Cruising the South Seas

Truly in Paradise.

Log of Furthur, 4/9/10

We had an early morning visitor, our new friend Louis dropped by in his boat to give us a bunch of fresh fish. Again his generosity was amazing. We ventured through the surf to pay back the visit with goodies for his small boys. I went to his home where his family was merrily preparing fish for drying. Louis and I went for a walk through his “estate” where he told me – remember he speaks almost no English and I less French—that his whole family lived there and they live off his hunting and what he grows- I do count Louis as one of the most fortunate men I have ever met.

We did the 8 miles trek across the top of the island to the next anchorage, Haiapa Bay. The cruising books describe this as the best anchorage on the north side of the island. Again the scenery is spell binding and it appears there is more of a village ashore. I did a quick scuba dive under the boat to find white sand where we dropped the hook but a beautiful coral reef not too far away. The joy of diving 40 feet in just swim trunks (86 degree water) is enough but the schools of tropical fish and the many coral types made this a wonderful dive.

We went ashore and walked into the village, kids where jumping from a bridge into a stream so I took some mid air pictures and showed them the results on my camera. What unfolded was far from expected. The village is a garden of Eden with well kept gardens, flowers and fruit orchards. The paved road goes past the church and brought us to the “Yacht Club” a small shack occupied by an island character named William. He has been keeping record of all the cruising boats that stop by since 2004. I note that there were only two boats so far this year and about 6 last year—not exactly Roche Harbor! William bounced around his shack bringing us all kinds of treasures of fruit, bananas, grapefruit, some weird spiny thing and coco nuts. His generosity again was amazing. We made arrangements to see him in the morning to return some gifts. The Copra boat comes here tomorrow and it will be interesting to watch the occasion.

So fresh fish, abundant fruit, two new friends, great dive and scenery to knock your socks off—like I have had socks on for the last 6 months, hahahaha… truly paradise

The day in Hanaiapa Bay.

4/10/10 Log of Furthur

Rising to make my appointed meeting with William at 0800, I loaded the dinghy with reciprocal gifts, beer, a new notebook for his records and some left of candy for the kids, I again tackled the landing procedure. You land here on a cement wall with some steps, it is sideways to the swell and water rises 2-3 feet on each incoming wave so timing is critical. I am used the 8’ Walker bay sans motor for ease of handling up the stairs. (Note that I have used my big dinghy very little on most of the trip. It is totally useless for anything but a calm dock landing or beach with no swell—neither is common cruising the tropics. The small dink or the kayaks get the most use.) After a warm stroll up the road and many “bon jurs “and warm smiles from the residents I get an exuberant welcome from William. I sign his guest book and tape a boat card to it—3rd boat this year. He feeds me boiled red bananas and lime aid, both wonderful. The Red bananas remind me of yams.

Today is the big day in the life of any remote Marquesian village, the copra boat arrives. The Aranui III is a 105 meter cargo/passenger ship that makes a 16 day circular voyage through French Polynesia. This is the life blood of the small remote communities. Each time they pick up the bags of copra and other produce and deliver goods. We saw a Grady White and a box spring and mattress come off the boat this time. The ship carries 90 passengers and they ferry them ashore for a “promenade” around the village. The whole town comes to the dock to see the event.

Just not getting enough of that warm water I dove the coral reef near the boat again. This time I discovered that we had drifted closer and some of my chain had fouled on the coral. I carefully unwound it so as not to do much damage and pulled in a bit of scope—I had way too much out in my usual “if some is good more is better” thinking.

Tomorrow we venture to Ua Huka, 53 miles north of here then to Nuka Hiva. I will be looking for crew there and resupplying. I have learned that it is common to swap crew with other boats and that adds spice to the cruising life. We shall see what develops.