Friday, May 22, 2015

Hiva Oa Marquesas Tour: Eat, Think & Be Merry

John Ozanne, humble Hiva Oa tour guide extraordinaire,
was carving pomme citron with his handy machete.
At Hiva Oa’s Tahauku Bay dinghy dock, nearly every morning by 8 am, John Ozanne, a spry gentleman in a baseball cap, red shorts and a Hawaiian shirt hovers politely.  As bedraggled cruisers puzzle over how to tie off and scale up the tiny concrete dock in the heaving water, John lends a hand.  As well, he’s just as quick to assist in carrying full water jugs….

John’s small silver tour truck, topped with a semi-open shell covering bench seats, a long ways from their home base of Hana Menu, await as well…. Sometimes John’s fortunate enough to pick up a group who’s reserved his tour; even more rarely they show up, on time for John’s 8:30 am start, already savvy about the Marquesas’ odd half step of one half hour behind Tahiti. 

Hiva Oa’s enigmatic tiny smiling tiki…
Lucky folks – they are in for a treat!

Independent and frugal, we’re not much for paid tours, but John came highly recommended from fellow cruisers who took his $40/person* tour.  “It’s all day, you go all over this island, which is beautiful, and the fantastic lunch alone is worth it!” gushed Steve of Armagh.  “Then there’s all the fruit, too. You will not go hungry….”

*4000 CFP, if there are at least 4 folks on the tour; otherwise it’s 5000 CFP per person for two.  $1 USD = ~ .88 CFP and add 2 zeros when we were in the Marquesas, though we tended to calculate the exchange rate as if it as $1 USD =  100 CPF – or – just drop 2 zeros.

One of many beautiful Hiva Oa bays we eyeballed
on John’s extensive island tour.
John knows the island and his neighbors intimately, and shares eagerly and generously. He moved to Hiva Oa as a teen, perhaps about 50 years ago and can regale you with tales of his exploits, like making the 11-hour hike from Hana Menu to Atuona town each weekend in his youth.  John still exudes that sense of slightly mischievous youthful energy – traveling with a big kid is big fun!

A little closer and the turquoise hues of this
Hiva Oa bay dazzle their jewel tones.
Our first stop was down a dirt road, then a little trail, around the corner past a burial tomb, then onward to the tiny smiling tiki.  It’s believed her purpose is to bless to the fishermen. 

Along the way, John pointed out some small red peppers.  “Here, take some of these. They’re hot. Keep them in banana vinegar for cooking with fish.” 

Wayne ambles past the larger tikis at Iipona on our Hiva Oa
island tour.  Note the tiki on his immediate left lost its head….
Near the smiling tiki, John pulled out his trusty machete to introduce us to unripe pomme citron.  He hacked one down, whisked off its skin, and cut us thin slices of the oblong fruit, reminiscent of a very tart green apple or pear.  John clambered atop his truck to access yet another fruit… several sweet yellow-skinned perfectly ripe guava.  He showed us how to simply tear them open to savor the sweet ripe pink-orange pulp inside. 

Missionaries beheaded these “heathen” tikis.  Fortunately,
they did not destroy them…. This head belongs
on an existing tiki at Iipona on Hiva Oa.
Ever ready to please, John asked, “Would you like to stop at the airport?”  Sure, we agreed.  Wayne’s an aircraft mechanic, so island airports always intrigue us, and besides, you never know when you need a public bathroom….  On the way, we passed though a small pine forest – which Steve alerted us to prior.

Then over hill and dale, and many a lookout point, some we stopped at, some we just enjoyed passing by.  Hiva Oa is chock full of beautiful bays, verdant vista points and dramatic dark basalt cliffs.  At our first vista, further up the road, John pulled over to share a stunning territorial viewpoint.  There he rolled out several pamplemousse, hacking them into healthy bite-sized chunks.  Wayne, who dislikes grapefruit, willingly ate this sweet grapefruit-like fruit.  We licked the delicious and slightly sticky juice from our fingers.  John passed around a water bottle for us to rinse our fingers.

