After leaving Hiva Oa's Traitor's Bay on Saturday morning we went to Hanamoenoa Bay on Tahuata, and set anchor next to Gaviota. Brandon yelled to us, "Welcome to Paradise!", and it was! The water is so crystal clear you can see your anchor and just about everyone else's too. It is rated among the three most beautiful anchorages in French Polynesia. Frank and I jumped in to check Destiny's bottom and I began to feel the familiar burning sensation of jelly fish stings. I scrambled out of the water and applied medicine to my legs and arms then looked back over the rail to discover that the water was teeming with tiny jellies. The sandy beach was so inviting that we snorkeled to shore a little while later and walked around. There are no amenities and nothing else around besides some coconut palms and lime trees. We spent a blissful day just snorkeling around and being lazy. The reefs are burned up yet hold an abundance of parrot fish of all sizes and colors, especially the rainbow and stop-light variety, queen trigger fish and many others that we've seen before but could not identify. The ladies on Casteele had told us that Baie Vaitahu, just around the next point has a nice village with a store where we could find a few groceries and procure fresh water, so we stayed only two days in paradise making an early morning departure on Monday.
We arrived in Vaitahu to find one other sailboat here called "Our Country Home" and we were happy to see that they are American. This is a beautiful village with homes much larger and more well appointed than at the other islands, two dry-goods stores, a post office (no wifi), and a pay phone. The large school is bustling with children. There is an impressive church that seems to be the focal point of the village. One of the stores has a bakery in the front that turns out fresh baguettes each morning. They were already sold out, but the couple from Our Country Home was there and told us you can order it, so we placed an order for 4 loaves to pick up the next morning. Back in the bay, two more American boats arrived, "Baraka" & "Warm Rain". We found that these three were all buddy boats. The other two boats don't seem as friendly - we waved and waved to them but either they ignored us or didn't see us (hard to imagine). I felt a little sad that we finally saw some other Americans and they didn't seem as happy to see us as we them.
We went back into shore to fill our jerry cans at the fresh water faucet to put into the head tank, and then made another trip to top off the jugs. We have not yet put outside water into Destiny's potable tanks and are resisting doing so. Frank continued to fiddle with the watermaker and by 7:30 PM it began to operate. He said he has no idea what he did - we danced a jig, crossed our fingers and held our breath trying not to get too excited, but it was hard not to! We left it on, praying that it would keep working over night.
We had a wonderful dinner, another one of our concoctions; grilled chicken breasts seasoned with salt, pepper and ginger, sautéed onions with pineapple chunks and cashews, added a couple packages of Uncle Ben's wild and long grain rice (already seasoned), diced the chicken and mixed it all together. It was quite good. After dinner we spotted lights coming around the point followed by a large vessel. It came clear into the bay and shined a very bright spot light on us. This, we think, is the supply ship. It dropped anchor to await unloading in the morning.
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