Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Week in Taiohae

Location: Baie de Taiohae, Nuku Hiva, Marquesas, French Polynesia 08°54.84'S 140°06.09'W

We've been so busy having fun and taking care of business, that I'm a couple of weeks behind in my blog entries.

Fortunately, we made it to Taiohae (Ty-oh-ha-ay) in time to take advantage of the car rental that Mike on s/v Infini had arranged to go pick Sue and son Matt up from the airport. The airport on Nuku Hiva is on the other side of the island, and it costs almost as much for a taxi ride to or from there, as it does for a rental car. So Mike had rented a 'car' for the day (actually a 4WD Pickup) and talked his local friends Laurent and Letitia into driving and giving everyone a tour of the island, after picking up Sue and Matt. Though there wasn't room for us inside the truck, Dave and I begged our way into the pickup bed for the 'island tour'.

(Sue has actually posted some pictures of this adventure, which you can see on her blog at svinfini.blogspot.com)

Laurent did a great job of driving us all over the island. We visited a religious site near Hakatea on the north coast, and we visited the village of Taipivai (ty-pee-vye), which Herman Melvile wrote about in his book Typee. We saw the 'desert' area on the NW coast near the airport--truly a desert and in huge contrast to the lushness of the southern and eastern sides of the island, where everything is green and there are many waterfalls. Dave took a billion pictures, which we've hardly had time to go back and look at, much less get them posted anywhere on the internet.

The biggest project for me while in Taiohae--the first internet we've had in about 3 weeks--was to deal with an IRS Tax Notice for our 2008 return, which required a response by Sep 1. Fortunately, I file our taxes using TurboTax, and part of their 'transmit your taxes' process invites you to buy 'tax insurance'. For $35, you can enroll in their Tax Defense program. Their claim is that they completely handle any audits by the IRS. Since we knew we'd probably be in remote places for the next few years, it seemed like a good investment. Thank goodness for that foresight!!

I called their 800 number via Skype and explained that we were in French Polynesia and preferred to communicate via email. They told me to send a copy of the IRS tax notice and my tax return to their email address, and I would hear within 48 hours from the agent they subsequently assigned. It has worked out well... the matter has not been concluded with the IRS yet, but the assigned agent was a knowledgeable tax expert, and a good email communicator. He and I got on famously via email, and he has now filed our response to the IRS with a Power of Attorney and my supporting paperwork. He said he did not expect to hear back from them for 6-8 weeks, and by then we'll be in Hawaii where communications will be a lot easier.

In addition to all the financial business we handle via internet (banks, credit cards, etc), Dave and I both spent a lot of hours on the internet while in Taiohae, catching up on U.S. and World News, sports news, news of all our traveling friends with blogs, etc. We download and save tons of stuff--without taking the time to read much of it--and then read it later when have time but no internet. Dave is also starting to research information for upgrades we plan in Hawaii, possibly new refrigeration, more solar panels, and a new, sturdier and hopefully more aesthetic arch.

We did take the time to enjoy some of Taiohae while there... eating big juicy cheeseburgers at Laurent and Letitia's Snack Babazook (in front of the blue grocery store), and ice cream and crepes at the Snack right by the dinghy dock. (A 'snack' or a 'roulotte' is a rolling lunch counter, very common in French Polynesia in the bigger towns. Most have a table or two and some chairs in the shade for you to enjoy your meal.) We also went once for lunch at the Pearl Lodge restaurant. Mike and Sue had eaten there before and said it was quite good. But our lunch--poisson cru--was so-so... there was no coconut milk in our poisson cru!! Since a beer in a grocery store is about $3, in a nice restaurant they are more like $5-$6, and the whole lunch bill for Dave and I was $48. We don't do that very often (and reminisce fondly about lunches in Ecuador for $2-3 each, including soup, main meal, and a drink)).

Taiohae is a great place for provisioning--the best we've seen in French Polynesia so far. There is a daily fruit and veggie market right next to the dinghy dock, so fresh stuff is easy. Most of this produce is grown on the island and so isn't too outrageous in price. We were able to eventually find lettuce, tomatoes, green peppers, cucumbers, avocados, green beans, and of course the standby's: potatoes, onions, cabbage and carrots. Still no brocolli or celery, but at least some green stuff. And all the tropical fruits plus some apples. We stocked up for 6 weeks worth of groceries--that should get us to Hawaii. We never did make the 4am Saturday veggie market, though.

There are two conveniently located grocery stores, and between the two of them we managed to stock up on all the staples we needed to make it to Hawaii. Mostly we needed meats and snack food (cookies, crackers and chips). The meat selection was quite good--boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chicken leg quarters, whole chickens, pork chops, ground beef, lamb chops (and other cuts)--even bacon!! We also stopped at the afternoon fish market by the dinghy dock and bought a few kilos of fresh yellow-fin tuna and wahoo (nicely priced at $5/kilo uncleaned with the head removed, and you can buy half of a fish).

After Taiohae, we moved to Daniel's Bay, next door. But those adventures will have to wait for the next installment.
At 9/3/2010 7:42 PM (utc) our position was 08°56.62'S 140°09.80'W

No comments:

Post a Comment