Closer look at two of the Iipona tikis.
We oohed and ahhhed at the many vistas along the sometimes well paved and other times exceptionally rugged road.  Ever the mechanic, Wayne asked, “John, how often do you change your brakes, given these roads?”  Every six months, John answered.  “And your last change?” Wayne probed.  “Six months ago,” John replied, not missing a beat.

We stopped by a farm where John told us we could buy banana vinegar and salt-cured limes, but no one was home.  “At church,” John guessed, as it was Sunday.  Their farm site opened out to a beautiful black sand, coconut palm fringed beach.  We bade our hellos to their dog, cow and pig.

John uses his truck bed
to access some guavas
on his Hiva Oa tour.
As well, John waited patiently while Shelly of Firefly and I went gaga over a gaggle of goats on a point overlooking a few bays.

Of course we stopped at Iipona.  “One of the best preserved archaeological in French Polynesia” -- a “Top Choice according to “Lonely Planet’s Tahiti and French Polynesia” guide.  It’s a lovely, tiered expanse, surrounded by lush trees and prolific flowers, scattered with larger-than-life tikis.  John pointed out the rocks used to set up for tattooing, the outstretched fertility woman with a dog carving, the headless tiki and its nearby head….

Dean of Firefly gets ready to chow down on his second
just-picked guava.
Further down the road, we lunched under the shaded commons area of a gardenia***-scented church. We gazed out over the surf beach across the street, where preteen locals played amidst the crashing waves. 

***Tiare, a simple, white and pungently fresh-scented gardenia is French Polynesia’s national flower and the primary flower used in local leis.

Hiva Oa bursts with a wide variety of lushly textured foliage.
“Guess what’s in it,” challenged John as we sank into his sumptuous chicken dish, spooned over delicate jasmine rice.  We were stumped.  Papayas, John explained, sliced, cooked for just a few minutes in boiling water, and then added at the very end.  “Eat it with the bananas**,” John urged, also handing out baguettes, slathered with buttery avocados from his garden, and very ripe star fruit slices.  We were stuffed yet it was all so delicious we greedily ate seconds, quaffing it down with John’s refreshing homemade limeade.

John demonstrates the essential
use of a long stick in pilfering
the perfect sacred
pamplemousse of Hiva Oa.
**Tiny South Pacific bananas taste far more fruity – almost like a creamy peach – than their larger sized sweet, starchy imported cousins we’d purchase in the grocery store in the U.S.

Wayne and Dean bearing their pamplemousse bounty
 gathered on John tour.

Back in Atuona town, we waited for the shops to open after their lunch break.  We wanted to purchase some groceries while able to take advantage of John’s truck, rather than carrying them the half hour or so back to the anchorage.

We returned at Tahauku Bay just a little before dark, happy, still full from John’s fabulous lunch and laden down with local just-plucked fruit and cameras with batteries as tuckered out as we were.

John’s delicious signature Hiva Oa tour dish:  papaya chicken
over rice, with baguettes and fresh squeezed limeade to drink.
If fortune finds you in Hiva Oa, take a day out for John’s island tour.  It’s a great tour and he’s a heckuva nice guy.

Thanks, John for sharing the beauty of Hiva Oa, and Shelly of Firefly
for convincing Wayne to pose for a photo on the tour.

Location Location
We took John’s hike from Hiva Oa’s Tahauku Bay anchorage (S9.48.260 W139.01.924) – our first stop in the Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia.   We are currently on our fourth Marquesas island stop, Ua Poa (S9.21.537 W140.02.867).  In between we went to Fatu Hiva and Tuahata; Nuku Hiva will be the next and last island we stop at in the Marquesas, before moving onto the Tuomotos, which are still part of French Polynesia.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Marquesas: Food Trucks – Yum!

cruising life, south pacific
Food truck at Takuaha Baie anchorage, Hiva Oa,
Marquesas, French Polynesia.
Looking for breakfast in town? Or a bar?  You’re out of luck in Hiva Oa, the second most populated island in the Marquesas.  Food trucks, those delectable purveyors of marvelously affordable munchies on wheels, however, can claim a firm foothold in Atuona’s edible options.

