Anchored in Taiohae Bay, Nuku Hiva

Just a quick note to let you know we are anchored safely in Taiohae Bay on Nuku Hiva.  Anchorage in Hane on Ua huka was ridiculous and down right dangerous – huge swell and messy seas rolling right in to the anchorage and there were three boats in there precariously anchored bow and stern on a lee shore.  We called an audible, turned into the wind, raised the main and got the hell out of there.

After another 6 hour downwind leg we arrived in Nuku Hiva.  This anchorage is packed and reminds me of La Cruz.  I counted 55 boats in here!  At least there is plenty of room as it’s a big bay.

Tomorrow we will seek out Kevin from the local yacht services and hopefully he is able to help with sewing our jib and helping to procure a new raw water pump for our engine.  We have a raw water leak into the engine.  There is water dripping from the crankcase breather and the oil level is rising…

We’ll also try and find a good internet connection and upload some of our great pics!

– Lewis & the (very tired) Princess Turtle Pea

Taiohae Bay, Nuku Hiva, Marquesas, French Polynesia

08 55.13 S
140 05.81 W

Rough Ride to Ua Huka

It’s 5:00 am local time and we are 5 miles south of Ua Huka.  The seas are 8-10 ft, the wind currently at 18 knots on the beam.  We dropped the main and are slowly making way towards the island under yankee alone.  Motion is pretty violent with seas on the beam and such little canvas flying.  Every once in a while a huge breaking wave overtakes us and tosses Ellie down the wave face and on to her side.  There is a strong current and we are steering a course 30 degrees east of our true heading.  Too rough to drop the centerboard, it just bangs around so had to raise it.  SOG is 3 knots.  Waiting for sun to rise to illuminate island before proceeding to the anchorage at Hane.

We pulled anchor yesterday just before sunset and set a course 64 miles north to Ua Huka.  The channel between Tahuata and Hiva Oa was predictably howling and good sailing just as the sun set.  The lee of Hiva Oa sucked.  It was my shift and I spent hours fighting light inconsistent winds and ultimately had to drop the main and turn on the engine to get out of the wind shadow.  Once 7 miles past Hiva Oa the trades filled back in and we flew along under double-reefed main and yankee doing 7 knots in 20 knots of wind on the beam.  We made it close to the island with time to spare before sunrise so we are painfully creeping towards the island.

I wanted to sail to Ua Huka for a few reasons but one main reason was to get away from other cruising boats.  Unfortunately there is a tri-color masthead light on the horizon on the same course.  Oh well, I’ll just have to wait until we can find an atoll in the Tuamotus that no one has heard of.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

April 27, 2014

Off the coast of Ua Huka, Marquesas, French Polynesia

09 00.3 S
139 30.7 W

Another Day in Paradise….back in Hanamoenoa Bay

Ka Oha!

Yesterday we awoke from a restless night at anchor on rocks and kayaked across the bay to the quaint village of Hapatoni.  We strolled along the waterfront on the same road that the Marquesan Queen had built and is referred to as the “Royal Road.”  It was built with crushed coral and stone and is quite unique.  Along the way we visited an old church and then met three Marquesan men sitting on the waterfront carving various wood pieces.  One was carving a horn and even demonstrated for us that it worked and another was carving a paddle.  They were using traditional hand tools (no electric dremel tool in sight).  In the little French we know (and a healthy dose of hand gesturing) we asked where we could buy some bone carvings.  They were all smiles and pointed down the road and on the right.  We thanked them and ventured further down the main road.  We then came across two women and asked again.  They gestured to follow them and we did so until we all reached a covered patio.  Once at the patio they brought out a few bags and laid out the carvings on the table.  We carefully went through all the intricate carvings and chose two necklaces, one was carved into a traditional fish hook and another carved like a small horn with very intricate Marquesan designs engraved into it.  We negotiated a price, paid, thanked the women and walked back to the kayak.

