World ARC Day 86-92 April 4th to April 10th The Marquesas, French Polynesia

Steve and Lynda Cooke
Mon 18 Apr 2016 04:37

World ARC Day 86-92 April 4th to April 10th The Marquesas, French Polynesia

08:56S 140:06W

Monday we rose early to make good use of the last few hours of the hire car to re-provision. The local stores being a good walk from the dingy dock and way to far to carry the beer, wine and food necessary. With the car refuelled and satisfactorily returned and the provisions stowed on Nina we were right on time for Steve's appointment with the renowned local tattoo artist, Moana (means Ocean in Marquesian). The first part of the session was spent agreeing the design with Moana and making the unique changes that Steve wanted. Within an amazingly short term thereafter the tattoo was complete and christened Tikki. The stone carvings we had seen on our car trips had clearly left their mark and will now be a permanent reminder for all of us of this remarkable journey across the Pacific.

We took the opportunity to refuel after lunch on a concrete dock which was fine for large ships but sadly under equipped for yachts. With an anchor out the front and a couple of lines on the stern which we eventually attached to a single point on the wharf all seemed set. We managed to top off the tanks and fill our jerry cans but as we completed the anchor started to drag and we swung perilously close to another part of the dock. Quick action by everyone saved the day and we escaped without damage. We later learned that several other ARC boats were not so lucky. Having seen our scenario the next boat stood off rather further and used a dingy to bring mooring lines and fuel hose on board.

The trip round to Daniels Bay was uneventful and we anchored inside a mini fjord with steep mountain sides sloping straight into the water on almost all sides.

Tuesday morning dawned bright and clear. We were treated to the sight of a complete rainbow starting at sea level rising up the sides of the cliffs then descending back into the sea painting the rocks on the way. Our plan was to take a walk up to the 350 metre waterfall at the head of the steep sided valley on the western side of Daniel's Bay. We had been told that it was a level walk alongside the river but the best plan was to go a little way of the river with the dingy . So off we set with the dingy and realised that the tide was opposing the river flow creating some significant chop and the channel was very narrow between sand bars and rocks. Quickly swamped we all jumped out and walked the dingy through the worst before jumping on board and rowing around the corner.

As we ventured up the broken path we felt like intrepid explorers but within 100 metres we came across a small homestead who offered us lunch on the way back from the falls which we readily accepted. Continuing inland we were astounded by the range and variety of plants and the neatness with which it is maintained. Vehicles might pass this way occasionally but not very often judging by the tracks. Parts were very muddy but most was OK until we reached a ford in the river which was about thigh deep with fast running water. We decided that we did not want to risk losing our footing or worse so we turned back for lunch.

We arrived early for lunch but the gave us some drinks and put the pork on the barbecue. Thirty minutes later we were served pork, breadfruit chips and papaya salad followed by grapefruit. The barbecue was manned by a large gentlemen replete with tattoos who spoke a combination of English, French and Marquesian. Something of a character who made Steve one of his best friends discussing rugby and soccer.

The day was completed with an evening barbecue abroad Paw Paw which was enjoyed by all. The extra space on a catamaran really counts when at anchor on such occasions. Elaine and Roy were wonderful hosts and we returned to Nina for a good nights sleep.

On Wednesday we returned to Taiohe to try and replace a failed gas tap. After some searching around the local hardware store we put together a solution which was duly installed in the afternoon. We finished the day with drinks aboard Paw Paw along with Dan and Paula from Do Over. On the way over the Paw Paw we were all very impressed with a large shark fin which cruised by within inches of the dingy as we climbed on. Maybe the swimming earlier in the day wasn't such a great idea.

Thursday was not a great day for Peter who was suffering from a gippy tummy so Karen and Peter stayed on-board whilst Lyn and Steve went to procure supplies. Peter was still not 100% on Friday so time to catch up on emails on shore. We had been watching a storm leave Tahiti running eastwards towards the Toamotu Archipelago, our next destination. We really wanted confirmation that it had turned south before leaving the Marquesas and by Friday it was clear that we had a window in the weather. So on Saturday morning we bid the Marquesas farewell having spent a wonderful couple of weeks exploring islands we had barely heard of but which now occupy our memories with some wonderful times.

As we sailed away a grey curtain decided to close the lush emerald island behind us only peeping out for a final encore as we slipped away. Definitely an Olivier winning performance. Marquesas a standing ovation from the Nina crew. Mercy Beau-coup.