For a mere $3.50, a tasty tuna salad sandwich with cukes and tomatoes on a satisfyingly crusty baguette longer than my forearm more than staved off my lunchtime hunger.  It was served with a smile from the gaily red and yellow painted cart in the parking lot adjacent the pharmacy center, across the street from the post office.

We passed on the smaller white food truck at the intersection of the top end of town.  Popular with the local teens, it prominently featured sweets for sale, though I did notice a teen eating a fry sandwich, which presumably came from there.

cruising activities south pacific
Poisson Cru Chinois from the food truck at Takuaha Baie anchorage,
Hiva Oa, Marquesas, French Polynesia.
We contemplated a romantic poolside dinner at the elegant Pearl Lodge, high above Tahauku Baie, but our mellow mood was foiled by four loudly thrashing toddlers.  Back at the bay, we ambled over for our second shot at the local food sometimes-there food truck.  Despite its easy proximity to anchored cruisers, its clientele was nearly all locals, eating there at the tablecloth-covered picnic tables or picking up to-go orders.

Our first time, Wayne was a little let down by their $10 steak and fries, and the tasty $10 poisson cru a coco lait (tuna ceviche in coconut milk) wasn’t as good as pizza place Relais Moehau’s poisson cru, but then that was $18.  After we ate, we regretted not ordering the crevettes (shrimp), also $10 and they looked far more sumptuous. 

cruising life, south pacific
Carpaccio from the food truck at Takuaha Baie anchorage,
Hiva Oa, Marquesas, French Polynesia.
“No crevettes?!?” we complained, as they drew up their daily menu, noticing they were not an option.  Instead Wayne ordered the $10 Chinois-style poisson cru (no coconut milk, with a slightly sweet Thai-like mild fish sauce and oodles of freshly grated veg).  I ordered the $10 carpaccio, tuna sashimi in a delicious savory sauce of extra virgin olive oil a light dusting of curry, shredded onion, finely shredded carrot and cabbage, a few thin slivers of fresh ginger, speckled with capers and kalamata olive bits.  It was lip-smackingly good!  Served on glass plates, with real silverware – it was much classier than you’d a Portland food cart serving.  It was the best $20 sit-down meal for two we’ve had for longer than I can remember.

“Honey… they won’t even need to wash your plate,” kidded Wayne.  I didn’t take my tongue to it, but it was indeed nigh well licked clean, no small feat without bread to sop up its last bit of saucy goodness.

sailing destinations south pacific
Takuaha Baie anchorage, Hiva Oa, Marquesas, French Polynesia.
Location Location
The food trucks were in Atuona, Hiva Oa, Marquesas, French Polynesia, 2015, our first stop in the Maquesas.  The truck featured in this blog seemed to show up most weekend nights at Baie Tahauku.  This post was prescheduled at our second Marquesa island stop, at Fatu Hiva (S10.47.854 W138.40.053).   By the time this posts, we'll like be on our third Marquesan Island,Takuaha, or at Hana Menu on Hiva Oa.  It's quite possible there will be no internet at either location.  Watch for more photos and adventures!  My biggest challenge is simply finding the internet access time and availability to post!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Misadventure Overcome By Marquesan Generosity

Boat maintenance and repair, sailing misadventures, Hiva Oa, Marquesas, French Polynesia
Our bow anchor platform, after it snapped off in
Hiva Oa’s Tahauku Baie, Marquesas, French Polynesia.
There’s smooth sailing… and there’s (mis)adventures.  Of late, we seem to revel, unwittingly, in the latter.  Here’s what happened on Hiva Oa, Marquesas, French Polynesia.

6:00 pm, May 5, 2015
After over a 2 week’s stay in Hiva Oa, Marquesas, Tahauku Baie we were ready to move on, and the wind conditions for the 45-mile run to Fatu Hiva were good.  We relocated to a less crowded part of the bay where we had enough room to swing more freely on our anchor.  Wayne pulled the stern anchor (leaving our bow anchor) and cleaned the cockpit from silty mud from stern anchor and its line and hoisted our dinghy onto its davits, ready for passage.  I made sure the cabin was ship-shape – everything properly secured so nothing would take flight in case of rock-n-roll, then set the alarms (we are fans of redundancy) for ½ hour before first light; 5:00 am.

