Thursday, May 31, 2012

Snorkeling expedition

May 31, 2012
Anchorage position: 08°49.3236'S 140°03.8678'W

Snorkeling expedition at Baie D' Anaho, Nuka Hiva

We made a 15 minute run in our dinghy about 1.5 miles out of the day to the sentinel outcrop of rock at the East entrance of Baie d' Anaho. Surf was breaking heavily at Point Motuarahi, churning the water thick with foam. Around the point the wind was too strong to contemplate safely anchoring the dinghy so we dropped in the water about one hundred feet from the point below a steep cliff that broke the wind. Underwater the cliff continued dropping out of sight into the depths. Small caves and shelves provided the habitat we thought might house lobsters. Mostly, they were full of sea urchins with long black sticky sharp spines that required diligence to avoid their painful stings as the surging waters dared you to swim into a cave. In one large underwater cave I found a rusty spear shaft, testament that despite feeling like we were in virgin territory, someone had definitely been there ahead of us. Kathy focused on cowry shells while I continued my search for lobster. We moved dive sites several times and found some interesting sights, black lipped oysters growing in the wild, large green urchins with spines the thickness of a pencil, and a huge yellow starfish that looked more like a pillow as the legs were not discernible from the pentagon shaped body. I tipped the starfish on his back and then watched in amazement as he flipped back over magically without any perceptible external movement. Kathy scored a super nice Cowry shell and after several hours of swimming we headed home for lunch.

Today we plan to hike over the ridge and into Baie D' Hatiheu to check out several archeological sites, tohua Hikoku'a a restored public plaza of several stone platforms and two other sites which are located under a huge sacred banyan tree. We might even splurge and enjoy a lunch at the local restaurant.

That's it for now.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Sail to Anaho Bay, catching Mahi mahi and great hikes to Haatuatua

May 30, 2012
Anchorage position: 08°49.3236'S 140°03.8678'W

Baie D' Anaho, Nuka Hiva, Marquesas, French Polynesia, South Pacific

 Kathy shows off one of three Mahi Mahi we caught on this day.  On our way out of Bahie Taiohae we rounded the rocky outcrop of Sentinelle de l'Est very closely and we were quickly rewarded with a nice Mahi Mahi on the line. Taiohae is located on the central South coast of Nuka Hiva and our goal for the day was Baie d'Anaho on the North side of Nuka Hiva necessitating a beat around the east end of the island into brisk ESE trade winds. For the initial easterly leg we decided to motor directly into the wind as it's much easier to fish under power than sail. In short order we had a second Mahi Mahi aboard then a double hook up with a third Mahi Mahi and a Bonita tuna. With our small refrigerator stuffed full of fish, we pulled in the lines and unfurled our sails.
 A walk at Anaho Bay.
 Anaho Bay anchorage
 Stopping for a refreshing coconut water from a young green coconut. 
On the trail to Haatuatua

 Sand dunes at Haatuatua
 Beach combing at Haatuatua.

 Taking a short cut along the beach in Anaho
Anaho Bay from the 200 meter ridge looking NE.  Anchorage is bight on the left.

 Arriving in Baie D' Anaho in the early afternoon we decided to mount an overland exploratory expedition to one of the oldest archeological sites in the Marquesas, the remote Bahia d' Haatuatua. To save some time in the dwindling afternoon hours, we ran our dinghy to the SE corner of Baie d' Anaho, landed on the beach, then made a scramble through the bush until we intersected a trail. Once on the trail we made quickly for the saddle, then dropped in to the verdant valley above Bahia d' Haatuatua and headed for the sand dunes. The dunes are quite remarkable as they are nearly flat on top and clad with a short cropping of golf course like grass. Beyond, powerful crashing surf and brisk trade winds continue to slowly sculpt the jagged spined cliffs that encircle the bay.

The silky white sand stretched for over a mile making for a beachcombers delight. Unfortunately, we found even one of the remotest beaches on the planet, nearly 3000 miles from land, still marked by the ubiquitous calling card of modern man... empty plastic water bottles.

