Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Passage from Tahuata to Nuku Hiva

I am way behind on blog posts! This one should have been sent on August 17, 2010

We had originally planned to do quite a bit more cruising in the southern Marquesas area before we moved 75 miles downwind (NW) to Nuku Hiva. But we got a little bit of "horse headed for the barn" syndrome, and every time we turned around we dropped another stop off our itinerary. We ended up skipping Hiva Oa altogether--crummy harbor and no real need to go there (except to see Paul Gaugain's grave).

The biggest change was, when were discussing the next move--to Ua Pou, 25 miles south of Nuku Hiva, trying to decide whether we could make it in a day-hop or whether we needed to go over night. The trip was 65 miles, and I was worried about trying to make it in the short days we have down here near the equator. I finally convinced Dave that if we wanted to SAIL, we needed to go overnight--otherwise the timing was so tight that we'd have to motorsail all or most of the way to keep our speed up so we'd make it in to a strange harbor with uncertain anchoring before dark. And once we decided to go overnight, there was no reason not to go straight to Nuku Hiva, where our friends on Infini had been patiently waiting for us to catch up.

So we left our pretty anchorage at Hapatoni at about 7pm, after loading up the dinghy, preparing the sails, taking showers, and having a nice dinner. There was a nice moon up and we had calm conditions in the lee of Tahuata while we put the sails up. We motored for a little while until we got some steady wind--these islands are so mountainous that even 5 miles out the wind was flukey. Finally we turned the engine off after an hour of motoring, but had to turn it back on for a little while when we got in the wind shadow of the next island up (Hiva Oa).

But after about 11pm, we had a nice sail straight on course, not quite dead downwind, to Nuku Hiva. We made landfall in the morning at the SE corner of Nuku Hiva, near Controlleur Bay. We thought we'd go in close and sightsee along the coast as we sailed downwind to Taiohae Baie. However, with a SE wind, we got no lee at all, and the big swell was pounding on the coast, and bouncing back out to sea, and we had about 2-3 knots of current against us. So we gybed and went back offshore a little ways.

We finally got anchored in Taiohae Bay near our friend Mike on s/v Infini, just before lunch. Mike picked us up in the dinghy and whisked us for a much-needed Cheeseburger in Paradise, at Babzook's Roulotte (a lunch wagon on the waterfront that serves delicious cheeseburgers and french fries, as well as other, more healthy, sandwiches. We met Laurent and Letitia, who moved here from France a couple of years ago and started Babzook's.

After lunch, Mike took us on a short walking tour of the important parts of the town... the bakery for a couple of baguettes, the veggie market for some fresh tomatoes and lettuce, and the 'magazin' (grocery store) for a few staples.

We had Mike over for dinner on Soggy Paws--his wife Sue was off in the States and I knew he would be hungry for a 'home cooked' meal.
At 8/30/2010 8:22 PM (utc) our position was 08°54.84'S 140°06.09'W

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