After a nice paddle across the bay we tied up at Ellie, had lunch, made fresh water and then pulled anchor and headed up the coast to Vaitahu.  Once at the head of Vaitahu Bay we were welcomed with 28 knots of headwind and the only promise in the anchorage was for a very steep sloping shelf with poor holding so we decided to push on to Hanamoenoa Bay.  It was a great decision.  Upon approach to the bay we saw four boats leaving so we knew there would be a good spot.  We dropped the hook at the head of the bay in the turquoise water and set it hard in a big patch of sand.  We enjoyed an amazing sunset and retired for the night.

We awoke this morning feeling energized and excited for the day.  The plan was to inflate the dinghy, put the 10hp motor on and zip down the coast back to Vaitahu to explore the town and hopefully score some baguettes and/or eggs.  That plan was shot down for two reasons: first I noticed the dinghy had a leak near the floor and was taking on water; and second, once outside the bay it was very clear that the wind chop was too severe and the dinghy was getting thrown violently up and down on the swell.  So as much as it annoyed me we decided not to go in the dinghy and proceeded to put everything away and dry out the dinghy on deck so I can patch the holes.

Once we were finished putting everything away we noticed some black spots in the water behind Ellie.  We watched closely and realized it was a bunch of huge manta rays!  We jumped in the kayak and peddled over to them.  Luckily we had grabbed the underwater camera and for the next 45 minutes we shot pictures and video of these amazing creatures flying through the water and surfacing right next to us!  It was an awesome moment and one we will never forget.

Unfortunately on the way back to the boat one of the rudder control lines on the kayak parted and we lost steerage.  I got us back to Ellie by using the paddle but wasn’t too excited about having to fix something else.  After lunch we both tackled the kayak repair and replaced the broken control line with 125 lb test fishing line and it worked like a charm.  I even broke out the dremel tool and shaved a chunk out of the rudder so it turned through its full arc more smoothly.

Now that we had the kayak up and running we decided to take a trip to the beach.  We landed on the beach and ventured into the jungle in search of fruit or bananas.  We did manage to find lime trees and brought back about 50 limes.  Unfortunately no Pamplemousse or bananas.

We ended our great day in the cockpit sharing great conversation, appetizers and wine.  We are beginning to contemplate our route through the Tuamotu Archipelago and are getting very excited.  At this point it looks like we will leave Tahuata in a day or two bound for Ua Huka (in search of a Marquesan war club), Nuku Hiva (to fix our Jib), Ua Pou (for a hike to the third largest waterfall in the world) and then on to the Tuamotus (in search of black pearls and incredible diving!)….do we pinch ourselves now?1?!

Still haven’t found internet but I went through and compressed a bunch of amazing pictures so we can upload them as soon as we find a connection, most likely in Nuku Hiva.  Stay tuned!

Lewis and Alyssa

April 25, 2014

Hanamoenoa Bay, Tahuata Island, Marquesas, French Polynesia

09 54.449 S
139 06.256 W

Breakdown on Fatu Hiva and the Wild Ride to Tahuata

We were planning on sailing out of Fatu Hiva yesterday but Murphy’s Law reared it’s ugly head and we were temporarily stranded in the Bay of Virgins!  ….what a terrible place for engine trouble ;-)

As Allan (Alyssa’s dad) likes to say about one of the truths of boating: “Sh!t breaks”

Yesterday morning we woke up early to set sail for Tahuata.  We deflated and strapped the kayak down, removed all the canvas covers on the eisenglass, stowed everything and proceeded to start the engine…..and nothing happened.  We tried to start it again and not a sound.  We needed to leave by 8:00 am to make sure we reach the anchorage on Tahuata before sunset and it was 7:45.  There was no wind so we couldn’t even sail out.  So out came the voltmeter, off came the engine covers and I began my ritual of probing leads to trace the issue.  There was good voltage at the starter solenoid and the batteries were fully charged so I knew we had power.  I suspected the starter switch or the wire from the starter switch to the solenoid so I checked that.  The fuse was good so I had Lyss go up to the control panel and push the starter button while I held the voltmeter to the leads.  I got a reading of negative 9 volts with no difference when she hit the start switch.  Ok found my culprit.  Thankfully we have a spare starter switch onboard (thanks to John the previous owner) so we tore apart the v-berth and dug out the spare switch.  I wired it up with alligator clips and that sweet sound of the engine firing up lit up our faces.  then the real fun began; we had the opportunity to clear out the jam-packed aft lazarette to get to the back of the engine panel!  After much contorting and sweating I emerged from the lazarette triumphant in having replaced the faulty switch.  We crossed our fingers that the switch was the culprit and successfully fired up the engine!