With daylight hours ticking quickly away we headed for an eroding edge of the sand dunes where ancient history was slowly being exposed. With time short we vowed to return to Bahia d' Haatuatua another day to search for more archeological sites.

The next day we made an early start and headed to shore via the conventional route, through the pass in the coral reef on the West side of Baie d' Anaho. With one of our dinghy wheels flat we anchored our dinghy in thigh deep water off the beautiful white sand beach. On my last visit to Anaho we had an exceptional experience of making quick friends with the locals and even going on an all day goat hunt. I was keen to track down my old friends, but inquires revealed no one I knew was around. Our French is poor, but we understand several of the guys were off to Tahiti for a big arts festival.

Heading down the beach front path we again made our way toward Bahia d' Haatuatua where we spent the day combing the entire beach and discovering one very cool archeological site where the wind was slowly whipping the sand away revealing ancient history. Despite the bugs bites, and incredible itching we suffer as a result, we found some ancient stone tools. One razor sharp knife like blade we borrowed to slice open our pompelmouse. The blade was so sharp that Kathy accidentally cut a finger. Not wanting to tempt fate I left some very cool stone blades I discovered right where I found them.

After a full day of adventuring we headed back to the boat for lunch and a well earned nap. The steady breeze and calm waters in Anaho make this one of our favorite stops in the Marquesas. After our nap we spent a few hours scrubbing the bottom of the boat and the waterline that had been quickly accumulating growth in the murky shark infested bays on the South side of the island. The presence of sharks doesn't bother us much, it's the murky waters that invite trouble. In the last month there had been two shark attacks on Nuka Hiva, so we patiently waited for the relatively clear waters of Anaho to swim and clean up the boat.

Today we're giving our feet a break, and instead mounting a substantial snorkeling expedition that will take us to the sentinel outcrop of rock we passed upon entering Baie d' Anaho a few days ago. Point Motuarahi bathed in clear oceanic waters should provide a chance to search for some lobsters.

That's it for now.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Daniel's Bay, Nuka Hiva Marquesas waterfall hike

 Ann, Bob Kathy and Dave with a 900' waterfall in the background.
 Local hospitality was unmatched .

 One of the many jungle stream crossings on the way to the falls
 Kathy and her new hand carved boars tusk necklace.

 Cool carved table.

LIGHTSPEED at anchor in Daniels Bay under a spectacular rainbow.

Daniel's Bay or Hakatea is the beautiful bay where Survivor Marquesas was filmed in 2002.  Sadly, Daniel the namesake of the bay has passed since our last visit in 2006. 
The jungle hike to the 900 foot waterfall is spectacular as the trail meanders through the ancient Marquesas ruins.  Bob and Ann of s/v Charisma joined us for the day of exploration.  Along the path we met several local families whom welcomed us into their homes, fed us and gifted us more fresh fruit than we could carry back to the boat.  A spectacular outing.

During our several day stay at Daniel's Bay we also enjoyed an evening aboard John and Lisa's s/v Orcinius.  On two evenings many of the cruisers met up on Survivor beach for a bonfire.  On each occasion Kathy prepared a dinner we could cook over the fire including a desert of roasted bananas filled with marshmallow and chocolate.

The last few days we've been hanging out in Baie Taiohae enjoying surfing the internet between adventures ashore.  Today we sail for my personal favorite Baie D'Anaho on the NE corner of Nuka Hiva.  This is where we went goat hunting with the local boys on my last visit in 2006.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Roasting Coffee on a sailboat

Recently, we had the chance to catch up with Tucker and Victoria of s/v Conviva in Taiohae Bay here on Nuka Hiva. Tucker a true coffee aficionado, purchased over one hundred pounds of green coffee beans in Mexico and about once a week custom roasts a fresh batch of beans. Tucker was nice enough to invite us over for afternoon coffee and roasting session.

We're always looking to become more self-sufficient and we jumped at the chance to learn the art and science of boat coffee roasting. Tucker uses a modified stainless steel BBQ with a rotating internal drum that can hold up to 4 pounds of coffee. The roasting process took about 40 minutes then we dumped the beans on a cookie sheet for the cooling stage. The beans then need to rest for 24 hours before enjoying the first cup of delicious boat roasted coffee.

