Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Left Marquesas... Tuamotus here we come...!

Hello Everyone,

Sorry it has been so long since we have updated you all... We are currently on our way to the Tuamotus.. we are at 12.05.723S and 141.33.844W on a heading of 201 and trying to land at the atoll of Makemo on Friday 5/8. The warm trade winds are with us at about 15knts, we are traveling at about 8.5 knts and the swells are about 2 - 3 meters and are rolling through primarily from behind us... no complaints except yesterday I think I got wind burned... forgot how that feels.. the kids are doing well watching movies and getting a school subject done one at a time with lots of breaks in between so they don't get sick.. we have been reflecting on our favorites for the Marquesas..

We have been traveling around Nuka Hiva and enjoying great company with other boaters in awesome anchorages. The last time we updated I think was the waterfall in Daniels Bay which is a must do if you are a cruiser... a very memorable hike and swim if you're lucky.. and then of course on the way back through town meeting some of the villagers and buying fruit from them... it is wonderful to chat with them and find out the history of the island through their stories passed down to them from generations. After the last time we updated about the waterfall we ended up going back to the anchorage in town to so that we could get a good provisioning done... it is nice to do it there because the stores will drive you back to your boat and with all the heavy milks, canned good, juice boxes, and stuff it makes it so much easier and manageable. We met back up with Bob the Cat... the people we had met on Fatu Hiva and the kids were able to have a play date. It is always nice to reconnect with fun people. We decided to buddy boat over to the other side of the island and share an anchorage in Anaho Bay. We had heard it is quite lovely with the white sand beaches and snorkeling that we couldn't pass it up. Bob the cat left before us by an hour. As we were getting ready to leave we looked up and saw that they were still hanging out at the exit of the bay.. we were worried that something may have happened to their boat so we called them on the radio. They told us that they had stopped because there were giant manta rays swimming in this little alcove of the bay and they were swimming with them... of course this is once in a life time thing so we pulled up anchor and raced over to find them, hoping they were still there. As we got closer to the area they had told us to go we could see their giant fins gracefully coming in and out of the water. There were about 8 of them and they were swimming all around the boat feeding on the plankton in the water. It was so amazing to watch these graceful creatures gliding below the surface... Chris, Mykaela, Tristan and Alexia all jumped in after them while I stayed on the boat and kept it close by them. I also had to point out to them where the mantas were because the visibility in the water was only about 15 feet... the plankton was so thick. They had a blast swimming with the mantas.. they were probably 12 feet across and would just swim in circles around you... at times you look up and they are coming at you with their mouths wide open... after about 30 minutes everyone came back on board so that I could go out... of course I wouldn't go by myself, so kaela jumped in with me... she was hooked... She loved swimming with them and was actually able to touch the fin of one twice. I am not a huge fan of swimming in deep water, especially after we saw the video of the shark feeding the morning before at the docks in the bay with the fisherman and their fish scraps, another story.... Once I was done seeing them I came back on the boat and then chris took Amaia, Alina and of course Kaela went back out with them... All I could hear from the girls is shrieking through their snorkel. They were so blown away... Alina got a little scared so we brought her back on board... I felt bad once I found out why... she thought they were sting rays and they were going to get her... a little more information before we through her in the water with 12 foot marine animals will be beneficial next time.

Quick note on the shark feeding story... Bob the Cat crew went to shore early one morning when the fisherman were their cleaning the fish... the sharks had come in and it was a feeding frenzy over the scraps... They said the sharks are there every morning waiting to be fed and it literally is complete chaos above and below the water with the sharks fighting over the meat.... We had gone to dinner with them that night at our favorite house/restaurant for chow mein, curry chicken and hamburgers and fries... and they showed us the video of it... of course after dinner we went to leave and our stern dinghy anchor had got stuck under something on the bottom and chris had to dive in the dark water to free up the anchor... oh man.. I would have cut the line.. there was no way I would go diving in that water after seeing the video we just saw that was in the same location hours earlier... Yikes.! He came back up, with all limbs and the anchor... double bonus.

