Mischief - A little bit of Mischief on the other side of the Pacific Log 11
Day 20 Monday 19 March 2018
A really rolly night, in fact one boat latterly described it as possibly the most uncomfortable anchorage they had ever stayed in after X years yachting, but then they were Americans. Regardless, I slept the sleep of the dead and was up at 0600.
We had to post a race declaration etc ashore at the WCC office on the quay which is a bit of a farce as our handicap puts us fourth fastest boat in the fleet as our handicap had been altered by ARC office to that which had been previously and successfully protested and amended prior to the start of the ARC in November. Given we were last but three to finish gives lie to the fact that the handicap is just wrong. Anyway, rant over, we then made our way to a local hotel by minibus transfer (as it was a fair way and all seriously uphill), there completing the entry documentation and receiving a presentation from the agent before heading into town by taxi. By 'town' I mean street with a couple of shops and a small bar. We presented ourselves at the Gendarmerie with passports and welcomed to the Polynesia's then made our way to said bar for a cheeseburger and frites where we ran into half the World Arc fleet! Wendy then went and had a tattoo she had promised herself on her right ankle, a depiction of a small sailing yacht and a couple of ducks - very nice too.
We needed provisions before setting off so stopped off at the 'supermarket'. We filled two mid sized bags with nothing in particular, no meat just veggies and bits and pieces - £221!!! Ouch! Nothing is cheap here. Things like shampoo are particularly expensive as everything gets imported into New Zealand paying NZ import duties then exported from there to the islands where they also charge an import duty and local taxes. How do locals afford it - probably why there aren't many!
We had an organized dinner back in the hotel again, a very nice buffet followed by dried bananas flambed in local brandy. This was followed in turn by some local dancers with the guys (all huge islanders) performing a haka style dance in grass skirts, very aggressive, all to the rythm of an array of tom tom drums. Then came the girls similarly attired to do their dance then altogether. It was really spectacular and we had ring side seats. Wendy was asked to have a go but the men were not similarly invited which was a shame as I fancied a crack at the haka.
Day 21 Tuesday 20 March 2018
0600 I was up and out in the dinghy cleaning the top sides along the waterline which was absolutely filthy after the crossing, particularly on the port side funnily enough as we had been predominantly on port tack and had therefore been mostly out of the water for over two weeks non stop therefore had more daylight to promote growth maybe? That took 2.5 hours then we took the boat into the quay and docked stern-to the wall to enable Dave to venture up the mast to do a rig check and primarily to retrieve the main halyard still attached to a piece of the headboard. We rigged a dyneema strop to the top of the mainsail and attached the halyard to that which looks as if it should work alright, we hope.
1130 we set off towards Tahuata, a small island merely 2.5 miles from Hiva Oa across the Canal du Borderlais, heading for the Bay of Hanamoenoa purported to be one of the most beautiful anchorages in the Polynesia's. When we arrived after a glorious downwind sail under genoa we could see what they meant: clear water, white sandy beach, coconut trees rimming the bay, just stunning. There were a few boats at anchor but it didn't detract from it at all.
We took the dinghy ashore to have a stroll and if it hadn't been for all the footprints in the sand it could have been mistaken for where Robinson Crusoe was marooned, oh yes also the sign that said "Private, Stay on the beach, Please." That would have kept those cannibals away I'm sure!
We had a very quiet evening on the boat with a G&T for a sundowner - perfect sunset with a cold drink in hand was absolutely idyllic. It really was that picture you have in your head when thinking about a Pacific island paradise. Dave made a chicken curry and we went to bed early.
Day 22 Wednesday 21 March 2018.
Early morning 'Morgen Dop', skinny dip before Wendy got up, then three of us donned snorkel gear and Dave the compressed air kit, and scrapers in hand, attacked the ship's bottom to rid ourselves of unwanted green algae and barnacles hitching a ride uninvited. Hours we were at it but very satisfying work. The undersides are now as clean as a baby's bottom and the propeller you can see your face in should you wish to venture that close. Whilst we were down we were visited by a massive Manta Ray, as big as the dinghy, which came up to me rather too close for comfort as I wasn't too sure at this point whether it was a man-eating one or not, certainly I believe I could have fitted into its mouth sideways! Absolutely beautiful animal and so graceful - I wish I could swim as effortlessly as that, would improve my triathlon swim leg times no end.
We later took the dinghy into the adjacent bay which was very similar, a little smaller perhaps and with a couple of wooden huts near the beach that looked quite modern. On returning to our bay we donned snorkel gear again and swam for ages around the rocks and along the reef; loads of very colourful fish some big, some small. We need a tropical fish identification chart to tick off those species we see.
As we were invited over to Madrigal for after dinner drinks, we had a very nice beef stew on board before making our way over red wine in hand. We enjoyed a very pleasant evening with most of the other crew from ARC yachts in the bay with Rick from Amara playing a guitar. Madrigal is a beautiful yacht, a Farr 50, very comfortable even with fifteen or so people on board with John and Angela, his wife charming hosts. I think I would like a Farr 50 please Santa!