Nuku-Hiva - 08 52.826S 140 02.865W

Mike and Liz Downing
Sun 6 Jun 2010 05:44
Just as well that we anchored clear of the supply ship dock in Ua-Pou yesterday as at first light today we heard the sound of big propellers close by and looked out to see the supply ship in the harbour and maneuvering to tie up to the dock. It's quite a big ship, but luckily it was able to turn round in front of us without getting too close. Once the ship was securely tied up we left the harbour and headed north to the island of Nuku-Hiva, a distance of around 25 miles. We had planned to try to go up the east coast of Nuku-Hiva to visit a bay on the north-east corner, but the wind was north of east and went further north as we approached the island, so even though we were close hauled all the way, we couldn't make the course. The seas were also quite lumpy and we had quite a lot of water come over the bows and down the side decks. (Going downwind is so much better!). So the destination became Baie du Controleur on the south east coast, which is where we are now. It's a bit like a Scottish loch about 2.5 miles long and the anchorage is at its head, appearing to be well sheltered from winds and swell (so far!).The hills/mountains are high on all 3 sides and there are coconut palms all around - a big forest of them on the east bank. All this grandeur and scenic beauty is being shared with just 3 other boats, all well spaced out, so it's very quiet and peaceful. Also like Scotland, midges (nonos - the tropical version) are supposed to be a problem at dusk. The loch is wide and we're anchored right in the middle so fingers crossed that the nonos won't get this far out. Nuku-Hiva is the main island of the Marquesas and most populated (but only a few thousand). The main anchorage is a few miles west along the south coast at Taiohae which is the main administration centre for Marquesas as well as being the biggest village/town. We hope we can get reasonable supplies there at reasonable prices for the next leg of the trip through the Tuamotu islands and on to Tahiti. Good job we don't drink a lot of beer - a six-pack of Heineken (small bottles) was £14 in Ua-Poa. We spent £60 in the shop there and reckon it wouldn't have cost much more than £15 in the UK, or Panama. We didn't believe all the stories we heard about the prices here, but they were true and we should have stocked up even more than we did. The franc is still alive and kicking here - but it's the French Polynesia Franc at approximately 130 to the pound. It takes a bit of getting used to when the numbers are so big. We drew out 20,000 francs when we arrived which seemed a fortune, but it's only about £150, and it didn't last long here!

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