Island of Tahuata - 09 54.45S 139 06.29W

Mike and Liz Downing
Mon 31 May 2010 06:50
Still no fast internet service so still no pictures.

Spent more time in the village of Atuona yesterday and had a good look round. The village is a good 3/4 hour walk, quite a bit uphill, so everyone tries to hitch a lift, but without much success. We had considered 'borrowing' one of our friends young children to get a sympathy lift, but after they found they had to walk all the way there and back with both children (one 2 years old and the other 4), we decided the people here didn't have much sympathy! However, we were lucky and did get a lift in, so some islanders do have a heart. Actually they are all very friendly, and genuinely so.

Paul Gauguin is buried in the cemetery here which overlooks the village. There are great views from it which overlook the bay and the village (and they will be put on the blog when we get internet access). There is also a museum in the village with replicas of all his paintings which we visited.

Quite a lot of swell has started to come into the anchorage (it faces south and even the breakwater doesn't stop it) and it's not been so good. Very little wind gets into the anchorage and so with bow and stern anchors it's not possible to get what breeze there is into the boat, so it's been hot. So it was time to move on and this afternoon we lifted anchor (just - the chain caught on something on the bottom and even though it was only 12 feet deep, the water is muddy and it was impossible to see what it was, but we did manage to free it) and made the passage of just 11 miles to the west coast of the island of Tahuata to the south. This has several good anchorages; one Eric Hiscock rated one of the 3 most beautiful anchorages in Polynesia. It's Hanamoennoa and we're there, anchored in a good depth of 33ft in sand and the water is so clear we can seen the chain on the bottom from the deck. There's also lots of room and little swell, so no need for a stern anchor, so much much better. There's very little habitation on the island and none round the anchorage, so we can see the stars spread across the night sky as if we were out at sea. With a warm breeze blowing it's quite magical.

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