Mantas, Filefish and Nuku Hiva

Tue 6 May 2014 02:32
08:54.99S 140:05.97W

Leaving the anchorage at Hiva Oa

We spotted that Manta... Phil saw him across the bay so we jumped into the dinghy and went over. He came right up to us, and turned upside down, showing his white belly, to have a look at us. I jumped in and swam with him a while, but his lovely, lazy wing beats propelled him much faster than I could swim so he soon left me behind. He was much bigger than I am and so very beautiful. It was one of the most special moments of our travels.

Filefish attack. 

We went back to the same area later that day to snorkel, hopeful of seeing our Manta again, but we were chased off by a fish! He was a Scribbled Filefish. At first I thought he was just interested in us, like the fish in Bonaire, but he was after us! He went for Phil and when Phil put the Go-Pro between him and the fish, the filefish bit the Go-Pro. You can see it here:

He wouldn't leave us be. I thought  that if we swam away he'd give up, probably he was protecting a nest nearby, but when I swam away he followed me and bit my leg! No blood, but a good nip. I fended him off with my flippers and Phil kept him at bay with his Go-Pro but he wouldn't take no for an answer. We eventually had to give up on our snorkel session, he followed us a good hundred yards away!

Leaving Tahuata. The anchorage is on the left hand side - see the boats? 

We moved on, heading North towards Ua Pou, leaving in the evening to make a night passage. It's about 10 hours sail away so we'd rather leave in the evening and get there at day break than get up early and risk arriving after night if the wind drops and we slow down. As it happens, we arrived on time, around day break, but the wind had gone to the North so the anchorage was no longer protected and we decided to continue to Nuku Hiva, where we were to pick up our charger. It was a good decision, not least of the reasons being that as we came in we spotted a blue hulled, twin wind turbined, dutch flagged yacht - Vela!  - Franz and Norma's boat, who we met in the Spanish Rias and have been meeting up with ever since.  We'd not caught up with them since Dominica, a long time ago now. Norma had returned to the Netherlands but Franz was as delighted to see us as we were him, especially as we came with a cheese delivery. When we were in Curacao we got an email from Franz asking us to get some Dutch cheese - he'd run out. He wanted 4Kg of a particular type so it's been sitting in our fridge tempting us ever since.  

Ua Pou, where we didn't go, at daybreak.

and a close up of the amazingly steep spires, poking up through the clouds.

So here we are in Taiohae, Nuku Hiva, and very lovely it is too. A big sheltered bay, with lots of boats. We're meeting old friends and making new, putting faces to names and hull shapes to boats that we'd only heard on the radio net before. There's shops (very very expensive) and fruit and even some veg. It's a pretty place and the people are very welcoming. It is SO nice for me to be able to speak a little French and understand when they ask me things in the shops or say the price of goods (but 80 Francs being $1 US is a complicated exchange rate when you have to then change that to £). I hadn't realised how isolating it makes one feel when one's grasp of the local language is as poor as my Spanish is. I mugged up on French when on passage and it's paid off. However, I've a long way to go: I can't yet say "My Mother is well but my Father has a cold"!

Looking over the side at the sensibly coloured water in Tahuata.