Posted by: catamarantwooceans | August 3, 2018

Marquesas Sailing with Gili and Yaron

22.7.18 – Sunday – Back from the hospital we prepared the boat for sailing, raised the anchor and went out of the bay. With me limited to one hand operation only, the manual work was to be done by Yaron and Gili. To go to Anahu you have to go east for about 6 miles and then turn north past cape Martin. The wind blowing straight from the east at around 20 knots producing short seas into which we motored using both engines, no time for tacking. This was washing machine ride alright and Gili was not feeling so well. As we turned north we had the wind from our beam but still the going was rough.

We reached Anahu bay to find nine yachts in the bay, two of them Amel Super Maramus, those 54 foot ketches. 

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Just after we anchored Gili complained that no water came out of the galley’s tap. Quick investigation revealed the a connection of two water pipes, secured by two stainless steel bands on each side, opened, causing the loss of all water from the port tank. We immediately went ashore to fill water. The pipes, of course, were reconnected tightly.

23.7.18 – Monday – The day started with Gili playing nurse and treating my arm, cleaning and replacing the bandage, which is still a bit painful. Then snorkeling for Gili and Yaron (I’m not allowed to wet my poor arm) and a hike on the trail to Hatiheu, which was a good workout for all. Two more rounds of water filling, also used as dinghy outboard operations training for Yaron. Checking the port engine room I found a water leak in the area of the salt water pump. I decided to go back to Taiohae tomorrow and let Kevin fix it on Wednesday morning.

24.7.18 – Tuesday – Gili wanted to go to Hatiheu, a bay less than two miles to the east of Anahu. We motored over and looked around the bay. It was not tempting enough to make us change our plan of going back to Taiohae and fix the leaking water pump so we turned east, motor–sailing against the wind and waves, waiting to turn south at the north-east tip of the island. We were visited by a pod of large dolphins which is always spirit lifting. Just as we reached that tip the shrill alarm of the starboard engine sounded: “water temperature”. That was not a big surprise; last week I tightened the water pump belt. The day before yesterday I needed to do it again, which should have alerted me to the fact that the belt was at the end of its life. Here I made a mistake, instead of returning to Anahu, 40 minutes away, to replace the belt, I continued to Taiohae, knowing that my other engine has a water pump leak.

The inevitable happened; approaching the entrance to the Taiohae bay the water temperature alarm of the port engine sounded intermittently. I shut the engine down and continued under sail. Problem was that the winds in the bay are shifting all the time. I ended up reaching the anchorage by using one engine at a time for short durations without overheating them. Once we were at anchor, I let the starboard engine cool down, entered the engine room and in 15 minutes had a new belt installed.

25.7.18 – Wednesday – Kevin dismantled the port water pump and took it away to his shop with another pump that I had on board. He combined parts of the two pumps to make an operable one and installed it. At 1200 we motored out of the bay and set sail to Ua Pou. The sea was moderate and Gili, who apparently did not get her sea legs yet, complained bitterly. Yaron was concentrating on trolling. Yesterday a fish hit without us noticing and took away the whole line and lure. Today he was sure he would catch one. We were going quite fast, around 7 knots, when a fish was caught; I slowed the boat down and Yaron started reeling. It was a big one and it bent the rod considerably but after not more than a minute the pressure on the rod disappeared and so did the fish.

We entered the Hakahau bay in Ua Pou to find two yachts we saw in Anahu; a  yellow yacht with a young couple, Australian man and Argentinian lady on board and a Brazilian boat named Arthi. In Anahu we enjoyed seeing the Brazilian crew performing Yoga Sun Greeting each morning.

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In the evening Gili replaced my bandage. I did not like the way the wound looked and made up my mind to visit the local doctor the next day.

26.7.18 – Thursday – In the morning we went ashore and I asked one of the local ladies about the whereabouts of the doctor. “He is not in town today, he is in the valley” she said. We met Baban, a bearded Danish man of Kurdish origin, who joined Arthi in Taiohae and when he heard about it he told us that the owners of Arthi are both medicine persons: the lady a medical doctor and the man a pharmacist! We spoke to them and Lucia promised to come later in the afternoon to take a look.

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                                              Germano and Lucia

Lucia said that the wound is looking good and gave some recommendations regarding its future treatment. Her words were very reassuring and made me feel a lot better. I gave her a bottle of wine to express my appreciation; she said No No No and I said Yes Yes Yes and my gratitude was accepted.

27.7.18 – Friday – Out of Ua Pou at 0600 to go to Tahuata 65 miles away. With the easterly wind we could only sail a course of 150 degrees instead of the 121 we wanted. The wind blew 20-22 knots raising an ugly sea – washing machine ride again. After about 30 miles the sea moderated somewhat but the wind, perhaps aided by current, only allowed a course of 170-180 degrees. Tacking in those condition would get us nowhere so the engines were started. At one point the wind and waves were so bad we had to motor-sail in tacks, 20 to 30 degrees off the wind to achieve a reasonable speed. At times it felt and looked as if we were riding a submarine, when Two oceans was going down one wave into another and water covered the saloon windows.

