Tuesday, 29 March. An early start for going north and a cracking good sail with the the apparent wind just forward of the beam. Uka Huka is approx 25 miles east of Nuka Hiva and very different to the other Islands. It is still high in parts and rugged, but almost stripped of trees because of the massive horse and goat populations, which have eaten most of the vegetation, leaving only what we presumed to be some sort of grass. Sadly, we did not chose the best anchorage for the prevailing conditions. The bay was attractive enough and we were looking forward to exploring the village and seeing if we could get to a tropical garden famous for plants, trees and birds, but there was so much swell in the bay, landing safely in the dingy was not possible. To cap it all, Carango's outboard stopped working as we were motoring back to the boat. This involved an easy row downwind, but a very definite effort to make sure we were not swept past the boat and out to sea. We had an uncomfortable and disturbed night with the anchor alarm going off regularly as the boat circled around on the end of 60 meters of chain in the erratic and gusting winds. The following morning conditions were worse and we eventually left Uka Huka without managing to get ashore at all. Disappointing, as we only saw two other yachts who were anchored in a more protected but very narrow inlet. The island is relatively unspoilt and off the beaten track so it would have been nice to land.
We set sail for the 25 miles to Nuka Hiva with the Genoa poled out on one side and the staysail on the other in fairly rough seas and inconsistent winds. We headed for Controller Bay, which has three possible anchorages with supposedly good shelter. We heard Paradise Found and Wishanger discussing the largest, central anchorage, which they were heading for and motored into Hakahea Baie and on to the central anchorage in Controller Bay with Paradise Found just ahead of us and Zoom behind us. What a fantastic anchorage. A lovely deep bay, like a cross between a Norwegian Fjord and a loch in Scotland, with calm waters, good holding and plenty of swinging room. This was convenient as about 10 yachts eventually arrived. There was a population of beautiful Manta Ray's that were feeding amongst the boats. So we swam with them, quite wonderful and close to paradise and then we rounded off the evening with a great party on Wishanger for the 5 WARC boats in the bay.
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