We left for Ua Pou at 6 AM. We nearly motored the entire way. The bonus was that I saw a couple of pilot whales, and lots of fish, while Frank had gone below to talk to his Mom on the Sat phone. There was hardly a breath of wind, which caused us to arrive 30 minutes after dark. Each village along the coastline was just too dark to try to approach, so we turned seaward and decided to wait out the night on the leeward side of the island where at least we wouldn't get into the large rollers all night. It is too deep out there to drop anchor, so you just take turns at watch, drifting back and forth avoiding the fishing boats and the shoreline. About midnight I was watching the shoreline and saw a meteor fall from the sky, and like a Roman candle it spit out some beautiful colors and then fell into the ocean! I was so excited I started to run down and tell Frank, but he was sleeping and it had already passed so I just had the share the moment with my God and send Him a thank you for the awesome experience. When Frank awoke for his watch I told him about it, but it is an experience difficult to convey with words; he seemed unimpressed. When I returned topside after my nap, he excitedly told me that he had witnessed the very same phenomenon and then we had fun sharing each of our experiences with one another, wondering if it had been an anomaly or an actual meteor shower. Around midnight we decided that even if it would be rough and rolly we might as well head on over to Nuku Hiva and see Ua Pou another time.
We arrived at Nuku Hiva's Baie de Taiohae. We checked in at the gendarmerie, took our laptop over to the post office, downloaded some pictures, saw that our friends the Martins were online so we called them on Skype and talked for a while getting caught up on events back home. Sadly we learned that the town of Windsor, CO had been hit with a tornado that nearly wiped out the area. We have friends there so we have tried getting in touch with them to see how they withstood the storm. So far we know that the Thompsons and the Rentschlers are OK, but both families sustained quite a lot of property damage and endured heart-stopping experiences.
After leaving the post office we walked around the little village checking out the local amenities and services. We soon discovered that we could purchase internet hours here that we can access from our boat, here as well as at many of our future ports of call. We paid an unholy amount of money for 50 hours, but with this bought some peace of mind. Each time we lug the laptop to shore in the dinghy we run the risk of an accident.
This is a neat little island with so much culture, and that is why we think the television series, Survivor, must have chosen it for the site of Survivor Marquesas. We visited a small boutique/museum owned by a sweet little lady named Rose who came here from California with her husband, Frank, many years ago and stayed. Rose gave us a short history lesson and showed us some of the artifacts that she had either loaned to or had copied for the Survivor producers. One was a very old canoe we took a picture of course. Then she told us that the TV people had shown up with a large ship, 2 helicopters, took over the entire Keikahanui Pearl Lodge, partied a lot and brought in over 400 people including their own security to guard the Survivor tribes in the two small bays either side if the island, while the poor contestants ate moldy rice and got eaten by nonos nasty little biting bugs that you cannot see but will eat you alive.
This past Sunday was Mother's Day so we went to the Keikahanui lodge for a fabulous gourmet lunch. Really! I even kept the menu it was the best meal we have since Paris a few years ago. This is a five star restaurant. It probably cost more than we paid in Paris, but we were extremely pleased with the meal and the service.
Monday we did laundry on the boat and sent the two loads of heavy stuff towels and sheets and pants to the laundry. They could only wash because the dryer was broken that was 1,000 francs which translates to $13.50 so no telling what the price was to dry. We hung it all up around the boat and when it was nearly dry, the skies let loose with a nice rain shower! We ran around like ants grabbing laundry down to hang up inside. It was pretty funny!
Today is Tuesday, May 27, 2008. A multi-island festival started today. After we got up early to go get our fresh baked goods, we trotted over to the festival. There are all kinds of contests; canoe carving, produce (vegetables, etc), judging, sculpture carving, jewelry-making and so on. There is a lot of free food-tasting which we happily indulged ourselves in, not knowing what some of the things were that we ate. It was a lot of fun and we ran into several fellow cruisers while there. Now we are awaiting our turn to get fueled up. Afterward, we head out and will not have internet access for at least another week. Our next stop is at the very north end of Nuku Hiva, Baie D'Anaho, said to be the calmest anchorage in the islands. Then on our way out of the Marquesaswe may stop at Oa Pou before going west. Next time we get online we will be in the Tuamotus. So farewell for now. We will send brief updates from our Winlink address and will be back to sending and receiving emails, via firstname.lastname@example.org.
while at sea: email@example.com
Skype ID: frank.barb.gladney