We had already strapped the kayak down and made the boat passage-ready so we spent the afternoon relaxing, reading and enjoying our amazing surroundings for an extra day.

This morning we woke at 6:30, fired up the engine, pulled anchor and headed out to sea.  We pulled out the spare 140% genoa that we bent on in the anchorage and set a course for the lee of Tahuata.  We enjoyed a great 35 mile beam reach to the south side of Tahuata.  As we approached the point I asked Lyss to help me furl in half of the genoa in anticipation of gusty winds around the point.  I really wanted to have the main up and double-reefed but laziness prevailed and we closed with the island under a half furled genoa.  This old genoa is a real pain to handle when furled because it’s old, a bit worn out and has a huge belly.  Having a huge belly makes it a total pig when half-furled and it’s impossible to sheet it flat.  I thought we would see winds pipe up from 13-15 to maybe 20 or a max of 24.  I was wrong and the winds piped up to almost 30 knots and the seas became really confused and steep.  I told Alyssa to ease the sheet so I can furl it in more or just furl it all the way in.  As soon as she eased the sheet the genoa went nuts flapping in the wind and was putting immense strain on the rig as it yanked the hell out of the rig to the point I thought it was going to come down.  As soon as she eased the sheet I pulled on the furler line with all my strength but I couldn’t get it in.  WTF?!?!  I was fighting with the line while the sail tried to take the rig down flailing and flogging in the 30 knot winds.  I couldn’t get it in so I yelled to Alyssa to sheet it back in.  I had never had a problem furling in a headsail even in very strong winds.  The line must have been wrapped over on itself on the furling drum…great!  I was pissed but needed to sail the boat close to the wind so it wouldn’t rip the genoa to shreds or pull the rig down.  It was very tense and high adrenaline sailing to say the least.  Alyssa was at the helm steering to the ever-changing wind direction and I was manning the port winch so I could blow out the sail when the wind went from 10 to 28 in less than two seconds.  We were sailing in the lee of Tahuata and the huge soaring peaks and valleys were funneling the trades resulting in patches of dead calm and then huge winds!  I would never fly that much sail in this situation but I couldn’t get the damn genoa to furl away and dropping the sail entirely was completely out of the question in these conditions.  So we did our best for the next 45 minutes until we reached a spot behind a mountain peak where the wind dropped to an inconsistent 15-18 knots.  We then orchestrated a way to furl the reluctant sail away.  I had Lyss ease the sheet completely and I quickly uncleated the furling line and threw a few wraps around the winch drum and cranked like hell to get the sail furled away.  It worked and we proceeded to motor the last mile into the anchorage.

We are now anchored in the beautiful Hanatefau Bay, just north of Bay Hapatoni.  As we came into the bay we were welcomed by a pod of baby dolphins jumping and twirling just off the starboard bow!  It was an awesome moment and Alyssa was thrilled to be out of that wind and watching the dolphins.  We are anchored on rocks and coral patches and the water is crystal clear.  We can see the bottom 40 feet below us!  The wind is pushing us around and we are dancing a bit and dragging our 200 feet of chain along some rocks which echo’s throughout the boat but this is a gorgeous bay and we are very glad to have survived the previous ordeal!

We’ll launch the kayak later and go explore the bay.  Tomorrow we will go explore the town of Hapatoni, the largest on Tahuata, and seek out some bone carvings.

Hope all is well back home.  We love hearing from you all so drop us a line when you have a moment.

Lewis and Alyssa

April 23, 2014

Hanatefau Bay, Tahuata Island, Marquesas, French Polynesia

09 57.795 S
139 07.111 W

Fatu Hiva

We are anchored in the famous Baie Hanavave, also known as the Bay of Virgins.

