while at sea: firstname.lastname@example.org
Skype ID: frank.barb.gladney
By 9:00 AM we were stocked and ready for the drive. The first part was so beautiful! It looked as though God had just scooped up handfuls of every type of vegetation and flowering seed and threw it down on this island during its creation. Along the drive we saw ferns mixed with palms, mixed with moss, mixed with pine trees, hibiscus, bougainvilleas, exotic flowers as you would see in Hawaii, cactus, and so on. There were goats, horses and chickens all about. The road went from pavement to dirt
to near solid rocks as we wound up and down, navigating hairpin turns, and was very narrow much like the road to Hana, in Maui. As we passed through to the northern, (leeward) side of the island, the terrain became more rocky, dusty and steep. At times, my heart beat wildly and nearly right out of my chest as Frank negotiated some of the curves while the road angled sharply downward, and we would lose traction. I kept thinking that "treacherous" was too kind a word for this road. We passed several
beautiful bays that just glimmered in the sunlight with hues that we cannot describe, and which took my mind off of the sputtering of my heart! We finally hit a paved road as we made the last skidding turn when we neared the village of Iipona in Puamao bay. We saw the copa drying sheds and began looking for the restaurant, Marie Antoinette. They only cook for the number of guests who have reserved a spot, and they only open if they have patrons booked. It is very small - only 4 long tables.
Ours was set and waiting for us, laden with a standard Marquesan feast. We do not know what some of the food was. These folks spoke no English, but the waiter oinked to tell us one dish was pig (probably wild), and made bleating goat noises to tell us another was goat (these also run wild around the island), there was some raw fish marinated in lime & coconut milk with onion and cabbage much like ceviche , a plate of rice, something that we think was breadfruit cottage fries, bananas cooked two
different ways and something made from coconut that was the size of a small sausage patty, but sweet. Everything was tasty and the meats were covered in delicious sauces, however, we found that they just cook the animal whole and then chop it up bone and all so we had to take care when eating the meat. Behind the restaurant was the gravesite of a descendant of the queen, with two tikis marking the tomb. We took pictures and then went to the ruins. They lay amidst beautiful gardens and are amazingly
well preserved. The area had four nearly intact large tiki statues plus one suspended as though in flight amid a sanctuary, terraces and alters. Some were used for prayer and some for human and animal sacrifices. One had a good petroglyph on the corner. We walked around, took pictures, posed with tikis and then headed back for the 2 hour hair pulling, gnashing of teeth drive back to the bay.
Upon arrival at the bay we found that the surge was getting worse and our stern anchor had let loose leaving our boat in peril of being slammed up onto shore. We hurriedly secured her, returned the rental car and took 4 hour turns at anchor watch. Had it not been such a beautiful night I might have minded, but I enjoyed my watch until the grinding started. I looked at the depth gage and saw that we only had a 1.5 ft. clearance. I could not tell whether our anchor was rubbing rocks on the bottom
or if Destiny's hull was scraping. At first light we shot right out of there, headed for Tahuata Island just a few miles away.
The sail over was great! We had good winds and made good time, arriving in Traitor's Bay by 2:30 PM. We gathered our documents and cash and went ashore. The walk into the town of Atuona is about 40 minutes - uphill, which we didn't mind because we are craving the exercise. The check-in process is an adventure in and of itself. We arrived at the bank just as the doors were being bolted; closed for the day, so we just got some cash from the ATM. There is only one bank in town by the way so we
were advised to get there at 7 AM the next day when the door opens otherwise we would have a long wait in line. We walked back to the boat to regroup, passing by the Atuona Car Rental building and thought - why not! The fellow there told us he was out of cars but would have one at 6 PM. We wanted a compact, but got a double cab Toyota Hilux pick-up truck for the same cost. No problem! After picking up the car we went for a fabulous dinner at one of the two local restaurants. At dinner we ran
into Mark and Danielle (from Holland), cruising the world on their catamaran Margarita, with their 3 young children.
