Hanaiapa, Hiva Oa, French Polynesia

We spent more time here than we had expected. Yet we’ve enjoyed the time, place, and people immensly. It took us a couple of days to check in with the officials then we were on to boat projects.  As with many ocean passages things break. Some problems are worse than others and by the standards of the group of boats that set off near the same time as we had, ours were minor.

Our list is: a water pump for the generator, topping lift for the staysail boom let go, ripped stay sail and really that was about it.

Other boats, (sv North Star) broken spinnaker halyard (could no longer fly the chute and had to retrieve it from the ocean), broken outhaul (same boat) with a roller reefing main this made the sail inoperative and they furled it the rest of the trip, (sv Even Star) broken Furuno autopilot requiring hand steering 2900 miles,  (sv Anthem)  blown out spinnaker, wave doused aft cabin and cushion full of salt water, (sv Cetacea) broken Profurl and Yankee / Genoa unusable, bad antenna feed cable or bad Icom radio no SSB communications, (sv Zeuses) broken Monitor Windvane over half way out, (sv Green Panther)  shorted wind charger causing electrolysis in all life lines and stanchions.   Sailing Vessel  Daemon and sv Deese seemed to be the luckiest and had no reported issues.

W/ sent me up the mast to reattach the block for the stay sail topping lift. Good or bad sometimes I’m not sure which, when we refurbished the boat for the most part I reinstalled  things back to the way the designer / manufacture had set it up.  For this block it was installed with two pop rivets. I think when I deployed the pole for the Yankee Jib a line was wrapped around the topping lift for the staysail and I literally pulled the block off the mast before I realized any restrictions in deploying the pole. This time when I reattached the block I drilled and tapped one of the two holes for a machine screw and the other I pop riveted. The screw should keep the block in place and the pop rivet is mainly there to keep the block aligned correctly.

Between major projects of repair I did laundry most mornings while waiting for the SSB Isabella net at 8:30 am local time. During the net I was able to do several items wash and rinse, then W/ would hang them to dry and retrieve them later all fresh and ready for another day of abuse living aboard.  I would dive on the bottom of the boat and clean off the algae water line and any other barnacles I could find, clean the prop blades so we could always move. Neptune never sleeps and continues to attack the boat bottom with anything that grows. Bottom paint helps but there is no staunching his efforts.

Hiva Oa Yacht Club

Hiva Oa Yacht Club

We would hike into town. There we met the Yacht Club guru, William who kept a log of most boats stopping in the bay. William is a true Marquesean in that his generosity and demeanor are contagious, He offered us Pamplemousse and Bananas and cool drinks while he explained a wee bit o’ life in Hanaiapa.  He harvests Coconuts, cuts through the husk, breaks the shells and collects the meat. Then they are put on a rack for drying which takes about 3 days. After which time they are stored for shipping. Every 3 weeks the Island Freighter mv Aranui arrives with tourists, supplies, and money to purchase fruits. vegetables, and copra. He earns 145 Francs / kg of copra and say’s it’s good money.  I don’t know how much copra one can dry and make in a week but he was quite satisfied with the pay. On the other hand, most Americans seem never to be satisfied with what they

Copra Drying Bin

Copra Drying Bin

earn. We looked through his log book at other boats that had visited and there was only one we knew of; Bumfuzzle who I had read most of their blog while they circumnavigated the globe. I had a small chuckle thinking we were in some small way following their footsteps.

We spoke to Nadine who had settled there 30 years ago in a neighboring bay, raised 3 boys and was quite content with now watching her grandson play in the water on a school outing. She spoke of going to town once / month to purchase staples for her family. That was years ago. Now she visits the big city of Atuona twice per week. Progress. 🙂

Another day Guya and I snorkeled along the Western shore. I saw a variety of marine tropicals and a good size Manta Ray swim by but no Lobsters. They say here you really need to go night diving but that sounds like too much work to me.  At night I prefer sleep.  I didn’t see any food fish at all that were enticing that day so I returned to the boat sans food and hungry.

W/ had been cooking most of the day and the crew of sv North Star was soon to arrive for Goulash, one of my favorites. The good news is with others aboard we all get to share in the telling of more tall tales; the bad news is that usually I don’t have a couple of days of left overs. Like in most things sailing; it is all a compromise.

