From Fatu Hiva we sailed back to Hiva Oa to pick up a few supplies, including 9 baguettes that we managed to eat in less than 48 hours. Have I mentioned we are carbo freaks and my sad attempts at bread at sea, just don't cut it when we have other options! We also managed to be in town for their bi-monthly cruiser potluck. It had been a few months since we'd caught up with other American cruisers and although it was fun talking to the Dutch and French boats in the harbor, it was a refreshing sound to hear an American accent.
We decided to do a night sail to cover th 55 miles to Ua Huka to save the kids from another long day at sea. To kill the day we motored to the west side of Hiva Oa and found the nicest little bay. We had had torrential rains the night before, including flash lightening, so it was no surprise to see the bay a muddy color from the river outflow. When we explored inland we saw that it must have rained even harder than we had originally thought. Flash flooding evidence was everywhere. The creek was a raging river and vegetation debris was caught up in trees 4-6 feet high. All the smaller trees and bushes on the ground were bent over and we were happy we weren't stuck there 12 hours earlier. There were a few lovely little cottages in the bay, but we didn't see anyone at home and there weren't any boats in the bay, weekend getaways for those in Autuona possibly. As if life in a tropical paradise in a town of 2500 hundred people is so stressful you need to get away from it all (but then who am I to talk)! We walked back into the valley and explored a few pae pae's, ancient house platforms, the only remanent of the civilization that was here before Europeans brought in their influence. Back near the modern cottages we found a perfect little spring that someone had damned up to use as a swim pool. Cascading water ran off the hillside, through the lilies and other flowering plants, into the pool surrounded by something that smelled like a gardenia. It was a perfect setting. The kids chased after the freshwater shrimp that made a home in the pool. Apparently they are good eating, but we haven't seen many big enough to harvest, yet.
After an incredibly fast night sail to Ua Huka, averaging almost 8 knots, we arrived into the village of Hane on the south side. Hane is a quiet little village that we explored in about 15 minutes. Ua Huka only gets about 10% of the cruising yachts, so people are even friendlier than usual, if that is possible. After walking around town we returned with a stalk of bananas, a bag of limes and a watermelon. Ua Huka is the only island that is free of the black rat and therefore has the most avifauna of all the islands. That still doesn't amount to a lot, but many of the birds are endemic. We decided to try to hike to the next town over since we had heard they had a nice museum. About a quarter mile out of town a truck stopped us, corrected us in the distance to the next town (10km away) and told us it wasn't all that interesting anyway. Instead he brought us to a ceremonial site that he was photographing for the Mayor by drone. Every two years there is a Marquesan festival on one of the islands and the site changes every festival. Ua Huka had outdone itself with multiple thatched buildings and beautiful carvings, carved stone tiki's, and manicured grounds and lo and behold the museum was on the same property. Unfortunately our friend, Thomas, didn't have the key, but most of the building was covered in windows so we were peeping toms and managed to see most of the displays. Thomas also returned us to Hane and gave us some great anchorage ideas to stop in on our way to Nuka Hiva, the island to the west. On the way to one such anchorage we passed two large bird islands. Huge, rocky outcropping's covered with nesting Sooty Terns. Apparently one day a year the islanders harvest eggs from the island as they historically always did. Now, because there are so few islands with nesting birds in the Marquesas (due to the introduced rat decimating ground nesting sea bird populations), the islanders don't eat too many of the eggs. We found the rope the villagers use to scale the 20 foot cliff and of course Zander had to climb it.
In another anchorage we anchored the dingy, swam ashore and did some fabulous hiking. Mostly when we get to vacant beaches we can't find our way through the thick foliage to get a good view. This part of Ua Huka has fewer trees and we climbed all over the surrounding hills, upsetting the feral goats and horses as we trod on their trails. Zander and Porter also found some caves through the sandstone and lava rock (yes a strange combination) that they were able to climb down into and see the surge come in from below. From atop it sounded like a breathing dragon and Ana and I were content to stay on top. The boys like caving, but they have a healthy respect for the potential dangers and are pretty careful.
After a few days on Ua Huka we made the 25 mile passage to Nuka Hiva. Of course we could stay at all these anchorages longer, but time is ticking and we have already been in the Marquesas for 3 weeks and in another week or so we will have to start making the trek south.
The following pages chronicle the journey of the sailing vessel Pelagic and her crew. We are a family of 5; Michael, Amy, Zander, Porter and Anakena, taking our 42' Hallberg Rassy as far as we can comfortably go in three years. We left Oregon in September 2014, participated in the 2014 Baja Haha, continued on through the Panama Canal, into the Caribbean, up the coast of the US to Maritime Canada and from there crossed the Atlantic. After an arrival in Ireland we toured Scotland, then sailed down to France, Portugal and on to Morocco. In January of 2016 we slowed down considerably and enrolled the kids in a local Spanish school in Sanlucar de Guadiana for a few months. In the spring of 2016 we crossed the Atlantic towards the Caribbean. We are now in the Pacific, officially on our way home, albeit via a very circuitous path. We are currently in French Polynesia and looking at weather windows to Hawaii before finally making landfall back in the Pacific Northwest.
Currently our exact location is not available. Our spot coverage will pick us back up in Hawaii towards the end of May, 2017.
Our favorite sailing quote:
"If anythings gonna happen, it's gonna happen out there boss!" Captain Ron