Well we've just spent a delightful week in the
Marquesas, and I apologise to those sending plaintive texts asking whether we
have arrived yet. Tomorrow were off again on a 3-day trip to the
Tuamotus, also known as the 'Dangerous Isles'. This, of course, is the location
of Mururoa Atoll, which is still off limits. We arrived at Atuona, the port of
Hiva Oa, last Wednesday, a trip of 17 days which was pretty good going.
Generally the winds were favourable although a lot further East than is normal
for the South East Trades Clearly we're going into an El Nino, which is
disastrous for the Pacific, and the Galapagos in particular.
I'm sorry we didn't do a blog when we arrived, but
our anchorage at Atuona was pretty horrifying, requiring an additional anchor at
the stern, which despite it's 70 lb weight dragged across the bay. At about 11pm
we whacked into the Southern Princess, which set off our Jonbuoy safety device
with a great whoosh. It was an extraordinary sight as you almost never see one
inflated and it took hours the next day to deflate it. So instead of
enjoying a decent night's sleep for the first time in 17 days, John and I spent
the night sitting up on deck making sure we didn't crash into the other nearby
boats. Repacking the Jonbuoy joins a growing list of jobs to be done
in Papeete, which the last place before Australia where we'll find decent marine
services. The water maker joins the list of casualties. So we're going to have
to be very careful with water for the next 10 days until Storyteller
arrives in Papeete.
We were incredibly lucky that the wife of a crew
member on another boat brought us out a new freezer pump, so we have a
wonderfully efficient freezer again.
One of the highlights of Hiva Oa was the Gaugin
museum. Jacques Brel the Belgian singer/ composer is also buried on Hiva Oa is
also buried on Hiva Oa, and there's a great memorial to him, as
The Marquesas are all that you read about--lush
vegetation, tropical fruit growing wild everywhere--mangoes, pamplemousse,
bananas and limes. We buy absolutely fresh vegetables from the local people who
could not be friendlier. The Marquesans are particularly fine looking people and
many of the men have half face tattoos that look stunning. There are also many
'mahu' (transvetites) who are particularly attractive and loads of fun. And I
should mention the women, most of whom look as though they've stepped right out
of a Gaugin painting.There are horses and dogs everywhere, but no litter. Where
we are in Taiohai, there are two small supermarkets, but they stock duck
breasts, foie gras and Roquefort cheese. Everything's very expensive, so
we feel sorry for the cruisers on very tight budgets.