Saturday, June 7, 2008

Hiva Oa again and back to Tahuata

2008-06-03 to 07  Tuesday through Saturday
Atuona,Hiva Oa and Hanamoenoa, Tahuata in Marquesas

Tuesday we made the 10 mile trip over to Traitors Bay on Hiva Oa – directly into 20 knot wind and large seas and 1.5 knot head current.  Strange thing was that on our return trip the following day, we still experienced the head current going the opposite direction.  Traitors Bay was exceptionally crowded – far more boats than were there last week.  Boats must use both bow and stern anchors in this bay to keep nose into the constant incoming swell and to keep from swinging into one another.  This time the beam of our boat was only about 18 feet from the boats on either side of us.  That is way too close for comfort when anchored in such a crowded and rough bay.

The agent delivered our Duty Free Fuel Permit and she graciously gave us a ride into town so we could visit the ATM and supermarket.  Then the long walk back to the bay.  We tried to hire a taxi at the tourist center but the women working there would not stop yakking to talk to us.  Sometimes French people are the rudest people on the planet.  So we walked and some local driver missed out on making a decent fare.   We arrived back in the bay at noon and found that the Mobile station had already closed for lunch.  They do that here – everything closes for 2 ½ hour lunch.  That meant we were forced to spend the night in the crowded anchorage. 

At 0700 the next morning we were backed up to the rocks behind the Mobile station.  Do not know how boats manage to do this without a bow thruster.  We had to drop the anchor well out in front behind the breakwater and back up close to the large rocks on the steep shore. There was a lot of cross wind and current.  I had to use the bow thruster to keep the boat perpendicular to the diesel pump area while Bill got into the dinghy and brought our stern lines ashore and got them tied off.  Having to climb out of a dinghy and up the steep slimy wet rocks while holding the stern lines and the dinghy painter was not an easy job for him; but he managed to get it done.  He then fed the very long diesel pump line out to me on the boat; then he climbed back aboard and filled our main tank and some jerry jugs while I used binoculars to read the pump so he would know how much was being put where.  The Duty Free Fuel Permit was well worth the permit cost of 5,000 CFP (roughly $67 USD).  We bought 535 liters of diesel.  The regular price was 125 CFP per liter; we paid 88 CFP per liter; so we saved 19,795 CFP or about $264 USD by purchasing this permit.  The permit is only available if you use an agent to handle your clearance.  Otherwise, we could not have purchased duty free fuel until after we clear out of French Polynesia in Bora Bora in a couple of months; and we certainly could not have waited that long to get more diesel.

As soon as our diesel was aboard and paid for we again made the rough trip back to Hanamoenoa Baie on Tahuata.  This is such a nice little anchorage that it would be easy to stay here for weeks.  There are lots of manta rays in this bay but we never did get into the water and swim with them.
Friday was Bill’s birthday.  I baked him an old-fashioned Hershey chocolate cake with the Hershey fudge frosting.  Then we took our dinghy down a couple of miles to Baie Vaitahu to visit a tiny village that rarely get visitors.  Bill and Amy on S/V ESTRELLITA also did this little excursion in their dinghy.  It was a rough dinghy landing on stones being hit with surge and I almost landed in the drink except Amy managed to hang onto my arm and keep me from falling in.  This village was very clean and really nice.  Had a lovely church.  Photos to follow eventually.

Saturday we got into the water and cleaned the scum line off the boat.  The wind was so high and current so strong that it was all we could do to hang onto the lines and not get blown out to sea.  But we did manage to get the water line clean.  Tomorrow we leave for the passage to the Tuamotus.

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