We have sailed the 50 nm up to Hiva Oa to check in
with the Marquesan authorities we spent a few nights in Atuona on Hiva Oa, the
main provincial centre and a French military outpost in the Southern Marquesas.
Glenn and Chris enjoying some great tradewind sailing on
the way up to Hiva Oa
Hiva Oa is a much larger island with a sizeable town and a
number of small villages, it feels like a metropolis after the small sleepy
delights of Fatu Hiva. But once again we have been met with nothing but
friendly helpful people. After the difficulties experienced in Ecuadorian
Galapagos the ease of check in with the local Gendarmerie who handled both
customs and immigration came as something of a pleasant shock. The young female
gendarme handled all the formalities, quickly and hassle free, gave us our
permits and both the guys their exit documents and wished us a pleasant stay in
their islands, explaining what we needed to do as we sailed across French
Polynesia and when to apply for our visa extensions. How officialdom should be,
pleasant, free of fear or threat and there to serve the people.
Glenn has now left us to return home to Canada and flew out
of the small but modern airport on Hiva Oa. Chris flies out next week and Trish
flies in to resume her adventures a day or so later.
I really miss her and it will be great to be together again
but she would have hated the pacific crossing with its continuous rolling and
lack of sleep.
Remember she is really a Sloth and needs at least 18 hours
sleep a day!!!!
Chris and I have sailed the few miles over to Tahuata and
another beautiful bay, this time with a long sweep of golden sands.
Curious alone at anchor in Hana Moe Noa
Although we are on the leeward side of the island out of the
prevailing winds the pacific swell is constant and to get ashore we had to take
the dinghy and anchor off the beach just outside of the breaking waves,
dropping over the side of the dinghy to swim ashore.
This was the first beach that I have ever been on that
did not have some form of manmade rubbish in the form of plastic bottles, old
fishing line, nets, flip flops, etc. Not a single piece of flotsam or jetsam,
not a single discarded coke can or plastic bag. Bliss.
Chris who is not a great swimmer and after his encounters with
sharks and other creatures of the deep has developed even further his healthy
respect for things that he cannot see beneath the waves.
On our return along the beach I pointed out a small, baby,
(18 inches long) Black Tipped Reef Shark swimming around our feet,
Chris’s first comment was....where’s its mother???????? and
proceeded to swim to the dinghy like Mark Spitz on steroids and Red Bull and
shot out of the water and into the dinghy like a Trident missile from a nuclear
submarine........No chance of getting him to clean the hull tomorrow!