June 2, 2004
We left Nuka Hiva and were confronted with huge confused seas, wind on the nose and a ride so violent that my lucky bamboo plant went flying across the cabin, something that had never happened before, not even in the Oregon coast storm. However, second day out the wind settled and we ended up having the most comfortable, quick sail we have had to date to Kauehi, an atoll located in the north-western section of the Tuamotos.
When we arrived at the pass into the atoll, Emerald, Billabong, Waking Dream and Babalona were all leaving. They gave us useful information and waypoints that would safely take us through the coral heads to the southern end of the atoll.
Anchorage at Kauehi
We couldn't believe how truly beautiful the anchorage was. White beaches lined with palm trees, but mostly the water... varying shades of turquoise to deep blue..so crystal clear you could see right down to the bottom.
Solstice and Stardust were the only ones in the anchorage as they there been there for several days. We were each anchored in front of our own private motu.
We spent the next day snorkelling on the coral reefs near the anchorage and were blown away by all the colourful fish.
Later we took the dinghy to the motu and hiked around the island enjoying the coral sand beach.
Gord was determined to get a fresh coconut so up the palm tree he climbed. It was quite a challenge to dislodge the stubborn coconut but in the end he was successful. Getting into the coconut was no easy feat either but eventually we drank the coconut milk and ate the meat... 400 calories to consume and 1000 calories to get into.
Unfortunately the impeller gave up the ghost on the dinghy motor and refused to run more than 200 feet before overheating. We didn't have a replacement so had to accept the fact that we wouldn't have a dinghy with motor until Tahiti.
Pictured is Gord's new friend. This booby took it upon himself to waddle up and check Gord out. Totally fearless, I'm sure he would have some back to the boat with us with a little persuasion.
While we were at anchor, we listened to the friends enroute from the Marquesas and a distress call was made by Ali Ka Too. Their skagg broke loose, leaving them with no working rudder and they were about 20 miles outside the atoll in heavy seas without steerage. Several boats nearby altered course or turned back to assist. Luckily they were able to motor into the anchorage along with Ocean Girl, Tackless II, Danseuse De Le Mer, and Maahji-Re. Everyone assessed the damage and after much discussion, Ralph from Ocean Girl devised and manufactured a support system that would hold the rudder in place long enough to get the boat to Papeete for repairs.
With so many boats now in the anchorage, we decided the thing to do was have a Pot Luck Supper and Beach Party. We built a fire from the coconut husks and Sujata entertained us with her fantastic singing and playing accompanied by Gregg on guitar.
|We enjoyed relaxing in the calm waters of Kauehi and the snorkelling was interesting. A highlight there was the running of the 1st Cruisers Hermit Derby Crab Races on the beach one evening.