Friday, May 11, 2012

Nuku Hiva

Two new picture folders!

We arrived in Taiohae, on Nuku Hiva after a great sail from Ua Pou – about 25 miles away. On this sail, we put our crew member Otis (think Andy Griffith Show) to work. Otis, you may remember is our self-steering wind vane (a piece of equipment that will sail the boat to a specific wind direction once it is set). So far, Otis has served mostly as a hand rail to get on and off the boat from the stern. He has been quite good at that – but in past attempts has failed miserably as a self-steering unit (thus his name).

But we decided on the day run from Ua Pou to Nuku Hiva, we would give him another opportunity to prove his worth beyond very expensive hand hold. And after some experimenting, and perhaps the 12 step program Michael put Otis through, there was a breakthrough. Otis steered a straight course even with wind changes and seas.

We anchored in the large harbor where about 24 boats were already on the hook. Some had two anchors out – others swung on single hooks. We prefer one anchor, so we settled near old friends Karen and Mike aboard Chapter Two. We hadn't seen them since last year in San Blas – so it was great to reconnect.

The anchorage had a big swell coming in though – so it was very rolly. Karen and Mike came over and gave us some great local info. They also gave us an invite for dinner and drinks aboard Chapter Two. We had a wonderful evening catching up on each others' doings over the last year (though we had stayed in e-mail contact). A lovely curry feast (and Barbara's chocolate cake) made for a great night with old friends.

The next morning, they also helped us with getting fuel. It is a three-person job – one person to hold the dinghy off the very surge -ridden, barnacle encrusted dock and the others to get fuel in jerry jugs and then lower it by rope back to the dinghy. Quite an operation but Mike from Chapter Two was a pro having done it multiple times. The good news is we only needed 20 gallons of diesel having sailed just about everywhere. Also good news because it is very expensive here. Fueled up with diesel and gasoline, we then headed into the town. This is the largest population base in the Marquesas and considered the "administrative center.: But it is a lovely small village with a few groceries, a couple of restaurants and snack places, an artisans area, a hardware store, a small hospital, gendarmes and a bank.

Things are very expensive in French Polynesia. For example, a jar of mayonnaise can cost about $12 US. Eggs are $4.80 a dozen. This is not the place to stock up. Fresh veggies and fruit are not as available here as we had hoped – and what you find is also quite expensive (more than in Hiva Oa). A grapefruit here is about $5 though the trees around the town are filled with lovely fruit.

We took a walk to the hardware store – and it was a very lovely short hike through a pretty area. Lots of lovely gardens and yards, packed with mango trees, breadfruit trees and citrus. Plus, so many bright colored, fragrant flowers. Of course, there was the assortment of goats, horses and some of the most beautifully feathered and colored roosters. A few tikis, carved stone figures, were also in various yards and along the road.

When we returned to the wharf, the fishermen were in cleaning their catch – and throwing the bloody bones and bits over the wall. And there were the giant sharks. Lots of them in an eating frenzy with the free, easy to get food. They churned up the water and all you could see were massive fins and tails. Eeeck! No shower in that water tonight!

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