Jadamama - Jadamama arrives in Fakarava, Tuamotus
From Ua Pou we made for Anaho which is a calm and well protected anchorage in the North East of mountainous Nuku Hiva. It is surrounded by a reef and beach with just a small village set among palm and fruit trees with the next village a boat ride or a trek over a mountain pass away so the atmosphere is very tranquil. You have to book lunch or dinner a day in advance at the only restaurant but the lobster was certainly worth the wait. We had lunch alongside the beach after a breath-taking morning climb up to the pass where we could see that visiting yachts outnumbered local houses by about three to one.
We motor sailed around the island then to Taoia especially to see a famous waterfall that was rumoured to have dried out. The anchorage is an almost magical gap in a rough and rugged headland that gives way to a small bay where there were about a dozen other yachts. We teamed up with Daz from Aliena the following morning to trek the 5km or so to the waterfall from a small village on the beach. Although it rained almost constantly and we had to cross a river several times, we were entranced by the grandeur of the cliffs and the lushness of the foliage where we often felt like characters from Land of the Giants (or Honey I Shrunk the Kids, depending on your age group ! ). An intrepid Japanese family with two small children followed us the whole way and we could only admire the young mother’s serene good nature. The waterfall was worth it though as we swam with some local eels under the the torrent which seemed to coming from the clouds as well as the cliff.
Arriving the following day in Toaihae was a lurch back to more normal circumstances with the large bay full of yachts from all over the world. There is a decent swell in the bay at all times which makes any landing tricky, as we were to find out to our cost when we tried to get fuel from the dock. We said goodbye to Polly and Hugh which was a huge change for the crew as Polly in particular had been with Jadamama on and off since leaving Dun Laoghaire in last year. He contributed so much of himself to the boat, the running of it and the to the crew that it was hard to recognise ourselves when he had left but we will try to keep up his standards, or most of them ! Hugh was with us from Panama and although it seemed very recent, in fact it was two months and over 4,000 miles which is a credit to his easy manner, good humour and kindness. Maureen joined us in Taoihae and got stuck straight away into everything going on aboard as of course did Scott with his “occasional” multi-part questions.
The trip from Nuku Hiva to Fakarava is c. 540nm and about 30 hours of that was nice, if gentle sailing, followed by some delusional efforts to pretend we still had wind and finally just motoring. Everyone took their turn on watch and read a lot whilst I passed the time being ill after our black water tank overflowed and I was a little cavalier during the clean up. Scott tried his hand at fishing and hooked a few however none landed so we are a few more lures down. We arrived this morning and timed the northern entrance for slack water using every resource we could get our hands on as we were warned it could be very challenging. In the event, the research paid off and we had an unremarkable entry into this lagoon which has all the appearance of a lake or inland sea with none of the swell characteristic of the ocean. Diving is booked for tomorrow and Maureen is going to give it a go so hopefully she will enjoy the experience as much as we have to date.