Liberty Call, parked nearby in Tahauku Baie
offered a great photo-ready model of
what we could use to resurrect our bow roller.
5:30 am, May 6, 2015
Captain Wayne at the bow directs me to “Go straight.”  I misinterpreted Wayne’s direction as “Go forward.”   Without realizing it, we rapidly overtake our bow chain and snap Journey’s Bow anchor platform taut.

5:31 am May 6, 2015, Thursday
Journey’s bow anchor platform shatters, drops off into the opaque waters with its essential bow roller into Tahauku Baie.  Thus ends our planned trip from Tahauku to Fatu Hiva.  I am mortified at the extent of damage my few split seconds of stupidity caused and humbled by Wayne’s forgiving grace.  Have a chaihe suggested, gently (and it helped).  He’d planned to replace our aging bow platform in another 6 months in New Zealand, though hoped it would last until then.

sailing misadventures south pacific

John Ozanne’s rearview mirror, cross and
prayer beads give a subtle hint of his kindness.
Later… May 6, 2015
We review our temporary repair options, depending on what roller was available to guide the anchor chain via our windlass (used to raise and lower our anchor). We also discover it’s the eve of an “everything’s closed!” three-day-holiday-weekend, so there’s not a lot of time to solidify our decision if we plan to leave in the next few days.  Our options….

1.    Find our roller in the opaque waters Tahauku Baie and resurrect it onto a newly created wooden extension of Journey’s bow anchor platform, perhaps coated in resin. 

2.    See what viable alternative roller is available at Hiva Oa’s Atuona hardware store and secure it into a newly created, custom-made welded metal channel, bolted onto our existing bow anchor platform. We visit the hardware store and their only available roller is not very robust.  We’re not too keen on it. 

3.    We bump into Alison and Randall of Tregoing in town, and share our woes.  Miraculously, they have a spare roller, which potentially becomes an additional option.  They say they’ll be back aboard their boat early afternoon.

marquesas local, sailing misadventures south pacific

Don, a professional Hiva Oa Atuona welder, makes
the first cut for our temporary bow anchor platform channel
using the saw from John’s brother-in-law.
Wayne gets into the dinghy and sets me up with a regulator off a long hose from the dinghy.  The water is so opaque I can scarcely see my own hands.  I feel my way blindly from our anchor chain down, descending 12 feet to our anchor.  I make a preliminary “Braille” search along the surrounding fine silt bottom for our bow anchor roller.  No luck.  I tie a rope to our anchor and use it as a guide for a set of concentric circular bottom tours.  No luck, though nearly entangle myself in a large chain link and barbed bundle on the bottom.  After sucking down a substantial portion of the air in one of our SCUBA tanks, I give up. 

We await Alison and Randall of Tregoing’s return.  As promised, they are indeed back early afternoon.  They give Wayne their spare bow roller, refusing anything in return besides bidding us to “pay it forward.”  Wayne promises we will do our best.

marquesas local, sailing misadventures south pacific

Don pokes behind a curtain of delivery sacks to procure with
the perfect materials for our makeshift bow anchor platform channel.
On VHF channel 72, Wayne hails John Ozanne, Marquesas guide extraordinaire* and asks him if he can connect us with someone locally capable of doing the welding required.  He says he can.   Within 45 minutes, by 3:30 pm John picks us up, takes us back to the hardware store for the material (bolt, pair of nuts and washers and a long strip of galvanized metal) we need to build the bow anchor channel (bolt to run through the roller, pair of nuts and washers to hold it in place and a long strip of galvanized metal), then to his friend Don’s home. 

