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Alone then not so alone

Overnight there had been only two other boats in the anchorage. By the time we were up there was only one.

The tides here are less than a foot but even so they were rising in the morning so Ben and I decided to go and snorkel the pass around the corner hoping to get some sort of drift dive into the island. When we got there we found the currents were sweeping us out to sea which is not a good thing to do in case of a dinghy motor failure. We tried about four or five different spots but didn’t find anything exceptional. We saw a few more fish than the previous day but they were all quite shy.

Back at the boat we were down to just us in the anchorage which is a very pleasant state of affairs. This didn’t last too long though as for whatever reason quite a few folks decided to make it down here including a few we knew: Renova, Kamaya & Victoria.

We went for a walk on the beach in the afternoon and soon ran into the guys from Renova up to much the same. We agreed to join up and ended up in a quaint bar on the beach for a beer. When we parted it was slightly deeper goodbyes as the Renovas are going on the hard in a few days and it’s unlikely we’ll see them again – at least in this lifetime.

Back aboard we grilled up some ribs which were delicious and made our way through three episodes of the recent series of 24.


Around 9:30 we were ready and went ashore for our hike to Maeva. We briefly looked at hiring bikes (or at least an extra bike as we already have two) but decided against the idea in favour of walking. The hike was around 6km to where the archaeological site is. A lot of the way was along the side of a stretch of water connected to the sea at one end called the lake. It was all very pretty. Along the way Ben set us a maths problem. We had to make the number 24 using just the four numbers (once each and only once) 1,3,4 & 6, the four standard operations (+,-,/,x) and parenthesis/brackets. It was infuriating but once the trick was found both Helen and I solved it.

The ruins were quite extensive and in a lot of places partially restored. There was a boat hut that appeared to have been reconstructed but it was out of bounds so we could not investigate further. Our guide book stated there should be a museum nearby so we walked into the town of Maeva but could not find it. We walked back to the ruins and up a foot path to find more of the marae – ruins. There were a lot of noisy school kids around the first set of ruins/banyon tree so we soon pushed on upwards to where we were on our own with a pleasant view over the sea to the north.

We decided against following the path onwards and headed back the way we came. Walking back along the road we soon managed to hitch a lift with a local lady who was singing along to French songs. In town we picked up some sandwich rolls from the supermarket which we ate going back to the dinghy. At this point we’d decided to leave the anchorage in the afternoon and head down south to where the snorkeling is supposed to be really good.

Heading back to the boat we noticed Renova had arrived. We went over to greet them and hand over a pair of shoes Naomi had left aboard our dinghy after the ride to the rays in Moorea. We gave them the low down of the land and soon had agreed to stay in the anchorage and meet them for Happy Hour.

As the afternoon wore on more of our friends arrived: Kamaya, Victoria, Dilan & Escapade showed up in the anchorage. We soon had a few more folks invited to Happy Hour. I spent the afternoon doing computer stuff still not getting round to work on the head sail.

We ate our dinner before heading out for Happy Hour. Another great time with friends was had on the waterfront. Back on the boat we watched a couple of episodes of 24 before retiring.

Today we definitely will head south and definitely might work on the head sail.

Our hookah won’t blow

The day started of a little lazy waking up later than normal then reading for a while. We then decided to go out snorkeling around the nearby point. The water was nice and clear and we saw plenty of sea life. The highlight was catching sight of a huge manta that initially swam in it’s gentle way right towards us then banked off to the side. These are huge and amazing creatures.

We ate lunch fairly early then decided to get the hookah out so we could explore the sea floor a little easier. While I’m getting better at free diving I still can’t stay too long down at the 30 to 40 foot level. The hookah was hard to start but we got it going. We set it up for three and set off from the boat. Within 5 minutes the hookah stopped while we were 25 feet down. We surfaced easily enough and swam back to the boat. We hauled the hookah back aboard the boat to allow it to cool. It had seized.

A little later Ruth from Kamaya paddled by to say hello. I asked if she knew of anyone around who knew anything about small engines. Turned out the additional crew member on Victoria was a racing car engine mechanic. He was glad to come over and advise. In the end we gave the engine an oil bath. We drained the old oil out and overfilled it with new. For a period of around two hours we occasionally hand cranked the engine using a spanner until it turned easily.

