Tahuata 09:57S 139:07W
Alan Franklin/Lynne Gane
Mon 4 May 2015 19:52
Dear Family and Friends,
We are having difficulty with our comms and having to go offshore to get a signal. That together with the public holiday and the weekend have meant all available wifi access stopped as well.
Tahuata is about 15km long, sharp edged ridges of lava form the spine of the island. The 500 inhabitants cluster in the bays, with a single road connecting the port of Ivaiva to Vaitahu and Hapatoni a few km south. There doesn’t appear to be any cross mountain roads to connect the west and eastern coastal villages but it does have a weekly supply ship call in a northern bay and the western port. Sleepy and rural come to mind when you walk down the track in the main village of Hapatoni. Thanks I suspect to the French government , there is a small breakwater and boat dock, a comms aerial, phone box, public toilets, street lighting, a generator run electricity supply and piped water. And there France stops and Polynesia takes over. The few houses are prefabricated with odd exceptions where panels of woven palms fit between the wooden frames. There are a number of cobbled floored meeting houses, with decorated totem style roof supports, sheltered from the frequent rain they are otherwise open sided. Yesterday, was Sunday a day of rest and the village were out socializing in their meeting houses, (playing bingo, I kid you not!) boules, the children were swimming, riding their bikes and chatting. They said hello and welcomed us which was lovely and we wandered past the houses, the small catholic church, the fish preparation shed, past the inevitable chickens, the pigs, through the coconut palm slopes and along the road made by Queen Va’ekehu in the 19th C.
Hapatoni bay is a sheltered anchorage, with reasonable holding on rocks, its steeply rising mountain slopes make for a picturesque setting, in the evening sun, as I sip my beer! The warm glow of the last rays quickly gives way to the gathering dusk and in 20 minutes or so it is dark.
We anchored a little north of here 2 nights ago, in Hanamoenoa Bay. Another lovely location with steeply rising mount behind the bay but the strong local winds off the land made for a very disturbed night. Our anchor had dragged once already, we re-anchored in the dark and slept fitfully listening to the anchor chain grinding.
Yesterday we we tried to sail to Fatu Hiva which is upwind and against the current. The wind acceleration off the southern tip was quite something, 30 kts and 3m swell, it looked like the average winds were at least 25kts. It would all take a long time, so we decided against the idea for that day and we are trying again today. We are bashing the swell again but the winds are less and we are making our course, arrival in about 6 hours time around 4-5pm.
All our best,
Lynne and Alan