From Hiva Oa, it was an extremely difficult process that left Gord's hands blistered and swollen and his back in very bad shape but we managed to get the anchors up and joined our friends in a beautiful anchorage on Tahuata Island. The first thing I did when we got here was jump into the warm clear water.
Tahuata Island lies south of Hiva Oa. The centre of the island is a mountain chain, radiating out in steep ridges and valleys to the coast. The population of the island is 600. Is is very beautiful here, uninhabited and relaxing so we decided to stay for a week or so then head back to Atuona to pick up our part.
This beautiful bay with calm waters and a coconut lined sandy beach, was rated as one of the three most beautiful anchorages in Polynesia. It was totally uninhabited although there was the remains of a copra drying hut on the beach.
May 1, 2004
There were lots of cruisers from our fleet anchored in the bay. We had a dinghy raft-up party one evening to get reacquainted with everyone we hadn't seen over the past month due to the passage. We mostly partied in the rain throughout the evening but nobody really cared.
Some of our cruising companions included Emerald, Ocean Girl, Billabong, Island Sonata, Whisper, Matarua, & Solstice.
(This is my Salvador Dali pic)
KT, Goddess of Tahuata, toasts Ralph, from the French Foreign Legion.
May 2, 2004
Snorkeling in the neighboring bay was wonderful and we made several trips to visit all the colorful fish. Every morning a large group of Manta Rays frolicked beside the boats and so everyone jumped in the water to play with them. They were totally unconcerned with our presence and let us get close enough to touch.
It poured down rain for 2 days with very high winds so we were sooo glad to be tucked into the anchorage in Tahuata. After all the rain, the bay was full of mud and debris so no more snorkeling or swimming to cool off. Even with the rain it was 85 degrees and like a sauna in the cabin.
In the midst of one of the squalls, Sowelu, making his landfall from PV, called for help so Gord and Ralph from Ocean Girl ventured out into the driving rain in the dinghy to try and find him. The visibility was very poor and they were gone most of the day so I was worried they wouldn't find Sowelu and wouldn't be able to find their way back to the anchorage. Sowelu had just arrived in Marequesas but when trying to get into Atuona to check in, his motor died. So he tried to sail for Tahuata in the squally winds and heavy rain. When he got within a mile, his halyard broke and he couldn't bring down the main. So he called for help. Gord and Ralph found him eventually and boarded his boat and got him into the anchorage safely. Mia, on Sowelu is a seamstress with 2 sewing machines on board, and she repaired our spinnaker in return for the help.
We waited in Tahuata for the weather to clear before heading back into Hiva Oa to take care of the paperwork required to obtain our windlass.
School in Hapatoni
Great news! We made it back to Atuona and after a couple of trips to town we managed to track down the motor and pick it up. Gord sat in the cockpit and just hugged it for awhile, then we celebrated. It was such a relief that the motor arrived safe and sound after so many complications.
We sailed back to Tahuata to spend a night anchored in Baie Hanatefau before heading to Ua Poa. The beautiful bay (top pics) is uninhabited and although well protected from swell, there were lots of bugs. Notice our boatful of bananas that we got from Felix in Hiva Oa.
The nearby village of Hapatoni is a quaint quiet town, clean and tree lined. The locals waved as we walked by and the children were especially friendly. As with every tiny village, there was an interesting stone church in the center of town.
From Hanatefau we continued on to the island of Ua Poa.