The bay has always been known to the Marquesans as Hanavave, or “big surf bay”.  The Spanish navigators named the bay “Bay des Verges” which means the Bay of Penises, most likely due to the rock pinnacles above the bay.  The missionaries were appalled and inserted an “i” into the name to make it “Bay of Vierges” which translates to the Bay of Virgins.

The incredible beauty and awesome rugged peaks are awe inspiring.  This bay has been described as the most beautiful in the world by famous navigators, writers and explorers including Captain Cook, Robert Louis Stevenson, Herman Melville and others.  Stevenson described the bay best and it kills me that I can’t access his exact quote (it’s on my kindle and it got some saltwater on it and died) but it was something to the effect that this bay is where dreams are made.

The most exciting time of day is two hours before sunset.  There is usually high dark cloud cover over the tallest peaks in the background but the sunset illuminates the peaks in the foreground which glow above the dense green jungle and palms.  As the sun sinks lower the huge mountain range in the background is slowly illuminated and the shadows climb up the ridge.  The show of lights is incredible and the curtains close with the sunset over the pacific that seems to last forever at this latitude.  It’s easy to understand why this bay has graced the cover of more sailing magazines than any other bay.  I wish we could bury the hook and stay forever.

We have some awesome pictures to share but unfortunately (or fortunately) there is no internet access on this island so you’ll just have to wait!  Or google around to find some pics of this amazing bay.

We have been relaxing and working on boat projects the past few days.  We dropped the jib and started to hand stitch the cover back on but decided to fold it up and just replace it with the spare sail until we can get to a sailmaker to repair or replace the UV strip.  I traded two guys from SF a few Tahitian beers (Hinano’s) and some tequila for a brand new sewing machine.  It’s great for the canvas work we still have to do; Alyssa already made a cover for the outboard.  Unfortunately it won’t work for sail repair until we get a more heavy duty needle.

Yesterday we took the kayak to shore and went hiking.  We hiked through the wonderful little village of Hanavave, met a few locals and found our way up the valley behind the village.  We crossed the river and started up a trail that climbed the ridge.  Along the way we walked past a few little dwellings and the residents were all very friendly and always smiled and replied to us with the same “Ka Oha” which means hello in Marquesan.  Turns out we were on the wrong trail and the wrong side of the river.  A very nice woman walked us back down the trail and showed where to cross the river to get on the right trail.  We lept from rock to rock and found the right path.  After a steep scramble up the mountain we found ourselves at an amazing waterfall about 200+ feet high.  It was a magical setting and we had it all to ourselves.  We took some great pics and a video we’ll upload when we can!

Once we were back in the village we went back to one of the locals homes and he uncovered all his wood carvings.  I really liked the war club that had a polished volcanic stone bound to the top and the entire handle was carved into a ti’i (tiki) with intricate Marquesan designs.  He had the price listed as 12,000 francs (about $140 US) but he wanted to trade.  He said he wanted vino.  I thought no problem because we still have a good stash onboard but Lyss wasn’t so excited to trade her precious wine for a wood carving.  I returned to the boat to gather my trading items.  I managed to wrestle one box of wine away from the Princess (purchase cost $3 in Mexico, current value to Alyssa: priceless) also grabbed some old 1/2″ line, a $10 pair of sunglasses, an old buck knife and some sabiki fishing rigs.  I returned to the house and began the bargaining process.  I brought out the wine, rope and knife and waited for a reaction (by the way, we can’t speak to each other due to the language barrier).  He asked if we had more vino, to which I replied unfortunately not and tried to explain “ma femme” and waved my finger to explain she wouldn’t give up her stash!  He was interested in the rope and put that on one side of the table.  He didn’t want the knife so I took that back.  He took one of the sabiki fishing rigs.  Then I brought out the sunglasses, which he did like and put on his side of the table.  He then asked again for more vino and when I said I don’t have anymore he started writing down figures.  Damn, you mean my $30 worth of crap on the table wasn’t gonna cut it?!  haha.  He wrote down 5,000 francs and showed to me.  I shook my head and asked for the paper and pen.  I wrote down 3,500 (about $40 US) and he thought for a minute.  He agreed to the deal and we shook hands.  I walked away with an awesome rosewood war club carved into a ti’i.  He also gave me some pamplemousse.