Green coffee beans can last up to 2 years making them perfect for the boat and ensuring freshly roasted coffee is always on hand. We definitely see a coffee roaster in our future.

Thanks to Tucker and Victoria for sharing the art and science of coffee roasting and for the wonderful gift of 1 pound of freshly roasted coffee.

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Marquesas - May 12 to May 18

May 12, 2012

Baie de Vaipaee, Ua Huka

After our anchoring adventures at Fata Huka, we sailed for Baie de Vaipaee which translates to Invisible Bay on the Island of Ua Huka. The bay is aptly named as the entrance only reveals itself at the last moment and the crashing confused seas are quite foreboding. Once inside Baie de Vaipaee the muddy waters quickly shoal to 6 meters then gradually down to 3 meters near the local fishing boats on moorings. Bow and stern anchors are obligatory to hold the bows into the surge and swell that sneaks into the bay. LightSpeed was trying to surf the swell so we laid out a second bow anchor on stretchy nylon rode to ease the surging motion. We shared the bay with s/v Samba and even with two boats it felt cramped. Holding was superb in thick sticky muddy sand at anchorage position 08°56.4096 S 139°34.3941 W. Landing at the concrete wharf was slightly complicated by the swell, but not much more difficult than others similar wharfs and likely safer than the slick concrete boat ramp where the waves were breaking heavily. A stern anchor for the dinghy at the wharf is recommended as the rough concrete face of the wharf would quickly do some damage.

A walk up the paved road toward the settlement of Vaipaee is a welcome opportunity to meet islanders in this out of the way bay. An interesting museum is located directly under the post office and well worth the visit.

Batten down the hatches when sailing from Baie de Vaipaee as confused seas crashing and booming into the sheer cliffs make for an exciting departure. Heading west round the craggy cliffs off Cape Tekeho, we can imagine the mysterious ancient burial caves up in the sea cliffs. For a birds eye view, cut inside of the two small islands with radically differing geology. One appears to be an uplifted sea bed with sheer sides and a flat top and the other a more typical craggy barren mound of basalt. The flat toped island of Teuana is thickly covered with grass and cacophony of bird calls from the thousands of nesting Terns. The locals raid the nests for the red yoked and fishy flavored eggs. The other a craggy mass of Ile Hemeni was entirely barren.

May 13 to May 17
Baie de Taiohae, Nuka Hiva

Sailing into Baie de Taiohae on Nuka Hiva we counted at least forty five boats at anchor and the bay could easily hold a hundred or more. Heading ashore for a fresh baguette and ice cream I noticed the selection at grocery stories had improved considerably since 2006. Prices ranged from moderately reasonable to outrageous. A single can of Hinano beer (33ml or 11.25oz) is 265FPX or $3USD, a tasty fresh baguette 66FPX or $0.75 and a rare 32 oz can of sauerkraut $960FPX or nearly $11USD. Fresh vegetables are non-existent in the shops and must be obtained by asking around for a local gardener or attending the frantic early morning veggie market on Saturdays. Arrive early as it kicks off at 5AM and some items sell out immediately.

Pay for service internet is available in the anchorage for about 500FPX or $5.50 USD/hr and it's something between unusable to just plain slow. To get any useable speed for a Skype call you need to get online about 4AM local and by 7AM things are back to a crawl. I spent two frustrating days trying to resolve a problem with PayPal whom locked my account, a common complaint for those whom use PayPal from a variety of locations. Apparently, their 'System' which can NOT be overridden by mere humans, flags any login that uses a new IP address and locks the account. After nearly 20 calls to customer service and moving my problem up through several supervisors, they finally told me that I can't use Paypal in French Polynesia. Period. Their best solution was to just use PayPal when I return home from my vacation... My best solution is to close my PayPal account and move my money to a bank that values it's customers needs. I have a small business dealing in the USA and had intended to transfer money via PayPal to my business partner. Now that's all messed up and we'll use Bill Pay to send a check instead. If you travel, PayPal WILL lock your account on a regular basis and then they'll hold you hostage until you can 1). Call them from your home land line... yeah right! or 2) Send them a photo ID that is less than 6 months old and proof of your home residence... you've got to be kidding. PayPal used to be good for sailors, but alas no more. Adam if you're reading this, don't worry we'll get you the hull extension parts on-time. Rich if you're reading this, please send my your mailing address ASAP.

