Friday 8th May
We actually arrived on Tuesday 5th at 12:00 ( = 24 days ) but have been so busy/tired we haven’t got round to updating the blog. We’ve done some, but by no means all, of the stuff we need, laundry, cash ( Marquesas is v/expensive), gas, wifi, good meals – only the Fischer Panda to go (NOT). I’m not sure whether this is a good thing or not but we’ve got 65 galls (650 miles or 3 days) in the tank on arrival. I can say it now without fear of provoking the evil gods, but the watermaker has been a brick, as has the autopilot throughout.
Warm here but rains a lot.
As always we have arrived with a Public Holiday to slow things up (last time it was Mother’s Day, this time it’s Armistice Day (?WWII)), so Guy has to jump ship in order to make his connections because we can’t leave until Monday at the earliest. He took us out to the classiest meal we’ve yet had.
The rain here is proper tropical downpour stuff and seems to wait until we are in the dinghy and can’t escape. Apparently it will stop in a couple of days after the full moon.! The new dinghy is great. Getting it set up so it is really secure on the back of the boat for a passage is a bit of a hassle but well worth it to have a decent means of transport while we are at anchor.
Nuku Hiva is the administrative centre of the Marquesas but is very small. 2 small supermarkets ,one restaurant which luckily has really good French food ,and one posh hotel. Guy took us out to dinner there last night. It was lovely to feel really pampered for a change and the food was excellent. The directrice herself (with a flower behind her ear) collected us from the dinghy dock and drove us back.
On the small quay there are 2 roulottes. These look like the stalls selling tea and bacon butties in a layby but one does crepes and the other does a ‘plat du jour’or bbq or poisson cru which none of us have tried yet.
We have just had the most fantastic evenement. Keith has succeeded where mechanics and experts have failed, and mended the generator. We can now run the freezer and make water without worrying.
He has always thought it was a fuel problem and finally he & I spent a day running curtain wire through all the fuel pipes and blowing thro the valves (tasty). I found a one way valve next to the fuel tank which seemed blocked and Keith cleared it by blowing thro it backwards.
Then the fuel pump packed up .A nice guy here took it to pieces and cleaned it and we fitted it this morning. Hey Presto the generator works like a dream. A very simple solution to a problem that several dutch in Curacao and even more Panamanians spent about 50 hours not solving!
My time on board is all but spent; I have just booked my transport out of the heaving metropolis that is Taiohae Bay. On Sunday morning, bright and early, Jean Claude (who sounds on the phone as if he has 50 Gauloises for breakfast) is taking me to the airport. I was looking forward to taking the helicopter across the island but it apparently doesn’t fly anymore… Whether this is due to a lack of punters or some catastrophic air disaster my GCSE French could not tell and it seemed a trifle insensitive to ask.
When I leave here, I have four nights lined up in a bungalow (stairs are difficult at my time of life) on Rangiroa – the atoll we would have sailed to had the various Fischer Panda experts known the difference between some gunk in a pipe and a complex electronic malfunction. After that I fly on to Papeete (or rather back to Papeete as even the Rangiroa flight takes me via Papeete) for another two nights in the Vegas of the South Pacific. It can’t be more bustling and hectic than Nuku Hiva surely? I’m expecting Croydon with palm trees.
The joys of the internet are such that it has rendered the booking of hotels remarkably easy; my French isn’t quite what it used to be, but at least in an email I have plenty of time to consider about what I am doing slowly and carefully. In person, in the Air Tahiti offices, they could quite easily have sold me a one-way ticket to a leper colony and I would still have handed over my credit card, my grateful mercis ringing in their ears. This leads me to declare the wireless card in my laptop my final Tool Of The Day, meaning that the progression of tools from grabber (a substitute for man’s hands) to wifi neatly mirrors the evolution of tools and technology over the last 30,000 years.
Here endeth the lesson.
PS What is “leper colony” in French? My copy of tricolore was missing the chapter on fascinating skin diseases…