When I returned to the kayak there were a bunch of kids from the village standing nearby.  As I approached they started yelling “Monsieur, Monsieur” and were gesturing that they wanted to go for a ride in the kayak.  They were very compelling and I decided to take them for a quick ride.  I got in the back and one of the little girls jumped in the front.  They all laughed hysterically as we peddled away.  They had never seen someone peddle a boat before.  When we returned they asked if they could get “Father”.  I said yes and the little boy went running towards the village.  He returned shortly after with his Dad, who was covered in very impressive tattoos.  We shook hands and I showed him how to operate the rudder.  I let the Father take each of the kids out for rides.  I sat on the rocks smiling and was very happy I was able to bring such joy to these friendly people.  The kids had a blast and the Father was very appreciative.  I then peddled back to Ellie to show Alyssa my new “toy” and tell her about the locals.

We are loving our time in Fatu Hiva.  We were talking yesterday about building a little hut up in the mountains on that trail and settling in forever.  I said I would fish for tuna and smoke it and Alyssa said she was in, as long as she got a shipment of “whatever she wanted” each week.  The latter may be a tall order since there is no airport here and ships only arrive once every three weeks…. damn.

We will probably stay here another day or so before sailing back to Tahuata in search of bone carvings.  The anchorage is also very crowded with other cruising boats.  I counted 24 last night.  That’s 23 too many; although it’s easy to understand why they are all here.

Happy Easter everyone!

Lewis and Alyssa

April 20, 2014

Hanavave Bay, Fatu Hiva, Marquesas, French Polynesia

10 27.874 S
138 40.099 W

Inked in Fatu Hiva

Yesterday I participated in an ancient Marquesan tradition and got a tattoo on my shoulder!

It was quite the experience.  I had my own ideas of what it would be like to get a tattoo but the reality was quite different.

When we arrived at Teddy’s house he showed us the drawing he came up with. After he explained each symbol and motif (his girlfriend translated Marquesan to English for us) I was extremely happy with the design and ready for the pain…..or so I thought.

After getting all the tools of the trade ready he sat me in a chair and put my arm on a table.  Once he fired up the tattoo gun I jokingly made a gesture I was running out the door and we all had a good laugh.  At this point I thought, OK no big deal, so it will hurt a bit but I’ll just deal with it.  Apparently I grossly overestimated my pain threshold….

He started making the bold main lines of the design. It hurt like hell but wasn’t overwhelming and I tried my best to keep calm and relax. Unfortunately my body was slowly winning over my mind, and I began to sweat profusely.  I tried my best to focus on breathing and relaxing but then my vision started to dim… and I was on the verge of passing out… and felt like I was about to vomit.  I was a bit embarrassed, to say the least (it also didn’t help that the day before Alyssa handled the pain with MUCH more grit!).  I stepped outside in search of a place to vomit, but luckily I was able to hold it together, sat down beneath the fruit trees and eventually was able to regain my composure.

At this point I had a few deep lines bleeding in my shoulder, and for a split second I was very worried that I wouldn’t physically be able to undergo this torture for another 4 hours.  Luckily, that’s when I felt my body’s natural chemical machine kick in.  I had a ton of adrenaline and endorphins coursing through my veins.  I ate some bread, had some water, and made the gesture to my assailant that I was ready for round two.

This time he had me lay down which made it much easier to relax my body.  He fired up the gun and continued the barrage of needle attacks.  This time I was able to focus on my breathing and actually control my muscles from tensing up.  My body had released so many endorphins that I couldn’t stop smiling, which was awkward.  The rest of the time I focused on my breathing and staying relaxed and was able to handle the next 4 hours.  It wasn’t less painful but I was able to convince my body that what was happening was OK and was able to bear the pain.