On May 17 we sailed to Daniels Bay or Baie de Taioa or Hakatea. The highlight of the day was a beach bonfire where we cooked some fresh tuna and egglant on hot coals. The crews from at least 7 boats socialized on the beach well into the night. On my last visit here in 2006 I had the good fortune to enjoy a warm welcome from the bays namesake Daniel. Daniel has sadly since passed but otherwise not much has changed even since filming 'Survivor Marquesas' on this same beach. This bay is the jumping off point for a 5 hour round trip hike to Vaipo, a waterfall cascading in a freefall over 900 feet! Today we'll make the hike in the company of Bob and Ann of s/v Charisma San Francisco .

That's it for now.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Baie de Taiohae, Nuka Hiva

Baie de Taiohae, Nuka Hiva

Hoping to upload a few photos, so check back tomorrow for updates.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Anchoring adventure at Fatu Huka and Tikis at Puamau, and sharks.

May 11, 2012
Fatu Huka
Anchorage Position: °26.1673 S 138°55.8661 W

We anchored overnight at the uninhabited island of Fatu Huka about a 20nm sail from Puamau, Hiva Oa at Anchorage Position: °26.1673 S 138°55.8661 W As we approached Fatu Huka the wind was ESE at 15 knots and coming on to soundings near the landmass the sea built. We explored the bight on the Northwest side of Fatu Huka as it seemed to provide good wind protection if you tucked up close to the cliffs. Seas were wrapping around the North end of Fatu Huka and refracting off the vertical cliffs and thundering into numerous sea caves. The bounce back waves combined with the wrap around seas ensured plenty of confused boat motion, but we agreed to give it a try. Depths varied from 4 meters in the bight to 14 meters several hundred yards off. We selected a location that appeared to have the best wind protection and as I held the boat in position, Kathy took a swim to get a good look at the bottom makeup. Kathy found a solid rock bottom scattered with boulders from the size of a barrel to the size of a garden shed... an anchor eating bottom. Kathy climbed back aboard and we prepared to buoy the anchor chain with the idea that the majority of the chain would be suspended off the bottom thereby limiting the likelihood of a fatal tangle with the boulders. It was our first try at buoying a chain so the spacing of the buoys was pure guess work. Too much spacing and the chain would snag on the bottom, too little and buoys would drag the anchor. Our guess was pretty good and we ended up with about 20' of the chain on the bottom. Even so, this was a temporary arrangement as it was only a matter of time until the chain and anchor would tangle with the many boulders. With the boat still idling, just in case, we both jumped in the water to reposition the anchor and adjust some of the buoys. The lack of wind made all of this possible as there was little pull on the anchor chain, allowing the necessary adjustments. Even so, I could see a tangle was imminent. Back on board I gathered up some old line and then dove back to the bottom to secure the line to a few boulders to create a temporary mooring. Diving repeatedly to twenty eight feet to secure the line was a bit taxing, but with warm clear waters it was a fun challenge. With the temporary mooring line tied I secured the anchor chain to the new mooring line with a carbineer to take the anchoring load. Next I moved the anchor, wedging it between a few large boulders as it would now be the back up in the event my mooring line parted due to chafe.

With the boat well secured we enjoyed the countless sea birds wheeling around the vertical cliffs and the thundering swell as it exploded and boomed into sea caves. The refracted swell and bounce back waves were a bit uncomfortable as they would slap our transoms with solid thud that was quite unnatural and unnerving. With two anchor alarms set overnight we jumped out of bed twice due to false alarms with the GPS. I'd rank this as a 9 on the adventure scale and reckon we're the first cruising boat to ever anchor in the NW bight of Fatu Huka. If weather conditions were truly settled and the protection of the islands' lee was not important then one could anchor in 15 meters sand to the North of Fatu Huka. But, this location would not offer any wind or swell protection. On our way to Ua Huka, we noted severalsand patches to the North as shallow as 7 meters and on our way we dropped the anchor on sand in 8 meters at 09°24.6170 S, 138°56.4382 W to do a little snorkeling. Be warned that the current runs strong on these shoals and was setting to the West at 2 knots. The scoured bottom and strong current cut our trip short due to the hard swimming required to hold position. In settled weather one could contemplate temporary anchorage on these shoals, but the swell does stand up a bit in the shallow waters.