We drained the excess oil, put the hookah back together and fired it up. It worked. We set it up for two and John and I tested it out for 5 minutes. We had planned to go out at night lobster hunting with Tim from Kamaya. We called him over to do a shake out dive while it was still light. We all three went down and the hookah stopped again. It had again seized. There it stands right now. We’ll probably go through the oil bath thing again.

We agreed we’d still go out lobster hunting when it was dark but with our snorkels. Tim had heard from the locals in Fatu Hiva that night time was best as the lobsters went out to the ocean floor during the day. We ate our dinner then watched a couple of episodes of the Fringe.

Tim arrived around 8:30. We spent over an hour out there but came back lobsterless. We did spot a few interesting things including a turtle, a giant puffer fish, a large trumpet fish and a tiny moray eel. Swimming at night, particularly underwater is always fun so it was not a waste of time.

Another ‘relaxing’ day here before we move on.

Fatu Hiva – Day 2 ashore

Another busy day here in Fatu Hiva. In the morning we headed ashore principally to visit the falls nearby. We picked up Ruth and her daughter from Kamaya as we wanted to see some more Tapas together and arrange dinner for the evening.

The Tapas we saw this time were the most inferior and pricey of the bunch we’ve seen so we passed on them. We let Ruth know where we’d seen the better ones so she could look them up. We then found the lady who Ruth had seen previously and discussed dinner. We had 9 people from Passages, Kamaya, Victoria and us to eat together. The deal was around $11 each which was about half the price others were charging. It seems a lot of folks offer cruisers dinner in their homes but usually it’s around $20 to $25 each.

We parted company with Ruth and headed off to the falls. It was about an hours hike along the same paved road followed by a dirt track then a path over rocks and under fallen down trees. The falls were quite pleasant and we had them and the pool below to ourselves. They were a couple of hundred feet high at least but not a lot of water falling over. The pool was nice and cool to swim in. I tried to find a ledge to stand on under the falls but put my foot on something slimy that wriggled so I abandoned that idea.

After lying around and relaxing for a while we headed back passing the folks from Victoria and Passages along the way. Passing our chosen Tapa maker we popped in and picked up for a reasonably decent price. There are a lot of people it seems working on rose wood carvings and making Tapa in this village. There are also quite a few large private satellite dishes and 4×4 trucks around which suggests they may be making a lot of cash from their wares. We suspect many get sent on to the cruise ship stops where they get a good price for their work.

Back on the boat we had lunch of pancakes which was enjoyable. After a brief nap I set about a few boat chores. We now have tracking info for the new water maker pump which I forwarded to our agent. I took a look at removing the old pump but it involves more disassembly than I thought. It will be best to do the whole pump switch over at once minimizing the amount of work to be done and reduce the risk of losing or damaging loose items. I also looked at the outhaul which broke during passage. I noticed that around the gooseneck where the line runs into the boom there is no pulley. I don’t know if there ever was one but as it stands I can’t the line back in else it will chaff on the metal soon enough. So I deferred that task until I could do a proper job on it.

John had done some snorkeling off the side of the boat and spotted an octopus. I joined him and saw it too. It was pretty large. On the way out I saw a white tipped reef shark swimming below me. We also saw a huge green moray eel.

During the day more boats left the anchorage than arrived. At one point we were down to 12 boats. It feels a lot less crowded now.

In the evening we went ashore for dinner. We met the folks from other boats including two more who tagged along. We were picked up in a truck and taken to one of the houses in the village where we had a local dinner prepared including sword fish, chicken and lots of starchy vegetables. It was all fried or cooked in coconut milk. We can see why many of the locals have enhanced waist lines. The company was good and we had a great time. Walking back to the dock we approached the sound of drums beating. We found many of the locals practicing their tribal dancing in one of the village halls. The drumming and dancing was very energetic. Hopefully we’ll see more of this, complete with the traditional costumes, during the festival in Hiva Oa.

On that subject we’ve learned that we can only clear in Monday to Friday and then only in the mornings. Because we need to email a copy of our clearance papers to our agent in Tahiti to clear the pump before it can be sent here we want to save time and ensure we clear in this week. Helen wanted to sail today but John and I want to snorkel the area some more today and sail overnight to Hiva Oa. We’ve settled on the latter allowing Helen to sleep through and take the last shift. Hiva Oa has internet so hopefully we shall soon be publishing our photos from and since Isabella.