Thursday, May 13, 2010

Busy in Paradise...

[May 12]
It really is difficult to find the discipline to sit in front of a computer when one is anchored in paradise. Since our last blog post, we've left the pristine anchorage of Tahuata Island, and have ventured back to Hiva Oa - the island where we started. Along with A Small Nest ( and Elena (, we are now exploring the less populated Northern coastline. We first anchored at Hana Menu - and although it was windy and rolly, our spirits were soon buoyed when we found an idyllic fresh water pool that was crystal clear and icy cold - what a refreshing place to take a dip!! There were a few houses here, but it didn't seem like anyone was living here at the moment. There were a few men working on a cement foundation, that was to be a new house for a growing family, but they were very kind, allowing us to use the pool, and telling us a little about this place.

It was a tricky dinghy landing, and we got quite soaked on our way back out to the boats...even though we took advantage of catching a lift in the inflatables of the other two boats, instead of trying our luck with our small dinghy. This was definitely a beach where a 15+ hp engine was a huge assett!!

That afternoon, we decided to continue to the next bay, in search of a less rolly and windy anchorage. It took some determination to get there in the strong headwinds, and John and I were both soaked from waves coming over the deck and into the cockpit. We arrived at Hana Iapa, shortly before dark, and
quickly prepared a few spicy tuna rolls, and lovely tuna sashimi to share with our friends upon arrival. We were gifted with a huge piece of tuna from a 56 foot Nordhaven power boat from Hawaii as we left our anchorage that morning - they had caught a 35 lb tuna earlier that morning. We enjoyed a fun night aboard A Small Nest, feasting on fresh tuna, bananas, and delightful wine.

We spent today exploring Hana Iapa - a small village of about 100 people. Imagine our surprise when we saw a sign for a Yacht Club, in the house next to the church! Of course we investigated. William welcomes visiting yachts to his home, provides wonderful fruit and a cool drink, and allows you to sign and peruse his guest book. He has comments from so many yachts in his book. Unfortunately, he lost his original book with over 300 yacht signatures when his house caught fire some years ago. We snorkeled along the rocky shore, but found there was limited visibility and few exciting fish.
Certainly no lobster, and no manta rays!

Tonight...hamburgers for 11 people onboard Renova. I think this will be a record!

**Tip: If you'd like to check out the blogs our our frinds on A Small Nest and Elena, you may find a tool like Google Translater useful!**

Swinging Free

[May 13]

Last night became quite exciting when our boat started swinging, shortly after serving dinner to "Elena" and "A Small Nest". Since we are lying with both a bow and stern anchor here, we don't normally move more than a few feet, so swinging side-to-side is definitely cause for concern. We quickly discovered that our bow anchor rode had parted, as a result of rubbing on a patch of coral on the bottom. With the help of our dinner guests, we were able to set up our spare chain and our third anchor, and we were back in business.

The other two boats were planning to leave after dinner to do an over night crossing to Niku Hiva. As a result of our anchor on the bottom of the drink, "A Small Nest" decided to stay behind to help us dive for the anchor in the morning. Adam and Leonie lent us their dive tank, in case we needed a spare, and decided to continue on to Niku Hiva, in order to guide A Small Nest into the anchorage if they arrive after dark. What a great team! I guess next time, we'll have to serve these guys fancy steaks or something more than hamburgers! :O)

Shortly after first light, Willem arrived with his scuba gear, and he and John began the process of searching for the lost anchor. The anchor still had about 40 ft of chain attached to it, so we were hoping that it would not be too difficult to find, but you never know. Within the first 20 minutes, Willem spotted the anchor at 11 meters deep, and the two of them were able to tie a float to it, allowing us to pull it up shortly after. What a relief. We quickly pulled all three anchors on board, and reanchored further out in the bay.

After we catch up on some lost sleep this afternoon, we'll make our way to Nuku Hiva overnight. We're really excited about this stop, as this is where Amy and Strahan will join us for a few weeks of cruising in paradise. We know they will love it here, and we can't wait to have them onboard. This last week has also been distinguished by the abundance of fabulous wine consumed as a result of Elena's bottomless wine cellar. I don't expect my rate of consumption to decrease as Amy and Strahan come on board. Watch out they come!!

Monday, May 10, 2010

We've found paradise!!

