with the entrance behind us; The anchorage ahead of us; The entrance ahead of us; Crashing waves to the right;  Let's try down there to the left around the point.

This might well make a good anchorage in fine weather, but not that day.

       

So around the point we went that was actually an island at the end of some very interesting geological feature.  This was the first flat topography we had seen that was not a valley floor in the Marquesas.



It was still a little lumpy but we had a peaceful nights sleep anchored between the two headlands. It would be a nice beach to explore without the crashing waves on the beach.

Next stop Nuku Hiva