*watch for another post on John’s excellent Hiva Oa tour

Don’s a professional welder, the welding expert employed by the local Atuona community.  Don provides two metal pieces far better suited than what we purchased at the hardware store.  Most of Don’s tools, however, are unavailable as they are locked up for the holiday weekend at work.  Mostly, Don doesn’t have a saw required to cut the pieces needed or a drill for the roller bolt holes or those needed to bolt it to our remaining bow anchor platform.  Wayne has a drill, and John heads for his distant Hana Menu home, where he has a saw.  He stops along the way at his brother-in-law’s, whose home’s just a mile or so from Don’s, Fortunately, he’s home and willing to loan us his Makita saw. 

marquesas local, sailing misadventures south pacific

Like a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat, Don finds yet another
scrap to make just the right modifications.
Upon our return, Don apologizes profusely for not having access to the full tools to complete the job for us.  His wife offers us coffee, chairs and presents us with a bag of passion fruit from her lovely garden.

By dusk, the channel, except the holes Wayne can drill with the drill he has aboard, is complete.  Don even loans us his drill bit, as Wayne’s are a bit too small for the task.  Another cruiser loans us his drill, to better fit the larger bit we borrowed from Don for the roller bolt holes.

Don refuses any payment, though he does accept the metal strip we bought from the hardware store for potential future projects.  If we had shotgun casings (we didn’t) he would’ve happily taken them for hunting.  Don planned to hunt the next day, and the yachties are generally the only source for casings. 

marquesas local, south pacific

Don and Wayne ponder the modification details required
to make the temporary bow anchor platform channel work.
“Beer,” John suggests when we ask him what Don might willingly accept as a thank you as we are unable to provide casings.  We promise to deliver John beer for Don, hoping the stores are not all closed for Labor Day.

marquesas local, south pacific
John first used his foot, and now his hands to hold pieces
into place while Don first sawed, then welded.
It’s dark when John returns the saw to his brother-in-law, then takes us back to our dinghy.  He also refuses payment, though he regrets we don’t have any casings for his recently purchased 45 caliber pistol.  We are not surprised he turns down our offer to take him out as a thank you then, given how much of his time we’d already taken.

marquesas local, south pacific
Steam rises as Don hoses down the
just welded too-hot-too-handle
u-shaped bow anchor channel base.
We are truly humbled by the kindness and generosity of Marquesans in general and by John and Don especially.   In our 2 ½ weeks in Hiva Oa, we thumbed many a ride, crashed a local wedding, enjoyed the public shower and sink for laundry, and shopped, all the while stumbling through our thanks in poor French (and no Marquesan).

marquesas local, south pacific
Sparks flew like orange fireworks while Don
welded and buffed away.
If ever you feel the need to restore your faith in the sheer goodness of humanity, you’d be hard pressed to find a better place for it than the Marquesas.   Fatu Hiva, Tuahata and Nuku Hiva are all more greatly revered in guide books for their spectacular scenery.  Still, the stunning tropical splendor of Hiva Oa’s captured a special place in our heart, though it pales in comparison to the inner beauty of its people.   And our fellow cruisers are pretty awesome, too.

marquesas local, sailing misadventures south pacific
Temporary bow anchor platform repair done and bolted in place.
Location Location
Written while still anchored in Hiva Oa’s Tahauku Bay  (S 9.48.260 W139.01.824), Marquesas, French Polynesia; prescheduled while in Fatu Hiva (S10.47.854 W138.40.053).  Here, we experienced strong gusts and many other boats dragging anchor.  The new bow roller platform works like a champ - better than what it replaced!  By the time this runs, we expect to be on Tahuata, our third Marquesas island.  We're not sure if there's working internet there, or the following anchorage back at Hiva Oa's Hana Menu anchorage.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Marquesas: Wedding Crashers

Marquesa locals, french polynesia, cruiser activities
Hiva Oa church crowd, festooned in traditional Marquesa
wedding colors -- more red and white than Valentine’s day.
“Really, as long as you show up with a gift, it’s ok!” assured our cruising friend Patty of Armagh.  She found out that morning from other cruiser friends of hers, there was an open invitation to the traditional Marquesa wedding reception, the “happening” in Atuona that day. 

