More bananas

 Superted V

Blog & Photos - April 2012

After the turmoil of Oa Huka, it was a great relief to spend a quiet night in a calm anchorage in the baie d'Hakahau on Ua Pou. What fantastic scenery – great lava plugs rising out of the mountains. We shared the first night in the anchorage with a south African boat who had gone through the north west passage last year and were planning on going to the Antarctic this year – made our journey seem like a piece of cake! They left the following day and our Italian friends on E-One turned up. They were planning on hiking across the island to the bay on the other side and invited us to join them. What a hike! It was supposed to be around 15km but we reckon we did more like 20 as we missed the ‘path' at first and ended up in a banana plantation then in a coconut plantation (so we never went hungry) before we were finally put on the right track by a friendly local. From there it was touch and go a few times as the track disappeared – fortunately Aldo and David had noses like bloodhounds and we were able to scramble over ridges and up gullies until we finally arrived on the other side of the island – where we celebrated with cold beers and smoked fish at Pierrot's! A great day out with fantastic views. Thankfully, Pierrot gave us a lift back along the road (23km). The local guide Jerome was very surprised that we had found our way through the jungle! We ate at his pension that night and were treated to our first taste of poisson cru- raw fish marinated in coconut milk – delicious. Spent a day out with another local, driving along the east coast and visiting the local archaeological site. A few days later our friends on Malarkey and Victory turned up so we headed round to the next bay with them and had a fun walk to the waterfall followed by lunch at Pierrot's.

8th April - Our last island in the Marquesas was Nuka Hiva. The main anchorage is in a huge bay with a village – internet and a couple of supermarkets so we were able to pick up a few goodies and catch up on internet stuff. Not much going on – water not very clear so not able to swim so we sailed round to the next anchorage Baie du Controller. Lovely anchorage and small village. Lots of nice walks – up to an ancient Tiki site and along the river. Whilst we were there, a bus load of tourists came in so the locals put on a dance display – just youngsters – but they were great and very enthusiastic. At one point they mistook me for a tourist (imagine that!) and dragged me in to join the dance! The land is incredibly fertile (it does rain a lot) so it was good to see a couple of market gardens – beautifully laid out – where we stocked up on fresh veg before we left. The locals again were very friendly and the day before we left they brought us enough fruit to last us for ever!

19th April – Left Nuka Hiva in company with Malarkey and Victory for a 500 mile sail to the Tuamotus. The Tuamotus are a chain of low-lying atolls formed from ancient volcanoes which have sunk and coral has grown on the remaining volcanic rim forming small islands (motus) enclosing beautiful lagoons.  These circles of motus can be huge and the land is sometimes no more than 6 feet high!  On each atoll there are one or two narrow openings where the sea rushes out of the lagoon and depending on the state of the tide, the entrance can be a bit hairy so time of arrival is important and of course it has to be in daylight. The wind was a lot stronger than forecast that day and to get to our original destination it was uncomfortable and our speed was so fast that we would arrive at our destination at we changed destination. Re-planned the timings but we still couldn't slow the boat down enough so eventually changed destination again! Victory and Superted made a good entrance at Ahe with no bother then had another 10 miles to go inside the atoll (avoiding coral heads and pearl farms) to get to the anchorage outside the village. Malarkey was too slow for the entrance so continued on to Rangiroa.  What surprised me was the size of these atolls and the way the people live on the motus. When we finally dropped anchor it was in clear turquoise water. Once again the villagers were so friendly and welcoming – I got into the routine of going ashore early to get bread (which wasn't really bread but a donut type thing and not very tasty) but I got to know the lady who made them and her husband, who I met when he was working on his coconuts (if you pardon the expression) - he spent ages explaining to me how copra production worked and how life on the atoll worked etc. really interesting. It is incredible how much they can grow on the atolls – considering that they are living on a coral reef which is basically calcium carbonate – coconut trees grow no problem but most other things have to be nurtured – they use vegetable waste, chicken poo and broken up coconut shells to make a soil in which they can grow a reasonable variety of plants – not much fruit and hardly any vegetables but some pretty flowering plants! We had some great snorkels – it's really strange as there are huge coral heads which ‘sprout' up out of the depths – great to see such healthy coral teaming with fish and sharks!

26th April – overnight passage to Apataki – another atoll about 60 miles away. The anchorage is by a boat yard run by Alfred and Pauline and their son Tony. Looks like a good success – and what a place to haul out! We picked up a buoy in clear water and spent a goodly amount of time snorkeling around the coral heads – fabulous!

                             Lat and Long 30 April:

                             15.33.435S   146.14.529W


          May 2012 .............