Sunday, May 29, 2016

Tahuata, Marquesas French Polynesia

Tahuata, Marquesas French Polynesia
Friday May 20 - Friday May 27 2016

Friday we are underway by 10:30 sailing out of the bay in Hiva Oa with main & genoa sails.  When we clear the point and turn west we have the wind directly behind us again, so we roll up the main and continue with just the genoa.  At least this time we have 15 knots of wind so the sail stays full and our speed is 6 – 6.5 knots, making for a lovely 2 hour sail to the neighboring island of Tahuata.  We are anchored in the BEAUTIFUL Hanamoenoa Bay on Tahuata by 12:30 and in the water a few minutes later.  After lunch more cleaning off the bottom of the boat, Steve using a weight belt to get down to the keel.  The fish were loving this and waiting for the scrapings. 

Saturday's boat project was to fix the knot meter.  It failed to work on our passage over so Steve wanted to have that resolved.  First testing and trying a few easy fixes, but no such luck, as it was determined a new wire would have to be run.  As with most boat projects / repairs getting access to the problem is ¾ the battle.  This one meant taking down half the headliner / ceiling in the main salon.   NOT an easy task as it involves a lot of hidden screws, tight spacing, light fixtures and hatch moldings.
Also had to empty and move a cabinet.  This turned out to be a two day project and the boat was finally put back together late Sunday afternoon with the knot meter working, just doing our part of living up to the saying of cruising is doing boat maintenance in exotic places.

Monday was a full day of just swimming, snorkeling and beach walking.  We still had not put the motor on the dinghy and it was not needed as we could just swim to the side of the bay and to the beach.  The Marquesas do not have a lot of coral reefs, the water around the islands is very steep up to the shore.  A lot of rocks for the fish to hang out in and we saw a good selection.  This bay is also known for having manta rays but none were there during our visit.

Tuesday morning Steve changed the oil in the generator and noticed the belt was loose.  It must have just happened as the generator has been working fine (knock wood).  The project we had done back in Guatemala several years ago has been working great, the piece put on to bypass the alternator and hold the belt had a bolt sheared off.  All the constant rocking motion of the boat wears things down.  Steve was able to replace it with just a small amount of difficulty.  Finished by 12:30 and pulled up anchor to check out another bay down the coast. 
The main village on Tahuata is Vaitahu in Baie Vaitahu but it is not the best bay to anchor in so we went a little further to Baie Hanatefau.   Anchored in sand but close to the rocky shore at the base of the mountain.  This bay actually has some coral and the snorkeling was pretty good.  On the way down Steve noticed the wind meter not working so that afternoon he fixed that connection that probably broke while the knot meter was being fixed.

Wednesday we put the motor on the dinghy and first went to visit the little village of Hapatoni located at the far end of the bay from where we were anchored.  Another friendly and beautiful Marquesan village with a very nice calm dock to tie the dinghy off at.  We then took the dinghy down to Baie Vaitahu to see the main town.  This dock was NOT easy to get out and tie the dinghy off at.  They have a lot of cement blocks near the dock, so maybe they will be rebuilding the dock.  Sure hope so as we witnessed the following day the supply ship can’t even get to the dock.  The ship lowers small barges to ferry all the goods in which could get troublesome in bad conditions.  A nice walk around the town, stopping at the store just as she is closing up.  Will take us a little while to get use to stores closing from noon until 2 or 2:30.  Back to the boat for lunch and a cool off swim and snorkel. 

Thursday we went back to the beautiful Baie Hanamoenoa.  The supply ship Aranui was in port at Vaitahu so we drove by to see how they unloaded.  This is a freighter ship as well as a passenger ship that comes to the Marguesas every 3 weeks from Tahiti.  Later we watched it go by on its way to Atuona in Hiva Oa glad we were not there for the boat re-anchoring as all the boats had to move for the Aranui to be able to get to the dock.  Steve's boat project for this day was to run an unused cable to our bigger set of 4 batteries.  Thinking that the smaller bank was getting charged too quickly and then the bigger bank not getting a full charge when we run the generator.  This cable will direct more of the charge to the bigger bank of batteries resulting in a better / longer charge overall.  

Friday we were underway by 6:15, to head back over to Hiva Oa, hoping to get a good spot in the inner harbor before too many boats moved back in.  We motored the whole way since the wind was on our nose, and got a good spot inside the breakwater.  We were surprised at how many boats were still outside the breakwater, but there had been big south swells over the last few days which can make the inner harbor even worse than outside as the waves break on the shore and the sides bouncing back rocking & rolling the boats.  Spent the rest of the morning trying to get internet.  We could connect one at a time via manaspot but we were now having trouble with our router and bullet antenna.  Working on getting that fixed.  Friday afternoon we went into town and got to the store just before 2 to learn this one re-opened at 2:30.  Instead of just sitting there waiting for 30 minutes we took a walk towards the old cemetery, not knowing exactly where or how far it was.  We had 2 signs at first to have us go in the right direction, then at the 1st fork with no sign we started to go the wrong way but a local drove by and figured where we were heading and directed us up the other road.  The next intersection had 3 choices and no sign and no one to ask so we walked back to the store after a nice hour walk.  Got a few supplies and a few veggies but we had missed the veggie truck, catching a ride back to the harbor and back to the boat. 

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