We were on our way into Atuona anyway, though we hadn’t dressed for a wedding, if indeed we knew what was proper.  With curiosity, no special plans for the day and the excellent company of Patty and Steve (Patty’s husband), we figured… Why not?

Marquesa locals, french polynesia, cruiser activities
These charming wedding guests were
happy to pose for a photo.
With much shoulder shrugging and clumsy French we honed in on a 4-glass liqueur set and a small pyrex pie dish and linen dish towels to excuse our presence at the largest grocer in Atuona.  We were not the only customers that morning availing ourselves of the store’s complimentary gift wrap service.

In our desperate search for a public toilet – culminating at the church -- we also crashed the tail end of the wedding ceremony.  As the bride and groom slowly made their way out of the church. There was much singing and snapping photos & videos using iPads, mobile phones and digicams.  

We attempted to appear inconspicuous.  Fat chance – we were perhaps the only four folks not clad in red and white out of a crowd of 100-200 revelers – likely about ¼ of Hiva Oa’s total population. 

Marquesa locals, french polynesia, cruiser activities
The rug is laid in preparation for advice givers to lay upon.
It was a welcoming crowd, embracing infants to seniors.  Most women wore crowns of flowers in their hair. 

The bridal couple, decked out in fabulously fragrant tiare (local gardenia) leis, were older than we expected – in their 40s.  Both looked blissfully happy.

Particularly intriguing was the custom to throw down a rug, upon which those wanting to offer advice to the bride and groom would prostrate themselves.  Amid much laughter, the bride and groom would step over their seers.

Marquesa locals, french polynesia, cruiser activities
The bride, led by her husband, gets ready to respond
to the advice givers.
Marquesa locals, french polynesia, cruiser activities
Carefully, she steps over the prostrate advice givers. 
This happened again at the reception with far more giggling.
In a loose Pied Piper fashion, we made way to the nearby reception - outside a sprawling patio restaurant to await the arrival of the bride and groom.  The welcoming crowd separated by gender, women flanking one side, men the other. The newlyweds left their red bow-festooned “chariot” (truck) and led the fray into the restaurant.  Well-wishers offered their congratulations, kisses on each cheek and their bridal presents.

Periodically, the hairdresser who cut our hair, would blot makeup from the bride’s face, and snap photos with her smart phone.  There was a separate area, mostly out of sight, where the youth gathered, and sang.

Marquesa locals, french polynesia, cruiser activities
Outside the church, followed the ceremony, songs were sung
in Marquesan and some were accompanied by a teen with
an orange dyed mullet drumming a traditional Marquesan drum.
Food – roasted pig and red bananas, potato salad, chow mien, BBQ spare ribs, and more -- was doled out by servers in a loose buffet line.  Coolers of non-alcoholic fruit punch were used to fill repurposed tall plastic mineral water bottles.  There appeared to be no alcoholic beverages.

With full bellies and our curiosity satisfied, we headed back to our respective boats.

“When you’re already in the South Pacific,” Wayne mused, “Where do you go for your honeymoon?”  “Disneyland?” we parlayed….

Marquesa locals, french polynesia, cruiser activities
The bride and groom and their flower girl approach
a welcoming crowd outside the reception area.
Maybe they skipped, already took or delayed their honeymoon.  We recognized the groom, at work, two days layer in the local hardware store. He still looked happy. It was clear he did not speak English, and I regretted not feeling fluent enough in French (much less Marquesan!) to thank him for the delightful wedding and tease him about his short honeymoon.

Marquesa locals, french polynesia, cruiser activities
“It’s all gone!” explained the perplexed locals when we
approached the roasting pit to check it out.  Did they think
we were still hungry?
We later discovered the couple already spent many years together, siring and raising 5 children, figuring it was about time “to make it legal, given the relationship seemed well time-tested.” 