May 9, 2012
Puamau, Hiva Oa

We enjoyed a night at Puamau to visit the largest stone Tiki in French Polynesia. Our anchorage position was 09°45.7081 S 138°52.4794 W near Tahanamoa Point where we entered the small bay by keeping the two motus Ana Kei and Ana Momo to starboard. In the bay we found a sand bottom with good holding in 9 meters and decent protection from the Easterly swell. Snorkeling was excellent in the small bay with good visibility, great coral, plenty of fish and a curious white tipped reef shark. We searched for lobster without success, but in the evening we noticed the underwater lights of divers whom were likely finding the lobsters out of their holes.

Heading for shore, we moored our dinghy at the quay with a stern anchor and then made the walk to the settlement. Where the road forks near the 'Snack Shack' we were asked to pay 300FPF or about $3USD each for admission to see the Tikis. Cold beers and limited groceries can be found by following the fork to the right, or you take the left and head up hill for about 20 minutes to the archeological site with the impressive stone Tikis.

May 8, 2012

Baie Hanaiapa to Baie Hanatekua
On our second day in Baie Hanaiapa we headed to shore to sign resident Williams 'Yacht Book'. William was super nice and sent us back to the boat with a stock of bananas, pamplemouse and some green papaya. We then went snorkeling at the Roche Fatutu with Shane from s/v Clover, we started at the huge rock at the entrance to Baie Hanaiapa. Once in the bay looking out at the rock, it appears to have a mans face looking to the right and a womans to the left. Pretty cool. Too bad the snorkeling wasn't better due to cloudy waters. We then tried the NW corner of the bay and the next few point further out hoping to find some clear ocean water. The water was improved and the snorkeling best near Pointe Motupoa where we spotted a pretty big shark with white on all his tips. Thankfully mister white tipped shark just swam on by, taking only a breif passing interest. Having the itch to see what's around the next corner we hauled our anchor and headed a few miles to the very pleasant Baie Hanatekuae to anchor in 6 meters on white sand at 09°42.0815 S 138°59.5946 W. In the morning Kathy took a swim to the white sand beach that rivals Hanamoenoa on Tahuata on a smaller scale. However, there is only room for a very few boats here.

That's all for now.

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Monday, May 07, 2012

No-See-Um bites and a broken windlass

May 7, 2012
Anchor Position: 09°42.8666 S 139°00.8871 W
Baie Hanaiapa

Anchored the last two nights at Baie Hanamenu, our anchorage position was 09°45.8223'S 139°08.4129'W in about 12 meters with good holding in mud. Baie Hanamenu is home to a half dozen Marquesan vacation homes which were all eerily vacant. Fruit trees abound in the many neatly tended yards. The cruising guides all say that Hanamenu is an abandoned village, but the homes are in good repair and likely just used for holiday outings. The star attraction in the bay is a cascading fresh water spring that fills a waist deep rock lined pool with refreshingly cool water. Cool anything in the Marquesas is a rare treat and a dip in this pool is highly recommended for a midday respite from the heat.

The beach at Baie Hanamenu consisted of dark volcanic sand and pounding surf churns the water into a murky muddy mess. Near the anchored boats the water is still murky and as we entered the bay we spotted six manta rays where the blue ocean water was mixing with the muddy murk. We swung the boat closer to the mantas and I counted 13 sharks in close proximity and a school of what I think were three foot Yellow tail. We spun around the Mantas again, this time with a fishing lure in tow and made several laps. We shouted out to another boat in the anchorage to have a look at the rays and the dozen or so four to five foot sharks and before long the brave (or foolish) sailors were swimming into the mix. We hauled in our fishing line and dropped our anchor as we hoped the swimmers would not become part of the feeding frenzy.

