We are anchored in the beautiful Hanamoenoa bay on the island of Tahuata here in the Marquesas Islands. I wish the images we attach were not reduced to such poor quality, because we have so many gorgeous pictures we would love to share with you! We had a very brief moment of internet access while in Atuona on Hiva Oa, and I had written a long post and was uploading a bunch of pictures, and before I could finish, I lost connection and was never able to post the update with the photos. So back to Iridium satellite it is...
Since our last post we have left Fatu Hiva after a great reunion with our friends on Cheeky Monkey and a party with almost the entire anchorage on board their boat. It was one of their crew member's birthday and everyone was invited. There were people from all over the world on board that night: South Africa, U.S., New Zealand, Germany, France and England! Great fun was had by all!
Sadly we had to leave the ne xt morning, and we had a rather bumpy 7 hour sail over to Hiva Oa, where we had to check in. We we thrilled to find that the normally crowded anchorage had only 8 boats in it, so we found a good spot and that was home for the next 3 days. We had a very pleasant check in process, with the friendly Gendarmerie (police) welcoming us to French Polynesia! The town of Atuona was about a 45 minute walk from the harbour, but we never had to walk it once!! The people are so friendly, we were always offered a lift! The most we ever walked was maybe 10 minutes before some kind soul picked us up!
We arrived on Tuesday night, got all our provisioning, check in and refueling done on Wednesday, and then Thursday was Bastille day. We went into town early on Thursday morning, and were treated to a parade through the town, with the procession ending in a big field, where there was traditional Polynesian dancing. It was great to experience the festivities! Sadly we heard about t he attack in Nice during their Bastille day celebrations.
We then had arranged for a tour of the island, with the end destination being the Iipona archeological site near the village of Puamau, where there are huge stone tiki carvings perched on massive stone pedestals, which are estimated to be over 2,000 years old! The ride there and back was breathtaking, with the road at times being somewhat questionable, with hairpin curves like we've never experienced before! The whole outing was amazing, giving us a great overview of the island, and tiki were fantastic to see.
The kids also hit the jackpot, when we made friends with Stewart and Louise, and their 2 daughters, Eleanor (10) and Hannah (8) on "Skylark". The girls even had a sleepover on our boat the one night! We also finally met up with John and Julie on "Mary Ann II", the boat we were in daily contact with via SSB during the crossing. It was great to put faces with the voices and also to meet the ir ship's dog, Murphy, a cavalier spaniel. Gaby and Ben were thrilled to have a dog to pet again!
Yesterday, after a last, quick trip into town, we headed over to this anchorage. It is simply stunning. We are the only boat here...There was one other boat, but they left this morning (we may have scared them away!). The water is crystal clear and turquoise, the bottom is sandy and there is a beautiful, big, Palm tree lined beach, (where we had sundowners last night). This bay is known for its manta rays. These gentle giants sweep through with their huge mouths open, vacuuming up the plankton. We have not been disappointed...We've snorkeled with them a couple of times, and as I write this, the alarm was sounded again: "Manta!" Everyone is scrambling to get their fins on!!
We have downloaded the weather and it looks like a good weather window to head over to the Tuamotus atolls, about 580 miles from here, if we leave tomorrow morning at about 6:00am. We expect a 4 day passage with good winds of 15-20 knots. While we would love to spend more time exploring the Marquesas Islands, we do need to keep moving to get Garrick to Bora Bora, where he will hop a flight to Tahiti, since he flying out of there on August 1st. But we have no doubt that the next spot that awaits us will be as beautiful as the one before!
So for now, au revoir!
Sent from Iridium Mail & Web.