Nuku Hiva Rendezvous

Thu 3 Apr 2014 21:50
2nd April 2014 

Another gathering of the fleet in the main bay of Nuku Hiva, Taiohae.  On arrival we had the surreal experience of receiving a tsunami warning. There had been an earthquake off the coast of Chile. So good timing, about 40 yachts in the bay anchored closely, a feast awaiting us on shore and a wave due around midnight. Some yachts left but in fact it all fizzled out, lots of internet buzzing over the evening then we waited on deck and it got a bit choppy around midnight. But added a certain thrill to the proceedings. Worse was the next morning being hit by an unexpected squall and a few boats dragging their anchors.
Last night the town or rather Nuku Hiva officially welcomed the fleet with demonstrations of handicrafts and skills like shredding coconuts and jewellery making from seeds, and we all had palm hats and  frangipane garlands that smelled divine.
We were royally fed on every fruit laid out on palms with hibiscus flowers. Then a dance show - warlike men leaping and roaring and beautiful graceful girls doing the Bird Dance. It was a bit contrived being in the pre fab hall with harsh strip lights instead of on a palm rimmed beach with roaring fires, so we had to do a little imagining.  Then a feast of raw fish in coconut milk and lime, my fave, and goat stew, no vegetables but rather gooey, sweetish sago stuff which we left.  The Marquesans clearly eat a lot of it as they are all massive, the girls are stunning in their teens then child bearing years expand them considerably. Later we were all raucously singing various Happy Birthdays for the sailors over the last leg. 


Two of the male dancers had frizzy waist length hair which would terrify anyone on a dark night. They were so muscley and strong, I can't see the British army doing quite such a work out. 
The younger gang partied til dawn and today are preparing to sail to The Tuomotos islands en route to Tahiti.
Andrew and I are leaving Hebe for a weeks private holiday….woo hoo, Harry, Imo, Al and Olly will very capably take the boat and we'll meet them on Rangiroa with Sophie. 
I am secretly looking forward to spending hours under a cold shower, crisp clean sheets and a very cold bedroom…… Andrew is looking forward to getting out of the sun and being creamed up copiously. 
We'll be sorry to say good bye to these unexpectedly beautiful, mountainous islands with their unique history. Many of the islands we'll visit from now on are coral atolls, flat and sandy. We'll need to sit Ali up on the first spreaders to look out for reefs.  He's in his element this morning as he's in charge of re stocking the coffers for the voyage. God knows what he'll return with.

Janie Lax
hebe {CHANGE TO AT} mailasail {DOT} com  
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