When we were done we headed on over to Anaho Bay which was nothing less than amazing... a huge bay with coral reef all around it, white sand beaches, and even a smaller beach that had great boogie boarding waves. We had a great time playing with Bob the Cat and their 2 kids on the beach. We ended up having curry night over on their boat which was really nice. The kids loved the food and watched a movie together and we were able to gain a bunch of ideas about traveling around New Zealand and Australia since they are from their. We are hoping to reconnect with them in New Zealand around Christmas time. We had to say good bye since they were leaving the next day for the Tuamotus and we just weren't ready yet to leave Nuka Hiva. We headed back over to Daniels Bay for another rendevous with a boat called Lorien and to go back to Paul and buy some more fruit from him... and see the puppies of course. We hadn't seen Lorien since La Cruz so it was really nice to reconnect with them and share our stories of travels. Mykaela and Tristan walked to the waterfall with them and then that night we had them over for a glass of wine. Paul was amazing and had cooked Banana Fritters and Bread fruit chips for us for when we came to get the fruit. The kids loved them and of course we are now trying to duplicate the recipe... which is a cup of this, 2 cups of that and then deep fry... of course they are good. we got a ton of pamplemousse, a bag of limes, star fruit, cocunuts, bananas and tried his homemade jams of papaya and pistachio... which isn't the nut but a purple fruit that is the size of a big grape and you through the seed away... It was nice to see him again, he always has the biggest smile on his face and is so welcoming.

Our last stop for the Marquesas was the Island of Ua-Pou... we were only able to go to the main bay with the main town but as it turned out is was quite a lovely anchorage with a white sand beach and a bakery with baguettes for in the morning... we were able to tuck in behind the breakwater wall for a very peaceful night sleep. The town is set up with more advance architecture than we have seen... they actually had 2 story business buildings and paved streets all through town. The houses all had great gardens and the stone work when you walked by the church or the elementary school was amazing.. they all had inlaid rock designs into the wall... there was even a huge soccer field with stadium seating made out of the large rocks and the cement was filled with tiki designs and marquesan symbols.. We were told that the provisioning was even better over here on Ua-pou so we had split up our list to do some on Nuka Hiva and them some right before we left. It was a really great stop and restful night sleep before we had to head out for our 3 day passage... There was one funny story here at Ua-Pou... We were pulling up anchor and I hear Tristan yelling Shark... there is a shark on our anchor.. It was really funny and he was laughing... so I went running up there to see what on earth he is talking about... and there it was a baby black tip reef shark about 2 feet was attached to our anchor by a fishing line... The locals go fishing off the water break and I guess it got wrapped around our anchor chain... Once we got it free (it was dead) I tried to bring up the anchor and there was another one hanging off the anchor chain that was about 4 feet... ugh this one was a little bigger and thank god he fell off before I had to reach over and get him off... we of course saved the baby one to show the girls and right after I showed them Alina took her clothes off and ran and jumped in the water and was playing off the steps of our boat... I guess that answers my question if they have any fear... I have been told by a number of people, locals and marine biologists combined) that is isn't the black tips you need to worry about... I am still looking forward to water I can see in and see what I am swimming with..!

Some of the favorites in the Marquesas: Of course meeting Pifa and his family on Hiva Oa, if you are a cruiser and you are headed this way.. make sure to look him up.. I believe one of the other boats had given him a VHF and he is monitoring 16... if not ask Sandra, with the tahiti tourism company or Robert, the guy at the gas station... they all know who he is and can reach him for you... Another favorite was the waterfall at Daniels Bay and the waterfall at Fatu Hiva.. Both amazing and very different from each other in all ways. I loved the anchorage at Tuohata with stephen who had given us the wild pig... also the anchorage in Fatu Hiva and Daniels Bay... striking for their mountains and the view... Anaho Bay was great for the kids along with the anchorage at Ua-Pou... We loved the family on Nuka Hiva that had the restaurant out of their house just up from the bank.. Great food and lots of it. There are probably so many great sites that we just weren't able to get to because of the weather.. it changes rapidly and a great anchorage for you may not be for another boater that is 2 days behind you... so it is all luck of the draw.

We are looking forward to the Tuamotus and the change of scenery... while I will miss the mountains jetting up from the water... I will not miss the dark water below the boat... I am always a little nervous swimming in it... you just never know who or what is swimming with you... We are looking forward to the crystal clear waters of the atolls with 60ft visiblity... fantastic diving and snorkeling, and really white sand beaches... hopefully there will be a few where we end up... I know that they can also be sparse and it is mainly coral but I will keep my fingers crossed... for the little girls.

Hugs and love to all


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