The next morning (Thursday), we gave Mark a ride to the bank and were very glad to have him along because he speaks fluent French! Although the bank opens at 7, they won't do currency conversions or bonds until 8 which meant we waited anyway. We enjoyed watching the locals enter the bank, kiss and greet each other and then take a seat to await their turn. So much more civil than the hustle bustle we are used to. After posting our $3200.00 cash bond, and completing the necessary documentation
we went to the Gendarmerie (the law) for check-in, then to the post office to purchase a stamp ($150) for our passports which gives us a maximum stay of 90 days in French Polynesia, then back to the Gendarmerie for final processing (he licks the stamp and places it on the passport). We found that only Americans must undergo this process. Europeans only need to get their passport stamped; they get to stay 6 months and it costs nothing. Go figure! We had somewhat expected this so there were no surprises
and the process was a breeze compared to Mexico. OK, next - where is internet? It is at the post office, which is open until 3:00 PM. We hurried back over there and purchased a 10-hour internet card for $70.00! Yes, that is $7.00 per hour. The card will give us access at the islands with post offices that have wireless. We are so thrilled to have internet that we will gladly pay that. It has been a month since we'd been online so first we took care of business transactions and then looked
at our website, reading the guestbook like two children at Christmas. THANK YOU to everyone who took the time to sign it and to post comments to us. It was a real treat reading them. We then went to read our emails - there are quite a few that have come in from the website - but our battery died before we got more than one or two into them. So if you are writing to us and not getting a response, please forgive us, and don't stop writing us because you will never know what your letters, notes,
comments and emails mean to us out here. It is a precious gift to read them. We will get back to it on the next island that has a wireless signal. We ran into Ian and Julia aboard Moasi (from England)at the post office and went with them for lunch at the other restaurant in town. Thank goodness they are fluent in French as well. We had a wonderful time with them, and learned that each morning a woman sells fresh garden vegetables and eggs, from her truck, in town. Tomorrow while we have the
car we will go for fresh groceries and take a trip to see the tikis and the petroglyphs. Still no watermaker by the way…we are taking sponge baths! Every day however, we say, "Thank you, God for the experience of a lifetime!" We do love this life.
When we returned to Destiny, Frank resumed his diagnostics on the generator to find that the fuse had broken off just as the previous one had in Puerto Vallarta. I asked him if he had bought a spare after the first incident and the response I got was a scowl and low guttural sounding growl. I let it go. He eventually got out some solder material and the soldering iron and just reattached it. This one should hold! We wrapped up everything and got ready to set sail early morning for Hiva Oa, which
is about 45 nautical miles (NM) due north. By the way, we still are not getting good radio contact so there is no telling when this will get posted!
It's Jen, Barb's daughter. Mom and Frank have landed!! They hit shore in the Marquesas on friday... All is well, but they have no internet :( . They are actually in Fatu Hiva and will be doing a small halfday trip to Hiva Oa on tues or wed. Hopefully they will pick up an internet signal there :) They asked me to send a little message to the blog, to let every one know they made it! I only get a short convo when they call, due to the cost of the sat. radio... so i only have a small amout of info to report to all of ya'll.
HAPPY MOTHERS DAY :)
We vacillated on which island to make first landfall; Hiva Oa or Fatu Hiva. Hiva Oa is the capital of the southern group of Iles Marquises, better known to us Americans as the Marquesas Islands, where we could officially check into the country and go through quarantine, buy our bond (required of cruisers it is a deposit of several thousand dollars at the bank to show that you have enough money to fly out if you are not able to sail out by your appointed departure date), and re-provision. Fatu Hiva
is the southernmost island in this group and is the most logical first stop, because arriving there would put us on a course to head northwesterly toward the other islands along the area. It is reputed to be the most beautiful of this group of islands, although not an official entry point. We chose Fatu Hiva. We chose paradise, as untouched by commerce and western culture as it gets. We arrived and set the hook at 21:30 UTC (or GMT/Greenwich Mean Time), or 1:00 PM Fatu Hiva time. The Marquesas
are 30 minutes ahead of Tahiti time, and 9.5 hours behind UTC.
We are exhausted and thrilled to finally be somewhere. Frank is happily having a cigar on the back deck working through a six-pack, which he has well earned. I am nursing something awful that befell me about 2 1/2 days ago and has me down for the count. Extreme fatigue, muscle aches all over and a fever, clammy and aching joints have overcome me like nothing I've ever experienced. Yesterday I could barely get up to man my watches; I told Frank if I fell overboard I doubt I'd have the strength
to swim back to Destiny. I'm taking regular rounds of Advil hoping it will pass soon! I want to get out and enjoy this magnificent island. We don't know how long we will be able to stay here. We've not yet gone ashore because we are spending the rest of the day getting our boat and ourselves back in order. We've heard that right now 3 days is the norm for those not checked in. We would like to be able to stay to see Imagine's arrival, which should be about 5-6 more days from now. There 6 other
boats in the bay, one Canadian, one French, one Dutch, one German, two other American. Very international, eh? Oui!