Is a week too long? Maybe, but it’s still Paradise!

Ka Oha from Alyssa!

Nuku Hiva is a major port of entry, so there is everything you need. There are groceries, restaurants, wifi cafes with free high speed internet, bakeries, a hardware store, vehicle traffic, and, more recently, it sounds like a techno club stays open overlooking the bay which is full of about 55 other boats. The first few days were exciting for me. I tend to gravitate towards anchorages like this because I love meeting new people, enjoying cockpit time with fellow cruisers, perusing the overpriced grocery stores to see what the locals buy, waking up at 3:30am to get first pickings at the farmers market, and enjoying a cup of hot tea (yes, even in the tropics) overlooking the dingy pier where the fish market is feeding the sharks. Lewis tends to gravitate towards anchorages off the beaten path where little to no boats are ever seen, the beaches empty of people, the water clear of pollution or city runoff, and our little home perfectly anchored in serenity. The great thing about visiting islands is that it is easy to alternate anchorages of these types so we get the best of both worlds. Moving the boat from place to place is a little (usually a LOT) of work, so we like spending at least 2 or 3 nights in each anchorage so we can actually settle in and enjoy the surroundings without always feeling like you’re on the move. We do wish we had applied for a long-stay visa, increasing from a 3-month allowance to 6, however the perks come with downfalls, such as the cost of provisioning here, and more time spent in French Polynesia means less time spent in the islands after here, such as Tonga, because of hurricane season (and possibly an upcoming El Niño?). So with limited time, we say “if we don’t like it, we up anchor and move!” Which takes us to the current blog post. Is a week too long? I think so. Lewis REALLY thinks so! It would be different if we could vary the days in town on the internet with swimming, snorkeling, diving, fishing, etc, but the water is dirty (and full of aforementioned sharks!), and the fish have ciguatera. There has been very little wind so sailing the boat around the island would be quite frustrating without an engine. Our engine has been having trouble with the raw water pump which cools the engine. It started leaking, which means that the seals are starting to go bad and the seat inside is corroding. With a gear driven pump, that means that saltwater has actually started going into the engine, into the oil, and even coming out of the crank case. The engine could be run if we needed it, but it’s extremely bad for it. I say we hold tight until the part comes (possibly Tuesday). Besides, it is still paradise!!! Last night was a little annoying with the club music echoing across the anchorage that LITERALLY is still playing (it is 7am)!!!!! But let’s hope it was a one-time, Saturday night kind of thing. In the meantime, I’ll eat every last fresh vegetable in this joint, because there are none in the Tuomotos!
The farmers market is right next to the pier and there are two women who grow organic vegetables on the north side of the island. Twice a week they arrive with their finest lettuce, herbs, tomatoes, green beans, bok choy, cucumber, eggplant, and a variety of fruits. When I arrived on Wednesday at 6:45am to see what they had, everything was gone. I guess I was 45 min late since she opens at 6am Wednesdays. Thankfully she took a preorder for her Saturday delivery, but she said she opens a little earlier. 4AM?! Yes, I woke up at 3:30, smothered myself in bugspray, donned a headlamp and made my way over to the docks. Luckily she was just unloading and I got first pickings of everything, even a bunch of cilantro (or to the French, coriander). She only had one! After that I was wide awake so decided to join a couple cruising friends on a walk to the bakery. The bakery also sells out in the first hour, so I gladly picked up a couple French croissants for Lewis’ breakfast. I sat at the wifi café near the docks for a good hour skyping family after that. Just when I was about to head back to the boat, I jumped down to the dingy with my bags full of produce and felt a tickle on my shoulder. I thought it was just my hair but when I turned to look it had to very large antenna and crawled up my arm! I screamed and quickly swatted whatever it was off my arm. I kept looking around trying to find where it went or what it was, but everyone around me (now a very busy fish market) just looked at me like I was crazy! I cowered back into the dingy and started the motor. Thankfully our friends on Pamela were rowing back to their boat at the same time and I stopped to see if they could help check my back and hair to be sure there was nothing still crawling on me. Nope, still nothing. I thanked them and kept on my way to the boat. As I start to plane halfway through the anchorage, I see something very large and dark come out from under the dingy chaps. MONSTER COCKROACH!!!! I whip the dingy around and head back to Pamela, who’s almost back to their boat. “I found it! I found it!” Dennis was happy to help me hit the 3.5” cockroach into a stun and throw him overboard. You don’t want that on your boat! I still shiver thinking about it crawling on my shoulder, and so close to my face! What was that movie where Ashton Kutcher had a cockroach crawl up his neck?
So with a few more days of waiting, I’ll still be walking the markets, hopefully sans cockroach from now on, and we started doing a few boat projects that we never got around to. Lewis installed a digital engine temperature gauge at the nav station so we don’t have to go into the cockpit to monitor it all the time and it is much more accurate. I waxed our fiberglass dodger which looked so shiny compared to the rest of the boat; I kept on waxing and finished the deck topsides (she looks like a dock queen again!). Today I’m helping our friend Bruce on Skabenga by sewing and reinforcing is torn dingy chaps. I love my new sewing machine (it’s a Singer Traditional for those who have been asking). Well, it’s time for breakfast!
May 4, 2014
Taiohae Bay, Nuku Hiva

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