Posted by: catamarantwooceans | June 3, 2009

More of the Marquesas

30.05.09 – Saturday – During the night the wind blew fiercly down the mountain, gusts reaching 25 knots+. The anchor held but our sleep was disturbed somewhat. So, six a.m saw us ready to go. We went out wondering what kind of wind and sea await us beyond the effect of the island. Destination: Hapatoni bay on the east side of the island of Tahuata, a little over 40 miles away. The forecast: easterly 20 knots, ideal for our required course of 314 degrees.

Well, as usual, reality augmented the forecast wind by a factor of more than ten. We had wind up to 33 knots and seas to match. Although the wind was from the east the swell was from north east, right on our beam, reaching 3 meters hight. At one point we wanted to reduce the main to third reef but the reefing line got entangled in the rungs on the mast, so we took it down altogether, doing 6-7 knots with only a double reefed jib.

As we got nearer to the southern tip of Tahuata, the wind abated and we took the sails back to second and then first reef. I was expecting the wind strength and the sea to reduce further when we will pass that tip and “hide” behind the island, but what happened was that the wind accelerated at that point and suddenly we were going wildly, surfing at high speed, at one occasion reaching 13.8 knots. That was becoming unpleasant! I called for second reef, Zvi let the main halyard go and I pulled the reefing lines. The one tightening the leach came in too easily – the rope chafed and broke… Another half a mile – and the wind changed direction and became so light we had to motor. Rounding another point, the anchorage came into view, with five yachts at anchor, including “Ishka” an Australian cat we met in Atuona. We dropped anchor on rocky bottom, the chain winding itself around some boulder and fixing us firmly in place. In retrospect I could have been more cautious approaching the point and could avoided the wild ride. No reason to stress the boat and crew.

31.05.09 – sunday – Just after breakfast Zvi noticed a big pod of dolphins about 200 hundred meters away. “Morning swim!” I exclaimed and jumped in. I reached them, swam overhead, tried diving towards them but they ignored me completely. I think I may have seen a two of them copulating!

The water was full of micro-organisms, some of them in long, spiralling strings, which at the beginning I thought to be jelly fish. They did not sting though, so I kept on swimming. Out of the anchorage, this time the dolphins noticed us and accompanied “Two Oceans” for a while, we motored 1.6 miles to the next bay, to Vaitahu village. No yachts there, and for a good reason; A big swell from the west and a strong wind coming down the mountain from the east. There is a concrete dock but no place to leave the dinghy. “We’re not staying here!” Let’s go to the final destination we planned for today – Hanamoenoe. A quiet, uninhabited bay, with a nice sandy beach.

Hanamoenoe

Hanamoenoe

We took the dinghy ashore and as usual were surprised by a wave that came from nowhere and inundated Zvi with sea water. The beach itself was O.K but there was no trail to the interior so we turned back to go to the boat. Lucky we did, because clouds rolled in and rain started, we came just in time to close all hatches.

Afternoon was dedicated to some maintenance: I climbed the mast to replace the anchor light bulb, fixed one of the dinghy’s oars, rearranged the reefing lines and fixed a problem in the mainsail sheet pulleys.

The bay seemed to be good for fishing, I verified it by snorkling and then used some tuna leftovers as bait. The speed with which the fish were caught was unbelievably funny. First a snapper, then a good size bluefish (at least this is what I think it is) and then several small ones that, with the exception of one, were returned to the water. After the last fish the rod slipped from my hand and fell overboard… This was dusk, the sun has already set, but I put on the mask and fins, dove to 6 meters, saw it in the fading light and retrieved it. Those fish tasted good, they don’t come any fresher than this.

1.06.09 – Monday – This was to be a leisurly sail of about 10 miles to Hanamenu bay in Hiva Oa, about which the guide book said: “This bay…provides a secure and restful anchorage”.  My impression was that there was a village where we could buy some groceries and relax for a day or two. Well, first of all, going into the channel between Tahuata and Hiva Oa we were hit by strong wind, again touching the 30 knots mark. We did all the right things and sped north until entering the “shade” of the island where there was no wind at all. I didn’t mind motoring, especially since we wanted to make water and we do this with an engine running.

Hanamenu bay is on the north west corner of Hiva Oa, there are actually two bays, with sandy beaches and a lot of coconut palms, separtated by a huge rock, over 700 feet high called Grosse Tour.

Grosse tour

Grosse tour

The eastern bay goes deeper into the island and thats where we were going to anchor. As we turned in we saw a local motor boat and no yachts. The water at the head of the bay had a brownish colour, probably caused by a stream flowing into it. Swell was entering the bay, so we decided to anchor fore and aft so as to be head to the swell. Looking around a feeling of disappointment crept in. On shore we could see some shacks but they looked shabby and neglected. Compared to Hanamoenoe this was the pits… We agreed to have lunch and then go back.

We did not have time to start preparations for lunch when a wind shift brought the motor boat too close to us. We then saw that she was not on a mooring as I thought at first but rather on a very long, floating rope connected to an anchor. This rope was dangerously close to fouling our rudder. Immediately we staqrted engines and went the hell out of there. Reaching Hanamoenoe was a relief; clear water, no swell and light wind. Bliss!

2.06.09 –  Back in Atuona, we wanted internet, baguette etc. So here we are. Now that I do have internet I also put the missing pictures in the “Galapagos tour”. Enjoy!

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