Later we headed for shore to check out the spring and have a swim and spotted a five foot shark cruising the surfline in the murky waters with his fins well out of the water. The water was so murky you couldn't see the remainder of the shark and we were not so keen to wade into the water to launch the dinghy. I definitely would NOT swim at Baie Hanamenu, it seems it would only invite a bite.

The next day we headed to shore to do some laundry at the spring where we unknowingly received several hundred no-see-um bites. Later in the evening and the next day the full fledged itching began and so we continue to suffer with well bitten legs, arms and backs. On the back of my legs I have over 190 bites alone!

The wind had a Northerly component and the anchorage at Baie Hanamenu became quite a ride. We pulled anchor to move to another bay and found the conditions outside the bay bad enough that we were willing to drop the anchor again and tough out the rough conditions. Dropping the anchor our two year old Maxwell RC8 windlass made strange and very bad sounds. Great, a super rough anchorage, blazing hot sun and now I get to disassemble and trouble shoot the windlass. Removing the motor was easy, but the gearbox was firmly seized to the gypsy shaft. I tapped hopefully with a hammer, but nothing moved. I pulled out a gear puller that was too small for the job, but managed to cobble the parts from a second gear puller to extend the first. A very makeshift arrangement that managed to move the awkwardly shaped gear box about 1/4" before a flange on the gear box snapped. At this point I was several sweaty hours into the job and after lunch decided to take a nap to see if I could dream up a new approach. The nap was fitful in the 90F+ cabin heat and rocking and rolling of the blown out anchorage. Back at the project I employed the use of a massive hose clamp to help secure the gear puller and then tediously would turn the bolt 1/4" turn, tap on the gear box with a hammer and by this slow and tedious method I made some progress. Several hours later still crammed inside the anchor locker with my legs loosing circulation I finally won the battle and just in time for dinner. With all the parts of the windlass now on my work bench I could began the trouble shooting process. It seems an O-ring failed allowing water into the shaft bearing that caused corrosion between the stainless shaft and bronze bearing which cracked the bronze shaft bearing causing lots of extra friction. I polished everything with 1000 grit sand paper, greased things up and reinstalled all the parts, so now we can limp along for a bit while we figure out how to source a shaft and bearing.

Bright and early, we tested the windlass and successfully hauled the anchor to head for Baie Hanaiapa. The no-see-um bites seem to itch more and more and we are in a bit of agony. Anchor down in Baie Nanaiapa, Shane on s/v Clover pulled into the bay. Shane joined us for a trip ashore to explore the lush fertile valley with heavily ladden fruit trees at every turn. Mango, papaya, pampelmouse, limes, oranges, bananas and coconuts everywhere. We met William and plan to return to visit him tomorrow to sign the yacht log book he's been maintaining for many many years.

That's it for now.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Back in Hiva Oa

May 4, 2012
Baie Tahauku (Atuona) Hiva Oa, Marquesas
Anchorage Position: 09°48.1475'S 139°01.8658'W

Woke up to 100% overcast and rain showers this morning in Baie Hanamoenoa on Tahuata, even with rain, this is still one beautiful bay. Got the anchor up and underway before the coffee pot had time to whistle and motored out of the bay with a few fishing lines in tow. The rain showers turned into a full fledged tropical downpour with visibility restricted to less than 1/4 mile on our approach to Baie Tahauku. The Aranui III supply ship was off loading at the pier allowing for limited anchoring options with 17 boats already in the harbor and a pretty big swell closing out the head of the bay. We launched our dinghy, dropped the bow anchor then ran the stern anchor out to secure us fore and aft in alignment with the other yachts. With the anchors set we zipped on our combination shade covers and rain catchers to capture some of the tropical downpour. Andrew undeterred by the rain headed to shore to do some souvenir shopping. When the rain abated a bit we also stretched our legs with a walk to for some fresh baguette and a diet Coke, but got soaked before we made it back. Andrew is homeward bound tomorrow after 60+ days aboard LightSpeed, so we'll be making a early start for the airport to see him off.

