Contact!

At anchor Baie Hane Moe Noa, Tahuata
Wind: East, F2-4 light air to moderate breeze
Weather: mostly sunny, occasional showers, warm

After finishing my spot of painting for the day yesterday I decided I would row ashore and explore the beach but as I got in the dinghy and rowed a few meters looking astern at the boat nearby I could see someone on the foredeck sewing a sail and I thought what the hell I will row over and say hello. So I have at long last re-established contact with the human race. Hooray! As soon as I approached the man on the bow invited me on board. His name is Jean-Pierre and he has his seven year old daughter with him, Claudia, a thin, dark skinned young lady with a big smile. Jean-Pierre spoke a little English, enough for as to have a reasonable conversation over a cup of coffee. He is looking after this boat for someone else, his own boat, timber, also about 50 years old, is in Madagascar with Claudia's mother. After our coffee we went across to say hello to the other boat in the anchorage, a large blue fibreglass boat of about 50 feet. The boat is form Belgium and the crew consisted of Vincent and his partner and two children whose names I have forgotten for now. They also spoke a little English so while the conversation was limited it felt very good to have some human company at long last. After another cup of coffee we went ashore to the beach for a swim and Vincent showed me where |I could pick some limes and mangoes from some trees growing a little ways back from the beach. There is a barb wire fence that runs along the length of the beach the purpose of which must simply be territorial as it does not look like it is meant to keep anyone out, there being a gate-like opening in the middle of it. Behind the fence is an open hut and beyond that a large number of coconut palms and further inland the lime and mango trees and some ruins of a grey cement wall which looks like it must have once enclosed some sort of compound. It clearly was never a building of any sort, nor did it look very old. At regular intervals are the remains of fires where it appears coconuts have been burned, the grey ash surrounded by a ring of broken husks arranged in perfect circles. I have no idea what is all for, I can only guess this might have been an orchard at some time, now run down and perhaps the locals pick some fruit occasionally, most of it is just falling on the ground and rotting. It was a very pleasant afternoon.

This morning Jean Pierre came to collect a small shopping list and some money from me and then scooted off into the nearby village in his inflatable dinghy, returning a few hours later with some beer and bread. I had also asked for some fly spray as the flies here are very bad but it seems the village shop did not have any. Today I have continued with some painting, getting on top of the rust spots in between the light showers, not too many today so have got quite a bit done. Then this afternoon went for a swim and scraped a few more barnacles off the hull, these ones are right down on the bottom of the keel, so a little hard to get at, but I think I have got them all now.

The beers are currently chillling in a string bag hanging over the side, though the water temperature is only marginally cooler than the air temperature.

Feeling much better today.

All is well.