Sunday, May 20, 2012

Leaving the Marquesas

On Friday morning, we left Anaho, one of our favorite Marquesan anchorages, and headed back to Taiohae Bay, the hub of Nuku Hiva. We needed to top off on fuel, pick up a few supplies (baquettes!) and try to call our moms before heading out on Sunday to the next stop in the French Polynesian chain of islands. On the way, we caught a good size bull mahi mahi – enough for easily eight to ten servings! It was caught on a "spoon" to Michael's dismay.

We came into the harbor, anchored and went to get fuel and do some of our errands which did include an ice cream stop! On Saturday there was a big local event in the town – a series of races in the traditional Polynesian outrigger canoes. These were teams of men competing in quite long races – more than three hours. We watched as they prepped their boats and took off. We also watched as they finished. This was very cool as they had a group of four drummers – beating a strong rhythm as the teams came towards the finish line. There were also a group of women on the beach dancing and yelling and holding out palm frond leis – welcoming the men back. As they beached their canoes, they were adorned with the leis and kissed on both cheeks, That afternoon, another series of races with the same traditional trappings. What was great is that this was not a tourist event – it was a local sporting event. We see these outriggers practicing at almost every anchorage where we've been. The competitors come from surrounding islands for the races and most "larger" towns have rowing clubs complete with the clubhouse and in some cases, a building where it seems they either build or repair the boats. It was great to see.

Today, Sunday, May 20th, we take off for the Tuamotu Archipelago, home of the Puamotu people. There are 76 islands in this group and it will be significantly different than the Marquesas. These are coral atolls – sea level small islands surrounded by a fringing reef. It will be a whole new experience for us – and a bit scary. More on that later.

But we leave today for the 400 plus mile journey. We think it will take us four to five days depending on wind.

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