We stayed for 4 weeks in Nuku Hiva, despite
the fact that we have to rush across the South Pacific in the next 7 months to
get to New Zealand before the Cyclone Season starts. It was a very special
island and we'll remember it well.
We checked out with the Gendarmes and on
Easter Monday we enjoyed a brisk sail south to Ua Pou, just 26 miles
away. We knew that the harbour where one checks in to Ua Pou was rather exposed
to the E swells and were not sure how we would be able to anchor safely. Our
fears were confirmed when we arrived and saw that most of the bay was taken up
with dredging barges and their tug and the other sailing boats there were
Med-moored to the inside of a rough breakwater with long stern lines to
lampposts, bushes, rocks - anything.
This is the sort of situation would have
troubled us a few years ago, but fortunately we had enough crew for Michael to
steer, George to drop the anchor as we reversed back to the breakwater boulders
and Simon to jump off and swim ashore with a stern line in his teeth [slight
poetic exaggeration here - Ed.] shin up the breakwater and attach it to a
lamppost so Michael could winch it in sharpish and keep us off the other craft
on each side. All managed swiftly, to the obvious disappointment of those
waiting for the crash on the other boats: fortunately we had 3 on board to make
the manoeuvre easy.
We'd overtaken Tumshi [OK, so their mainsail
had an issue...] and they were able to lie against us while Simon fixed
their stern lines to bushes and a rock. We were rewarded by an excellent
spaghetti bolognese prepared by Angelica that evening and bananas flambé from
All in, a most appalling harbour, compounded
by the wind blowing dust and grit off the top of the breakwater all over the
boats. Sadly the Gendarmes weren't home on Tuesday morning and an enquiry as to
whether Michael would like to come back later met with a response
along the lines of "We're going - now - do you want the details or
But to be fair, we should point out that the
locals are very friendly here. As we stepped ashore, we were accosted by one of
them in his 4x4, who started conversation and insisted on providing slices of
watermelon for us.
Ua Pou is spectacular with rock spires like
the dolomites [like Mordor - G], though as you can see it was a touch overcast -
in fact the top spire is almost always cloud-topped.
As soon as Michael returned from the
Gendarmerie, we left the "dock" asap and sailed around the W side of the island
with Tumshi. Since the winds had been blowing fairly well, there was a large
swell and only a singe adequate anchorage (on the whole island) in a small
deserted bay. Fortunately it was empty and Blue Sky anchored bow & stern
with Tumshi following nearby.
Whilst lunching, we noticed a tree with lots
of dots on it - bino's revealed a laden mango - a shore expedition followed as
Simon drove the tender and George & Michael leapt off the bow on to
rocks at the top of the wave, it being far too rough for a beach landing.
The mango tree was neighbour to many lime trees and all were clearly abandoned
and surrounded by rotting fruit. We soon had 2 large bags full of windfall
mangoes and lots of fresh limes, vital ingredients for Blue Sky mango chutney,
Quite a peaceful place - you could see and
hear the mangoes falling off the tree as the goats trouped off the hill down to
the stream to drink.
We bid farewell and bon voyage to Friedl and
Angelica on Tumshi who are off to the Tuamotus and then Tahiti to receive their
Simon decided on another of his 'little
adventures' and decided to go exploring the ridges - his camp is marked above
and you can see the view from there at the end of this blog.
We stayed in this bay for 4 nights and
decided it was time to move on. Sadly the beach in the next bay - with a village
and friendly locals - was impossible to land on safely with the swell and
breakers, so we continued on to the next island, Tahuata.
By now the open sea swell had flattened and
we had an adequate journey with a variety of winds and a touch of motoring to
get upwind to Tahuata, where we are now (despite the position fix at Ua
Pou). We arrived at 02:30 and despite little sleep, here I am preparing your
blog before breakfast...
But Tahuata is another story (we now have
the bay to ourselves with a perfect white sand beach etc...)
Here's the final view from Ua Pou - Camp
Simon (camera in a tree) Blue Sky the dot at foot of bay . Just as well Simon
climbed up to catch the shot!
George, Michael and Simon