I’m extremely happy with the outcome.  The end result is indescribable and you’ll just have to see the art to fully appreciate it.  It’s a powerful Marquesan translation of the voyage and everything I love and that makes me happy.  The centerpiece is a Marquesan compass that also symbolizes guidance and intelligence.  Above the compass on the back of my shoulder is a sea turtle that symbolizes becoming a shellback and in Marquesan means prosperity and family.  On the feet of the sea turtle are Marquesan symbols for a man and a woman, representing Alyssa and I on our voyage.  The center of the turtle shell has a Marquesan tri-cross and each point has a symbol representing the ocean, the mountains and the people.  There is a motif under the compass that is Marquesan for voyage.  The rest of the design incorporates bands for: the ocean, wind, sea birds, sea life and a white ray.

It was a hell of an experience and something we will never forget.  We are both extremely excited we were able to find a way for the incredible island of Fatu Hiva to leave a permanent mark on us.  I’m literally living my dream and that in itself was reason enough to finally get a tattoo.

Yesterday afternoon we left Omo’a and sailed for Hanavave Bay, also known as the Bay of Virgins.  This bay is even more beautiful and awe inspiring than Omo’a was, and I think we’ll spend some time here before moving on.  I will send an additional post tomorrow describing this amazing place.

A noho oe,

Lewis and Alyssa

April 16, 2014

Bay Hanavave, Fatu Hiva, Marquesas, French Polynesia

10 27.869 S
138 40.105 W

Bonjour from the most spectacular island in the world, Fatu Hiva!

On Sunday we rose with the sun and decided to take advantage of the lighter SE winds to make the bash from Tahuata to Fatu Hiva.  We hoisted full sail and enjoyed an idyllic beam reach down the coast of Tahuata.  As we neared the south point of the island we readied for war.  Hatches were secured, dodger snapped in, sails reefed, etc.  As we neared the point, predictably the winds increased from 13 to 15 to 18, 25 and peaked at 30 knots as the sea reintroduced us to the prevailing SE swell.  Once we left the lee of the island the winds subsided to 15 and we made for Fatu Hiva on a close haul.  Our destination was 40 miles to windward so we reserved ourselves for an all-day bash.  We made the island in two tacks and by sunset we found ourselves 10 miles short.  Luckily it was a full moon so we cautiously proceeded on towards the island.  We saw all the anchor lights in the Bay of Virgins and a few AIS targets anchored in 80+ feet so we decided to drop the hook in the empty Omo’a bay on the south side of the island.  We sounded our way in to 75 feet and dropped all our chain and retired for the night.

The next day we awoke and found ourselves anchored in the most spectacular setting I have ever seen.  There was a strong aroma of tropical flowers and as the sun rose above the soaring rugged pinnacles it illuminated paradise.  The towering mountains are covered in bright green trees, palms and vegetation.  At the head of the bay there is a black sand beach that the surf pounds relentlessly.  There is a crystal clear creek flowing through the middle of town and the streets are lined with colorful flowers.  We have some amazing pictures that we will upload as soon as we get an internet connection.

We spent yesterday exploring the town and meeting locals.  Everyone is so happy and friendly here.  We followed the signs to the Artesian Center and asked around for a place to trade or buy Tapa.  A friendly local woman with amazingly intricate tattoos pointed us to a home down the street.  The woman unrolled some of her tapa creations for us to browse.  Fatu Hiva is the only island in the world where they still make tapa.  It’s a paper-like substrate that is made from beating the inner bark of the mulberry tree into a pulp and then the local tattoo artists draw the ancient Marquesian designs on the tapa.  We attempted to trade her a dress, some fabric and fishing gear but apparently trading has gone the way of the tapa and she would only accept francs.  We bought two pieces with a sea turtle as the centerpiece of the artwork.

Then we returned to the Artesian Center to ask about the woman’s intricate tattoos.  That’s when we met Roberto, a friendly local who spoke English.  Roberto owns a large farm on the island and also works for the city government office.  We spoke for a while and he also had beautiful Marquesan tattoos on his arms and chest.  He told us about the best tattoo artist on the island, his name is Teddy.  He pointed us in the direction of the tattoo artist and off we went to seek him out.  Teddy’s brother, Allan, lived down the street and was excited to take us to Teddy.  We jumped in his Range Rover and drove up the hill outside of town to Teddy’s house.  Teddy was outside building a new house.  After a failed attempt at understanding each other (Teddy speaks French and Marquesan, we of course don’t speak either) and after much hand gesturing we all came to the conclusion that Teddy wanted us to return the next day.

