Safe arrival in The Marquesas

Sat 17 May 2014 20:26
09:54.45S 139:06.36W
We eventually arrived in Hane Moe Noa Bay on the island of Tahuata at 11.23pm on Monday, 12th May (GMT time 08.23am Tuesday, 19th May).  Total Distance 2,937 miles in 18 days 9 hours and 30 minutes at an average speed of 6.65 knots.  The last few miles seemed to really drag as we were tired and ready to stop.  We originally intended to go into the harbour on the next island Hiva Oa but there was a very heavy swell and the harbour was described as having limited protection and very little space and after a journey of that length the thought of trying to squeeze Gaviota in amongst the fishing boats was definitely not a good one.  Once anchored a few celebratory drinks were had as we enjoyed the peace and quiet of the calm anchorage (along with 12 other yachts all doing the same!). 
We woke next morning to a beautiful sunny day and took in our awesome surroundings, craggy volcanic landscape, waving palms and a lovely deserted white sandy beach.  A call went up from the catamaran next to us and we spotted the fins of a group of huge Manta Rays swimming just behind our boat, so snorkels on and the next hour was spent swimming and diving with these amazing gentle plankton eating creatures.  One of them was huge, a good 3 metres across and as it passed by close enough to touch, it felt a very special moment.  The sea was clean and clear and much to Syd's suprise, warm!  Sail repairs started in ernest but a strong gusting wind had picked up so trying to get the Turin Shroud back up was a definite no no, so Syd got the mainsail down to inspect the damage and set to with sail repair material to mend a rather large hole!!!!  Then onto the sliders/tracking issue - a trip up the mast showed the tracking was badly bent in two places and one slider vanished, another damaged and two lacking the appropriate number of balls (don't ask all very technical!).  Luckily, he had some spares and was able to do a passable 'Syd'll fix it type jobbie'.  Wednesday, we had very strong gusting winds and driving rain most of the day, the high mountains cause terrible down drafts and scary gusts and it bought back Turkish memories of our stay in the Bay of Islands off Fethiye where the same phenomenon occurs.  
Friday, complete with useable mainsail, we upped anchor at 4.00am!!!!! and had a very rolly trip the 68 miles to the next island of Ua Pou (unfortunate name!) 09:21.982S 140:06.790W.  Ua Pou is the most populated of The Marquesas (100 inhabitants instead of 20!  okay slight exaggeration!), it's landscape is even more dramatic than Tahuata and sailing past the impenetrable West end it looked like a set from Jurassic Park,  God knows what lurks in those isolated valleys!!!  We decided to avoid the crowded main anchorage of Hakahetau where the main village is, and dropped anchor the other side of the headland in a remote bay surrounded by towering rugged cliffs.  Tomorrow we sail over to the next island Nuka Hiva to try and get the UV protection strip sewn back onto the 'newish Genoa', also a slight issue we still are not officially here so a visit to the Gendarmerie and practise our French - the main check in is at Tahiti but it is necessary for all yachts to register with the local Gendarms here in the islands then notification of our being on the way is sent to Papeete in Tahiti.  Also, a more than minor issue we have now completely run out of vegetables so we are hoping to be able to buy some - that is provided we can find a bank and get some local currency out (not sure whether it is beads or seashells here!).  Oh the fun of being self sufficient!!!!.