Saturday, May 22, 2010

Baie de Controleur

Time is flying in paradise. It is almost been one week since Amy and Strahan arrived. We had a nice relaxing day yesterday with a lazy sleep in, pancakes for breakfast, and took a few loads of laundry to the beach to make use of a freshwater tap on the beach. While our laundry dried, we went for a snorkel among the mushroom coral that inhabit this anchorage. John fixed the outboard motor, so we can once again use the pull cord, and don't have to continue to start it by using a length of string wrapped around the head.

This morning we spent some time planning our passage to the Tuomotus, which route we will take, and which atolls we would like to visit once there. We made plans with A Small Nest to see them in a few days, and we upped anchor and moved to Baie du Controleur. After a short motor-sail, we set our anchor in the bay - all by ourselves. It certainly isn't as picturesque as many of the other anchorages we've been in, but we heard that we may find a store ashore, and we did. While on a provisioning run, the boys discovered that there is an outrigger canoe regatta here tomorrow. There are paddlers practicing on the bay, and we're trying to decide if we'd like to linger here another day to take in the races.

For those who are curious, the boys bought a bit of flour, tuna, yogurt, meat and a couple of donuts. All of this fit into two small grocery bags, and totaled almost $70. All of the food is flown into these islands, and everything is very pricey. We wish we had the space to have bought more supplies in Mexico. Fruit is hard to come by in the stores, even though it is everywhere. It is possible to trade for fruit, and while we don't have any 22 cartridges on board, which is their preferred trading item, we have been able to trade for wine. Next we'll start trying to trade with our supply of lipsticks, pencils, balloons, playdoh and t-shirts.

This bay is also the setting for Typee, Herman Melville's book, after he deserted from a whaling ship in 1842.

We plan to stay in this area for a couple more days, before heading South on a 400 mile passage to the Tuomotus...a three or four day sail. Suddenly we will switch from steep, lush, mountainous terrain here in the Marquesas, to the low-lying, coral atolls of the Tuomotu Archipelago. We can't wait.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Nuku Hiva - Guests Arrive

Amy and Strahan have now arrived, bringing with them a duffle bag full of treats for us from home. Once again, we celebrate Christmas on Renova!! Lots of boat parts were among their luggage, as well as tasty treats from home, and THREE pairs of shoes. Wohoo....

They have settled in nicely to their berth in the main cabin. They threaten that they might not leave. Our first adventure was with Denis and Holly on Tango, who took us to an ancient Polynesian ceremonial site. We were lucky to meet work crew who were restoring the site for a large celebration in 2012, where Polynesians from all around (French Polynesia, Easter Island, Hawaii, etc) will come to enjoy a week long celebration. The workers were kind enough to explain to us about the site, the upcoming celebration, their weekend hunting techniques, the various plants and trees nearby, and they cut open a few coconuts and send us home with a hand of bananas.

John immediately decided he needed a machete of his own, and it has turned out the be the most useful culinary tool in the galley. It is good for flipping burgers, cutting cantelope, cracking coconuts and opening scallops. Don't be surprised if this tool takes a prominent place in our kitchen at home!

After a couple days of exploring and provisioning in Taiohae, we set sail sail in the company of "A Small Nest", and headed to "one of the best kept secrets - the sublime village of Anaho" (source: Lonely Planet). We're now sitting amongst 20 other boats in this secretive anchorage. We've been enjoying this idyllic bay for a couple days of swimming, and have been hiking to the neighboring bays.

On the way here, of course, we put out a line in hopes of winning the perpetual fishing derby...and win we did!! Strahan caught a beautiful, big, Mahi Mahi (dorado). It was too big for us, so we shared it with "Mojombo" and "A Small Nest" once we arrived at Anaho Bay.

Yesterday we hiked to a neighboring bay with a white sand beach, wild (but emacipated) horses, melon farm, and lots of evidence of ancient inhabitants. We spent the evening on the beach with several other boats, where John started a great fire and amazed the kids with his new fire-stick/knife (thanks Mikey). Kids always love starting fire without matches.

Today we hiked over a mountain pass to the next bay and village of Hatiheu, where we explored the fantastic archeaological sites of Hikokoa, Kamuihei and Tahakia. We have heard that 3-6000 people once lived here, from about 300 AD and the site was in use until European contact in the 1800's. European disease decimated populations throughout the Marquesas, which were once estimated at least 80,000 to as msny as 150,000 people.

Our group of 13 sought out lunch at Chez Yvonne, which we had read was an excellent restarurant. The boys were finally able to enjoy the goat meal that they had been yearning for...and no machete was required!! Amy and I shared the Gastronomic de Jour, a delightful platter of various seafood treats, with breadfruit and taro on the side.

Unfortunately with all this activity, we have missed our pattern of regular sieta-ing. We plan to chill-out tomorrow, take in some snorkeling in the bay, and catch up on our siestas!

The nonos and mosquitos haven't been as bad as we expected...until today. We're now covered in bites. Apparently, elephantitis is on the rise here, and is spread by mosquitos. Or so the rumour goes. We'll be on the lookout for fat ankles. And wheelbarrows.

We tell you about these things so you don't become disillusioned about our life in paradise. The locals laugh at our dinghy, especially now when we try to put 4 people in it, and it barely floats...and now that our pull cord is broken, we are using a piece of string around the head in order to start it. We are a floating entertainment delight for those around us.