We returned to the Artesian Center and spoke to Roberto about the encounter.  He graciously offered to go translate for us.  We also sat in his office reviewing many images of Marquesian tattoos and he took the time to explain the meaning of each design and motif.  Later that afternoon we met up with Roberto, jumped in his truck and back up the hill we went.  We were finally able to have a meaningful exchange with Teddy.  Teddy wanted to understand our stories and the general themes we would like in each tattoo.  He said he would spend some time drawing up each design and we should return at 9:00 am the next day.

We graciously thanked Roberto and he was kind enough to drive us back down to the bay.  We gifted him some fishing gear as a thank you.

This morning we made our way back up the hill to Teddy’s house and Alyssa got her tattoo.  I’ll let her describe it but it came out very well.  It’s beautiful, intricate and meaningful.  I’m just shocked she wanted it on her face…..KIDDING!  He wanted more time to develop my design and asked we return tomorrow morning for my turn under the needle!

Now we are on the boat and will tackle a few boat projects this afternoon.  We pulled the jib down and will attempt some sail repair on the UV cover.  I also need to clean the waterline again, it’s getting pretty bad.

The fruit hammocks in the galley are also completely loaded with pamplemousse and starfruit.  Everywhere we go the locals seem to gift us more and more fruit.  We were given another whole cardboard box full this morning.  Around here food actually DOES just grow on trees!

Well that’s our update from paradise.  We’re living it up and loving every minute!

Lewis and Alyssa

Omo’a, Fatu Hiva, Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia

10 30.764 S
138 41.496 W

Ia Orana from Tahuata!

We are back in cruising mode!  Yesterday we sailed out of Atuona bound for either the lee of Hiva Oa or neighboring Tahuata.  While we were jibing down the Bordeaux Channel between Hiva Oa and Tahuata we consulted our cruising guide and the allure of turquoise waters and coral reefs pulled us south to drop anchor in  picturesque Hanamoenoa Bay.  Such a beautiful anchorage.  There are lush green mountains towering over the bay.  Each side of the bay has steep black volcanic rock walls undercut by the crashing waves.  The water is a bright turquoise blue, crystal clear and warm (we can see sand and rock directly below the boat, 35 feet deep!).  The head of the bay is equally magnificent with a white sand beach covered in palm trees with a few small huts.

There is good protection from the swells here although the squalls are magnified over the hills and funnel into the anchorage so we are dancing on our anchor a bit.  We are set in sand so we haven’t moved.

We are having an awesome day.  Alyssa made a delicious breakfast this morning and afterwards I was itching to go exploring so we launched the kayak immediately.  I peddled (that’s right, our kayak has foot peddles!) over to the edge of the bay and turned south down the coast, staying about 30 feet off the cliffs and soaked in the natural beauty of the waves crashing through the porous lava formations.  Then I came back to Ellie to pick up Miss Lyss and go snorkeling.

We dropped the kayak anchor near some interesting coral formations and spent a couple hours just floating around observing the coral and fish life.  There was a lot of fan and elkhorn coral formations with a variety of fish species, there were parrot fish, tangs, butterfly fish, box fish, surgeon fish, soldier fish and one huge trumpet fish that must have been 4 feet long!

Then we kayaked over to the beach, dropped anchor just outside the surf and swam in.  We explored the dried palm thatch dwellings that seem to be used on occasion but were not occupied and then collected some pretty shells.

It’s lunch now and I smell some of Alyssa’s finest wafting up the companionway so better sign off.  This afternoon I will tackle another boat project – fresh water pump is on it’s last leg.  Luckily we have a spare onboard.

Either this afternoon or tomorrow we will sail to the town of Vaitahu.

Also, we don’t have internet access so the best way to reach us continues to be through our at-sea email address.  We have a ton of great pics and are eager to share once we find a reasonably priced and sufficiently fast connection!

Anchored – Baie Hanamoenoa

09 54.500 S
139 06.298 W