Location Location
The wedding occurred in Atuona, Hiva Oa, Marquesas, French Polynesia on Saturday May 2, 2015, our first stop in the Maquesas.  This post was published at our second Marquesa island stop, at Fatu Hiva (S10.47.854 W138.40.053). 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Gobsmacked! Fatu Hiva Marquesas - Primordial Splendor

cruising destinations south pacific passage making
Crenelated cliffs of Fatu Hiva, Marquesas, French Polynesia.  You know you're not in Kansas any more!
hanavave bay of virgins penis bay south pacific cruising destinations
Iconic natural sculptures of Fatu Hiva's Hanavave Bay "Bay of Virgins."
Originally named the Bay of Penises and renamed by the Catholic church.
Fatu Hiva Marquesas, French Polynesia is a place that truly belongs on your bucket list.  That is if a remote tropical paradise seemingly more in keeping with all the primordial beauty of Jurassic Park strikes your fancy -- less the dinosaurs and populated with a small sprinkling of the nicest strangers you're likely to ever meet.

With all the challenges cruising great distances entails, Fatu Hiva is one of those truly rare and amazing places when you get there, you say "Aha!  This is why we're doing this!  And it's worth it.  Dang we're lucky to do this!"

anchorage hanavave bay of virgins penis bay south pacific cruising destinations
Another slice of the too-big-to-capture-in-any-one-image portion
of Fatu Hiva's Hanavave territorial view. 
Recently, Wayne figured out we'd spent 40% of our time sailing this season since we left Jacksonville Florida.    Honestly - and this may seem outrageous - we don't like spending our time sailing.  A good day sailing for us is one so effortless, we get to spend our time doing something else we enjoy, for example

hiking cruising activities south pacific
Trail markers for Vaiapo waterfall trail.

  1. lounging in the sunshine
  2. relaxing and reading a book
  3. watching porpoises play in our bow wake, translucent jellies float past,  manta leap, whales blow and seabirds dive
  4. landing a tuna or mahi mahi (rare - we're kinda lousy at fishing and often don't drop our hook)
  5. watching the sun and the moon rise and set, rainbows and bad religious postcard lighting appear, and starry starry nights
  6. taking in the scenery of some exotic and beautiful new destination
  7. and, well, things I can't publish on a public semi-politically correct website

At that, I'm a much happier cruiser when we anchor, and I can once again

  1. walk more than within our 150 or so square feet of living space
  2. socialize with someone other than my beloved captain
  3. buy fresh produce
  4. swim
  5. kayak
  6. take a long shower off the boat with good water pressure without fear of draining our water tanks or clogging our sump pump
  7. catch up on wifi & get reconnected with friends and family*

*Wayyy behind on Internet!  Watch for more blog posts on past, present and future adventures.  Lots of fabulous photos and some good stories, just really limited Internet time and bandwidth.... This may be more the norm than the exception until we get to New Zealand in November.

Jimmy Cornell's seminal guidebook to
cruising passages;

recommended route and distances.
At least at this point we know our future passages are child's play compared to our 3,000 mile, 32-day Galapagos to Marquesas stretch.  From Jimmy Cornell's World Cruising Routes there's only a few "long" passages left this year

  1. Nuku Hiva -- Takaroa 436 miles
  2. Takaroa -- Papeete 575 miles
  3. Bora Bora -- Cooks 575 miles
  4. Cooks -- Niue 590 miles
  5. Niue -- Tonga 270 miles
  6. Tonga -- New Zealand 1070 miles

Just for now, just a few photos on our second and current stop in the Marquesas islands, Fatu Hiva....

south pacific cruising destinations hiva oa and fatu hiva
Hiva Oa was our first stop in the Marquesas, now we're at Fatu Hiva.
Location Location
Fatu Hiva, Marquesas, French Polynesia; (S10.47.854 W138.40.053).  We arrived here Saturday late afternoon, June 9th and finally signed up for Manaspot, the kinda expensive Internet that sometimes can be accessed while on our boat in few places in French Polynesia.  Who wants to spend their days in tropical paradise stuck in an Internet cafe?  We've spent our time catching up with other cruisers, hiking to and swimming in a waterfall and planning our next foray on the island, a 17 km hike, scheduled for tomorrow.