The moon rose over Tahuata as we came nearer; at 2045 we entered the Hanamoenoa bay, anchoring between two monohulls. A rough trip! I tried to remember whether my single-handed experience on the same route was that bad but, probably due to the passage of time, memory failed me.

28.7.18 – Saturday – This was the day I was supposed to have my sutures removed. We motored to Atuona in Hiva Oa and called Frida, the taxi driver to take us to the local hospital. She said it was closed but we went anyway, finding no one there and getting no answer on the emergency number posted on a sign nearby. We went back to the boat, where a consultation took place. It didn’t make sense that in case of an urgent need there would be no medical help on the island. We tried to call people we knew here – Vincent and Maria Roche of Maintenance Marquises but there was no answer. Accepting Gili’s suggestion we went ashore “to find somebody who could help” she found a man who came to row his pirogue and explained our predicament. He took out his phone and called the right man, Dr. Chiu, who agreed to receive us.

Frida was called again and during the drive to the clinic she said the good doctor was her doctor too. Why did she not mention it before? When Gili asked her she said something to the effect that it was illogical to pay a lot of money to a private doctor and that “sutures can wait”. Dr. Chiu is of Chinese origin, his father was an M.D here too. After checking me he advised that the correct procedure would be to leave a few stitches in certain areas for two more days. He gave us a letter to nurses in Fatu Hiva, explaining what was to be done.

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                               Dr. Chiu and patient (taken by Yaron)

The doctor removed 14 stitches (a bit painful at times) and declared he left six more, so there were 20 altogether after all.

Treatment finished, we took Yaron to the obligatory visit of the cemetery to Gauguin and Brel graves and then walked back to the port, filled up water and had a great dinner of steaks, Swiss style fried potatoes (rushti) and lettuce salad, with Bordeaux red wine. Tomorrow we’ll sail to Fatu Hiva. “Will that trip be the same as the one we had the day before yesterday?” asked Gili. “In short – yes” I said and explained that the angle of the course to Fatu Hiva would be 60 degrees to the wind and so should be easier. It stands to be seen…  

29.7.18 – Sunday – It took us eight hours to get to Baie des Vierges in Fatu Hiva; most of it was not too rough but as we came closer to the island, the wind became stronger and we had to reef the main. There were nine boats in the bay, which made the choice of anchoring spot a bit difficult. As my custom here I attached the second anchor’s chain to the main one, to have a better grip on the bottom for when the wind bullets roar down from the mountain. During that I winched the chains backwards too much and the connecting shackle got stuck in the channel leading to the chain locker. We toiled a full hour until Yaron succeeded hammering the stubborn shackle out with a big screwdriver. I can’t imagine what we would have done had the anchors remained unusable!

Once anchored safely, rain started falling; a rainbow enhanced the beauty of the place.

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                                      pic by Yaron

30.7.18 – Monday – It rained all through the night and I was a bit worried that our planned hike to the waterfall would be a muddy affair. At 0930 it cleared and we started walking. The trail turned out to be in good condition and we reached the fall to find the quantity of water lacking and the pool dirty with leaves, branches and a sort of gooey foam; no swimming in the pool today. In spite of all that this hike is always lovely and we enjoyed it immensely. A bonus was discovering one of the Polynesian stream eels hiding between rocks . Those are supposed to have blue eyes but I could not see them. Also in the pool I could see sweet water shrimps and very small fish-like creatures.

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After 15 minutes on the way back, Yaron  blurted:”Shit, shit, shit!” He suddenly noticed that his 200$ sports Oakley sunglasses, which he attached to his hat, were missing. We figured out that as he took his hat of to be photographed they fell down. Back to the fall we went and gladly they were found in one of the rocky pools at the falls outlet.

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                                  lost and found

The next paragraph needs some background information. Yaron is very keen on fishing and when he is on board I leave that operation in his hands. When he first handled the rod and reel, I instructed him to position the lure with its sharp triple hooks on the outside of the rod’s to keep it away from contacting human flesh. I even told him how my friend Danny got stung by the hook, necessitating an on board “operation” to remove the barbed hook. Frankly, I saw that yesterday he put the lure on the inside and refrained from telling him or relocating it myself. You probably guessed what happened. I was scrubbing our walking shoes when I heard Yaron holler in pain. He somehow put his hand in the wrong place and now had a triple hook stuck in his arm.

Practice makes perfect and very quickly I was there with the Leatherman multitool, filing away the dangerous barb and enabling the extraction of the hook. We decided to do the stitches removal at Dr. Chiu’s, so tomorrow we’ll go back to Hiva Oa.

31.7.18 – Tuesday – Great sail with the wind on the starboard quarter and the sea relatively calm; it took us seven hours to cover the 45 miles. My stitches were taken out, but I still have to treat the wound area with some cream and bandage it; it’ll take a few days to get back to normal.

To be continued…

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