08 May Tahauka Harbor and Hanamoenoa Bay (Hiva Oa and Tahuata Islands)
It is hard to believe that we have been in the Marquesas for over two weeks! We have been enjoying our days here, still feel like we are re-grouping from crossing the Ocean, taking care of some business and also having some fun.
Along with the tropical beauty comes heat, humidity and intermittent rain showers! The sweating can start by 7:00 am (the sun is up around 6:00) and may stop early evening if you are just sitting around with either fans or a breeze. Once you start moving all bets are off. I tend to be especially affected by the heat and have been drinking lots of water (sometimes adding sea salt and lemon or lime for an electrolyte charge) and trying to take it easy in the hottest parts of the day.
It seems to rain mostly in the evenings and nighttimes. However, as the clouds build up so fast, we are always ready to close the hatches and ports. Whenever we leave the boat we close everything down. Most have been brief rainshowers, however we had a night time downpour that was very much appreciated as it gave Maia a much needed bath.
We have spent about half of our time on Tahuata Island, at an beautiful anchorage called Hanamoenoa baie. Beautiful clear water and white sand beach, great for a cooling swim, snorkeling, paddling, relaxing (with our toes in the sand) and projects!
Projects included reorganizing, cleaning the interior and exterior of the boat, hand washing laundry and a few other “boat projects”. We found that these projects worked best while we were at a calm anchorage. Inside “cleaning” consists of normal household cleaning, plus wiping down most of the surfaces inside the boat with vinegar, water and tea tree oil to keep the mildew at bay. Exterior boat cleaning means scraping the bottom to remove barnicles, weeds and other growth. Sacrificial zincs are checked and changed as needed.
As for reorganizing; during the passage it was too rough for Dick and I to sleep in the v-berth (the front cabin, our bedroom) so we had loaded half of the V-berth with storage. To get rid of the v-berth storage we unloaded the starboard aft cockpit storage bin and brought out our inflatable toys (kayak & paddle board – yea!). In went our Jordan drogue (safety device that we will deploy if weather and seas get to rough, to slow down the boat). We also moved some food and supplies from deep storage to accessible storage, which then allowed us to stash some of our other items into the deep storage. Don’t worry if you did not follow all that, basically I was trying to say that it feels good to have our “bedroom” back and the boat organized. 😉
We spent about another week on Hiva Oa, at Tahauka Harbor and the town of Atuona. Our time was spent checking into French Polynesia (we can stay 3 months) trying to use internet, shopping and exploring the area. It was about an hour walk (20 min bike ride) into town. There are a couple restaurants, a couple grocery stores, a hardware store, several smaller stores, Post Office, Gendarmerie, museum, nice park…. We were able to pick up veggies and baguettes and a few other supplies. One day we took an awesome hike up to a waterfall. We were out 5 hours and were all were pretty hot & tired when we got back!
Tahauka harbor was busy with all of us cruisers. It is fairly open to swell so it can be rocky and rolly. We try to limit our times in the big harbors, but there is always so much to do and surprise projects to tackle! It was awesome to reconnect with friends from La Cruz in Puerto Vallarta after the 3 plus week passage and excited to see friends from sv Jade Akka (Thomas and Isa) who we had met in San Diego last December.
We have had very little internet access. There is a restaurant/ bar in town that has internet, but it is super slow. (We took care of a little banking, but each time it took hours! So frustrating!) A big thanks to son, Trevor, who has been posting to the blog for us. 🙂
After spending half a day in town, breakfast, (sloooow) internet, shopping for a few supplies and a bike ride around town and up to the local cemetery where painter Paul Gauguin and Belgian singer Jacques Brel were buried. We had a awesome view from above, looking down on the harbor and bay.
When we arrived back at the boat captain Dick noticed that we had no power coming in from the solar panels. He checked the wire and fuse that connect the solar panel controller to the batteries and found that the fuse had melted (not popped !$#x)! We quickly covered the solar panels and Dick investigated. We also remembered that Thomas on sv Jade Akka was an electrical engineer. He stopped over and found that our wire was too small going from the solar panel controller to the batteries. Though the wire and fuse were installed according to the suppliers instructions. I guess the tropical sun is strong at Hiva Oa!
The next day Dick and Hannah went into town in hopes of finding a new fuse holder and larger wire. I stayed on Maia to monitor the solar panels. About 9:00 I felt the wire and fuse and it felt warm, 30 minutes later they felt warmer, 15 minutes later hot and the fuse had melted again! I panicked for a moment as captain Dick had not told me what to do if the problem came about again. Quickly, I came to my senses and covered the solar panels! Once they returned with thicker wire, Dick went to work and replaced the wire and made a fuse holder. We have had no problems since!
Something I did not expect was all the people that also sailed here! We had our group of about 50 Canadians and Americans from the Puerto Vallarta area sailing down, but there are lots more people! People who sailed down directly from the US West coast, others from the East coast, Canada and Europe who came down through the Panama canal! It has been really fun to reconnect with those we knew in Mexico as well as making new friends. However we like it best when there is just a few of us in an anchorage!