Posted by: catamarantwooceans | November 29, 2017

Sailing the Marquesas with Gili–part 2

24.11.17 – Friday – Around 10 a.m we were ready to leave for Tahuata. Just to make sure I checked the salt water pump belt and to my dismay I found it was not tight enough. Vincent did it yesterday and said it was fine; how could it be? I retightened it, started the engine, saw that the water flow was good and went forward to lift the chain and anchor. Being at a depth of 3 meters enabled us to take them out by hand, without halyard and winch, although it was very taxing. The forecast was for wind of 17 knots and I was sure we were going to see much more, especially in the Canal du Bordelais, between Hiva Oa and Tahuata, where the islands make a sort of Venturi tube, accelerating the air flow. Out of the bay, we opened full sails and as we turned into the Canal the wind blew stronger, straight from our stern.

Gili suggested moving the jib to port to sail wing and wing. We did that and simply flew along with the speed gauge passing the 10 knots mark. a big pod of dolphins joined us, keeping up easily with our speeding cat. At a certain point the true wind rose past 30 knots; we rolled the jib a bit and reefed the main. Once we turned south to the lee of Tahuata, the sea flattened, the wind abated and life was great even though it rained. I checked the wind speed instrument to see the highest value recorded – it was 41 knots. Approaching the target we saw a cruise ship anchored in the Hapatoni bay, a bit further south of Hanatefau.

I started the starboard engine to go into the bay and couldn’t believe my eyes; no water out of the exhaust! Disgusted, I shut it down and used the port engine to go in.  We dropped the anchor at 10 meters, letting out 50 meters of chain. The view around us was beautiful, steep mountains covered with thick vegetation including a lot of coconut trees and a lone hut on shore, seemingly uninhabited.

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                          Taken the next day from Hapatoni

I was wracking my brain to try and understand the reason for that and then an idea crept into my mind. The water pump is held in place by two bolts, one serves as an axle and the other passes through a groove plate, holding the pump in position once the pump is pushed to tighten the belt. I became sure that whoever installed the pump did not pass the bolt in that groove. I’ll go into the engine room tomorrow to check my theory.

25.11.17 – Saturday – At 0600 I was already in the engine room. My theory turned out to be incorrect but I took the pump’s belt out and found it was practically ruined. I put in a new one, started the engine and got a good water flow. Let’s see whether it’ll stay that way on the long run.

After breakfast we took the dinghy to Hapatoni, less than a mile away, went into the boat basin and tied at the concrete dock. It looked as if we could go in with “Two Oceans” but I was not going to try.

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We then started walking on the road leading out of the village,presumably towards Vaitahu, the main island’s town. My initial plan was to walk out for an hour and then go back. It was rather a steep climb;  it was nice to stop near one of the numerous mango trees and have a delicious, refreshing fruit.

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After an hour we were not yet at the top of the mountain, which we set our minds to reach. On the way we overtook a few horses climbing slowly on the same road. Are they wild or domesticated? We could only tell when one of them approached me and let me touch his head. So what are they doing wandering so far from the village?

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We went on climbing and after another 30 minutes reached the ridge from which the road descends to Vaitahu. The way back took an hour and ten minutes and was considerably easier. Nice hike!

26.11.17 – Sunday – Another day – another hike. Today we walked along the village main road, passed the church and at the road’s end we turned right and started climbing through the thick vegetation, feeling that we are not exactly in the right place. We saw a home above and where there is a home – there is a road.  Reaching it we found a good road going north; we followed it, marveling at the richness of the flora . At one point we left the road entering the forest. We found papaya and pamplemousse trees and took some. Mango trees full of fruit were all around, shedding the ripe ones to the ground.

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On the way we reached a structure that was opposite our anchorage; from the boat it seemed deserted and we could not see any details. Now we saw it was a place to chill out, with mattress and pillows to lounge on, a kitchenette, a cupboard with folded clothes and a Rastafarian flag with the image of Bob Marley on it. Outside volcanic stone steps led to a basin where one could wash off the salt water after a dip in the sea.

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For three days we were watching the place seeing no one in or around it; maybe it is in use during the high season, when more yachts and tourists are present. Still everything seemed so clean and fresh – a mystery! Not far from that place we discovered treasure – a golden pineapple which was quickly added to our fruit collection.

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After about two hours we turned back; it was another three hours satisfying hike.

After lunch and a snooze I prepared the boat for our early morning departure, connecting a hook to the spinnaker halyard for winching the anchor and chain out. As I walked back to the cockpit I heard a metallic clang; my hand went automatically to my pocket, in which I kept my Leatherman multi-tool – it was not there…  Was it worth trying to search for it underwater? The depth was 7 meters; I went into the water with fins, mask and snorkel and saw that the bottom was rock and coral. I felt  there was not a chance of finding it. I dived once to be able to say I gave it a chance and then swam along the 50 meters chain to check the anchor, seeing it well embedded in sand. On the way back, watching the sea life below and suddenly saw a silvery glint – my Leatherman! In two minutes I had it in my hand. Lucky once again…

Tomorrow we sail to Ua Pou (pronounced Wa Poo) 65 miles away. The forecast is for easterly winds 15-17 knots; to get there we need about 10-11 hours, so it’ll be an early departure.

27.11.17 – Monday – Both of us did not sleep well at night; Gili had dreams in which her car and other belongings were stolen and I was worried unnecessarily about the raising of the anchor. Reveille was at 0440 and at 0450 we started hauling the anchor up. I  was sure that t some point we’ll have to use the halyard and winch but with both of us pulling we had the anchor and 50 meters of chain on board in half an hour without using that system.

Sails open, we waited for the forecast to become true; that did not immediately happen. At first we had ESE wind, straight from behind, so we poled out the jib and sailed wing and wing. Then the wind disappeared and we started a motor. Half way to Ua Pou the forecasted conditions turned up and gave us a fast ride. At one point we reefed the main and a little later the jib was also furled some. During all this, Gili was adamant in her wish to keep trolling; “I will have a Wahoo for dinner” she said. At times we were surfing at over 10 knots and I told her the fish complained that they could not catch up with us.

When we reached Ua Pou it was overcast, the famous spires were hidden in clouds; the northeasterly wind made waves go into the bay. Here is the picture I took in 2009.

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To be continued…



  1. I have followed your blog for some time now (years) and still enjoy it, its always very interesting, keep it up

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