P.S. Mrs. Egans' class, please send questions to dbkane (at) gmail (dot) com

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Thursday, May 03, 2012

Poisson cru

May 3, 2012
Position: 09°54.5'S 139°06' W
Baie Hanamoena, Isla Tahuata, Marquesas, French Polynesia, South Pacific Ocean.

Enjoying lots of activities here in Baie Hanamoena. On our way from a neighboring bay, we did some fishing and landed a nice tuna. We also had a huge Wahoo on our hand line, but it was too big and broke off the lure when it bolted for the deep. Spent some time in each of the two villages to the south to visit archeological sites and in the second village to buy some eggs and fresh baguettes. Tahuata is a pretty big island with a population of only 600, so as you can imagine shopping is pretty sparse. It took scouring both villages to find a carton of eggs and when we did, it was stamped with use by of April 30, 2012. The eggs although un-refrigerated are still fine and we are happy to have them. In contrast, fruit trees abound in the villages with limes, oranges, mango, papaya and bread fruit at every turn.

Here in uninhabited Baie Hanamoena, if you walk back into the jungle behind the white sand beach you'll find wild lime trees growing in abundance, but if you decide to pick some watch out for the thorny branches. Coconuts are everywhere and I think we all drank the water of at least four green coconuts EACH today as we played at the beach. Ocean water is 85.1F which is pretty nice, but nearing the limit of too warm to be refreshing, but a nice respite from the 90F we generally have inside the boat during the day. On the beach we husked a few mature coconuts then shredded the succulent meat with our homemade coconut scrapper and wrung the coconut milk out of the scrapings. One coconut equals about 1 cup of cream and cost nearly an equal amount of sweat equity in a very labor intensive process. The coconut cream is delicious and a wonderful addition to rice, curried plantain and now a local specialty, poisson cru.

Poisson cru is a local dish combining freshly caught tuna, with finely diced vegetables coconut cream and lime.

Our recipe for Poisson cru:
Cut fresh tuna into 1/2" cubes and marinate in juice of bright green limes until slightly opaque. Drain lime juice and discard.
Combine tuna with a equal part of finely diced vegetables (onion, tomatoes and garlic, bell peppers, and cucumber combination or the like).
Mix fish and vegetables in a non-metallic bowl with a wooden spoon.
Cover mixture with coconut cream and refrigerate until chilled (1-2 hours), but not so long that the coconut cream sets.


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Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Sharks, Rays, Turtles and Octopus

May 1, 2012
Anchorage Position: 09°57.6306'S 139°07.1450'W

Anchored in Baie Hapatoni, Tahuata

Yesterday we did lots of snorkeling along the west coast of Tahuata. Using the dinghy as our base of operations we anchored it and swam at each of the rocky fingers that make up the many bays between Baie Hanamoenoa and Canal du Bordelasis to the North. We were hoping to find a knock out dive site with a large aggregation of fish, but it was pretty much all the same nice stuff. We did spot a black tip reef shark, Manta Ray, spotted eagle ray, sea turtle, octopus and lots of colorful fish. No lobster could be located despite a pretty intensive search in lots of nooks, crannies and likely looking holes.

Back on the boat around 1PM we BBQ'd some cheeseburgers with the last of our imported Mexican beef and toasted some baguettes for buns. Then we pulled anchor to explore South West coast of Tahuata and just as Andrew dropped in the fishing line he hooked up with a 40" Baracuda with some nasty looking teeth. Baracuda, although tasty, is likely ciguatoxic and not worth the risk so we released the fish. Resolved to catch dinner we continued fishing South to C. Tehopeotekeho rounding the Southerly most tip of Tahuata and sailing for Baie Hanateio where we contemplated anchorage. Wild horses roam a natural pasture ashore while wild goats grazed near the ridge line above. With mixed NE and SE swell Baie Hanateio would be workable for our catamaran, but rolly even for us, so we sailed the 7.5 nm back around to Baie Hanatefau to find a more peaceful anchorage.

Today we'll dinghy to the adjoining Baie Hapatoni to explore the small village of Hapatoni.

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