This is it. This is why people cruise. This place is a veritable paradise.

Yesterday, we awoke in this spectacular bay - Baie Hanamoenoa on Tahuatu, which cruiser/author Eric Hiscock rates as one of the three most beautiful anchorages in Polynesia - and could not believe our luck. Who could ask for better scenery for taking apart the heat exchanger!! John spent the morning removing and cleaning the heat exchanger, which is always a fun job. But when we got it reinstalled and went for a few laps of the anchorage, and nearby bays, we were pleased that we were back to normal operating temperatures.

After a quick dip, and a scrub of the bottom of the boat, we made our way to the beach, and went exploring the hillsides. There were no trails, and we were pretty scratched up after scrambling through the brush, but we managed to climb to a nice vantage point above the anchorage to snap a few photos, before making our way back down to the beach.

Back at the beach, John busied himself cracking open coconuts, while I took a dip in the refreshing water. Soon "A Small Nest" and "Elena" joined us for a swim, and we all enjoyed the cool water, and tried desperately to see the green flash as the sun dipped under the horizon. No luck tonight.

Today, we got an early start, and headed to the nearby village of Vaitauhu. "A Small Nest" and "Elena" joined us and we were able to buy fresh baquettes and a few provisions, and tour the local museum and townsite. It was a lovely town, and we recognised several of the women who were dancing in the festival earlier in the week at Hiva Oa!

By afternoon, we were back at Baie Hanamoenoa, enjoying the crystal clear water and white sandy beach. Once again, we plan to enjoy cocktails on the beach this afternoon, and tonight we've been invited to share in a lasagna feast aboard "Elena", with Alan and Leoni and their two kids from Holland.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

I DO like coconuts!

[May 8]

We stayed at Hiva Oa one more night to take in the local festivities happening in town last night. It seemed the whole town was there, as well as many visitors. Musicians and dancers came from the surrounding islands to play in a large show at the school gym. Also...we were treated to a beauty pageant, with contestants again coming from nearby islands, and strutting their stuff in the bikinis, Polynesian dresses and giving us a glimpse of their dance skills. In fact, we were able to hitch a ride on the school bus that was taking a drum band and their gear to the party.

The dancing was fabulous - there was an amazing male troupe that had an aggressive dance with lots of stomping and beating their hands on their chest, legs and the floor. Sepke (from S/Y A Small Nest) was sitting beside me and couldn't believe how red their chests were looked like it would hurt!! In another group, all the women and girls of all ages from a nearby village were dancing, and it was absolutely amazing to see the way these women are able to move their hips - most of us yachties need a bit of practice!!

Today, we moved on to a new island - Tahuata. We're only a couple of hours away from Hiva Oa, but it is a world of difference!! The sand beach is beautiful and water is crystal clear blue, so we could see our anchor from the deck in 30 feet of water!! Of course, we jumped into the water, as soon as we had dropped the hook, as it feels like it's been ages since we've been able to swim from the boat.

We spent the afternoon exploring the beach. There is a seasonal shelter here, perhaps it is a small coconut plantation, and we had a great time rooting around and gathering lemons, pamplemousse (like sweet grapefruit), and coconuts. Although I don't like coconut at home...fresh coconut tastes entirely different, and it is DELICIOUS!! It is a bit challenging to get to the meat, but well worth it.

By late afternoon, all the boats had joined us on the shore, and we had a fun cocktail hour or two on the beach getting to know everyone. Most people here at the moment are around our age. Very unusual!! Of course, the retired segment is represented also - at least three or four boats, but surprising that most of the boats have crew in their 30's and 40's. And there is a boat here, S/V Passages with Pat and John, that are from Maple Bay - only a couple hours from our home in Campbell River! In fact, they used to keep their boat very close to Hard Drive, the boat that I was crewing on for
Sunday races! Small world!!

We enjoyed a yummy spaghetti dinner aboard "A Small Nest" [], with Willem, Heike, Sepka, Ward and Flor from Belgium! The kids entertained us with their stories and excellent card tricks on their gorgeous Beneteau. They are from the Flemish side of Belgium and are teaching us some new words - Hallo...Da!! Luckily, it is pretty close to German, and many years ago Pete and Christina taught me a few words on a visit to Germany and John speaks a bit of German, but still...we are very

Lat/Long: 09°54'S / 139°06'W