_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Marcy home Walvis Bay Angling Club club AFASyn Ushuaia Marcy and crew

Friday, May 04, 2007

Tahuata, Viahatu Bay Friday, May 4, 2007 Ginger

It's been over a week since we sent an update, so here's what we've been up to.
We headed to the town of Atuona on Hiva Oa last Thursday. It was a long 10 miles up wind beating into the waves through a narrow, shallow pass. We had heard about boats having problems with waves breaking over them in this shallow anchorage so we were anxious about the conditions in the bay. When we arrived there were already 14 boats anchored with bow and stern anchors and it appeared there just wasn't much room for another boat unless everyone put our fenders. We anchored just behind Kathi
and Jeff on Bold Spirit and enjoyed a nice dinner with them. We last saw them in Zihuatanejo and it was a good reunion. When we anchored we were in 12 feet of water at high tide. That's not much when you consider that we stick down 7.5 feet with our keel. There was a 3 foot tide range there (hmmm!) so doing the math that left just 1.5 feet of clearance for our keel at low tide. We were OK but it was not comfortable keeping an eye on the depth as the tide went out in the evening. The second
low tide was a little lower than the first but worse the swell was coming up and we actually bumped bottom as a set of larger waves came through. That was enough for us, we abandoned our stern anchor and spool of line in our kayak Red Dogfish and hauled in our bow anchor to move. This happened to involve Peter swimming back to the boat which wouldn't have been so bad but they're dredging in the bay and the water is very murky. Later I read in Charlie's Charts that they don't recommend swimming
in the bay because of all the sharks. Anyway, Peter swam back to the boat and we moved closer to shore behind the break water with a few more feet under our keel. Then Peter swam back across the bay to retrieve the stern anchor and the kayak and we set that too. Peter spent the morning filling our water tanks while I went into town to get some groceries and check in with the gendarmes. We got into town just about 45 minutes before the gendarme and the grocery stores were closing for lunch. I
had not received a customs form in Nuku Hiva so I spend about 20 minutes standing there while the gendarme tried to call Nuku Hiva to no avail. After unsuccessfully checking in (she asked me to come back Sat. AM) Kathi and I dashed up the block to get some veggies and groceries before everyone closed for lunch. It was not exactly what I had pictured for my big provisioning trip before heading to the Tuamotus but I also hadn't planned on the 3+ mile trip from the anchorage to town. The only way
to get there is to walk on the main road or hitch hike. We were lucky to get a ride back with my heavy bags of veggies, meat and rice. Meanwhile, Peter and Jeff filled water tanks all morning and we spent over an hour in the afternoon getting diesel to top off our tank. After that a quick shower ashore - fantastic! and then we enjoyed a movie and popcorn on Bold Spirit. (The movie was Second Hand Lions and is highly recommended)
The person who brought us back to the boat from town was the agriculture agent. He said there was large swell forecast for Sunday and since we had no radio reception for email in the bay we decided it was time to leave Saturday morning. We started to head south to meet another Zihua boat "Katie Lee" but the reports of an overcrowded anchorage at Fatu Hiva deterred us. It's a very deep anchorage 90+ feet and a small narrow bay. After an hour of beating into the wind we headed west and to the
town of Vathu on Tahuata. We were the only boat anchored in front of town and it's a peaceful bay. Sunday morning a young Marqusan paddled out to out boat, introduced himself as Teii and asked if we wanted fruit. We said sure and he said to come with him and he'd get some for us and show us the town. We failed to bring my camera and it's too bad because we'll probably never get a tour like that again! As we got into town he started climbing trees and picking fruit from random yards. We'd say
"Is this your house?" and he would reply that it was an aunt or cousin or sibling. Then he took us to his parent's house where he gave us some fantastic dried bananas, fresh coconut, and vanilla. Surprisingly, throughout all of this his mother was standing on the poarch yelling at him in Marquesan. I kept asking what she was saying and said we should meet her. He said it was too hard. Turns out (as Peter suspected) his mother was afraid we were going to give him whiskey for the vanilla. So
the tour continued and he took us on small paths through back yards, past small pig pens over cliffs and to an ancient gathering place by the water in the next cove. It was quite a tour and thoroughly enjoyable. Then he came out to the boat and I gave him some banana squares I'd made that morning and Fresca. A far cry from whiskey but it sure kept us out of trouble!
Monday Katie Lee arrived and we had yet another Zihua reunion dinner. It was great to see them again. We're lucky that while they were here they noticed our bow roller was loose and about to fall into the water. We've had some very strong winds here and the large swell that we avoided in Atuona materialized while we were here. Clearly it was too much stress for the bow roller as it sheared the bolts. We found some larger bolts and reattached the bow roller just in time for the rain and wind
that kept us on board all day yesterday. We're now getting ready to head west and the trip to the Tuamotus is about 500 miles so we're resting up for the passage. We'll go ashore and try to find Teii to give him a gift, get some more meat for Peter and we'll be off. It was a good visit here.



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