And finally sv Cetacea arrived. They had left 5 days behind us and with them we would taxi again to the big city and see about an island tour. Once Cetacea’s paper work was complete Gail was not to be denied and she had decided we would all dine at one of the fine restaurants in Atuona; the Pearl Lodge.  As its name implies it is quite opulent and we actually had transportation from Atuona to the lodge and back. Curiously I asked; since we were staying in Hanaiapa if they would pick us up there and interestingly enough he said he would.  But time wasn’t on our side and we chose to move to another island before we could avail ourselves of the lodge’s generosity.

Wendy and Gail

Wendy and Gail

A tour of the island beats any ride at Disney. The roads wind up and down the mountain side with no guard rails and often sheer sides. The girls sat in

Tour of Hiva Oa

Tour of Hiva Oa

John’s cab; our local tour guide, while the guys rode in the back where the beasts of burden are usually kept. We often stopped at overlooks and visited two Tiki’s. One was the largest in the Marquesas and another that was the favorite of fishermen. All over 2,000 years old.  After hours being in the back we enjoyed a traditional lunch of, Poisson Cru,  Coconut , Goat, Pig, Marquesian Cevechi. Dessert consisted of some stuff I don’t even know what to call it. We washed the food down with Hinano Beer.  Quite good, and all satiated we boarded our transport for the trip back home.  There I had an accident.

The Largest Tiki in the Marqueses

The Largest Tiki in the Marquesas

I was riding in the back of the pickup and as we were descending one mountain road; more like a path,  the bench upon which I sat broke. I slid off and ended up catawampus on the bed of the truck. After counting my good fortune of having broken nothing, and received not even a bruise, a few days later I realized that my favorite hat that had been resting on my knee was gone. It never returned to the boat with me and I didn’t recognize the loss at the time of the mishap. For two days I was looking for it and could not find it. Damn.  I’m always surprised how small things on a boat can end up as big things. Getting another hat like that one here in FP  is next to impossible and even knowing how to get it here the cost would even make Donald Trump flinch. Guess I will live with one less hat.

With the day over we crashed and awoke to our stay sail project. We pulled the sail down and managed to feed it through the cockpit and into the boat. The seam that ripped out had to be in the worst place for stitching. Our Sailrite sewing machine does not have a long arm and we wrestled with getting the sail in the right position to restitch it. But restitch it we did and with two rows of new stitching we put her back in service.

Wendy negotiating the Trail

Wendy negotiating the Trail

The final couple of days were hiking the mountain trails and diving on the point to the harbor. The hike involved the gift of some 10 kg of bananas and another 10 Pamplemousse; offered to us by a resident for the small fee of….. nothing. He gave the fruit to us for the pleasure of giving and we will soon be leaving this wonderful sharing community for harbors North.  Steve and I were elected to carry the supplies

The Ghost Hotel

The Ghost Hotel

back to the boat and then on with our hike. On the hike we discover a ghost hotel overlooking the bay and  have a good view of a 100′ + waterfall. There we snap some pics and work our way back to the boat. Kim observed a quiet corner of the harbor and wanted to snorkel it so the following day snorkeling was on our agenda.

We headed to the quiet corner of the bay and discovered the visibility was rather poor or even worse. I spent all of 5 minutes in the water but Gail, Steve and Kim took a wee bit longer to decide that snorkeling here wasn’t worth it. So we motored out the bay to check out the large rock at the entrance, then over to the other point beyond where Gaya and I had snorkeled before. There the water was much clearer but again I didn’t see anything worth pulling the trigger on for dinner. However we did have a nice group of Manta Rays gliding by snarfing up their dinner of Plankton.

After all this adventure I needed sustenance and looked to feed myself Oreos, or what I like to call…. Protein Bars.  I realized we were running low. It was with this catalyst  (the Oreo locker is running out) that W/ and I decided to head N. We loaded the dinghy aboard that evening and planned on an early am departure… say 4 ish. Ouch. At 4 M  with a near on full moon we motored the mile out of the harbor and headed NW to Ua Pou, a destination about 70 nm.  New day, new adventure and a new place. What can I say….

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long

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