Sunday, July 15, 2007

Friday 13th July

Nuku Hiva

8 54.888 S
140 06.115 W

What a blessing to wake up and not be moving anywhere! 3 weeks and 12hrs at sea was quite long enough, in fact it was 12 hrs more than I agreed to but there was nowhere to get off and fly home so I had to stay on the boat until we arrived here anyway! Our first glimpse at Nuku Hiva in day light revealed a very picturesque island; apart from the entrance into the harbour we were totally surrounded by mountains – it’s like being in a high sided bowl. The mountains are very green – not sure that it’s a good sign, there is obviously a lot of rain here to make it so green. The township is small with houses set into the hills at well spaced intervals; it appears very clean and quiet. In the harbour there are about 20 other boats anchored, the majority have Australian or French flags flying. We tried to listen in to the radio schedule but the mountains occlude the broadcasting so we heard nothing. Our first task for the day was to be moving to a more considered spot in the anchorage; where we had anchored for the night was directly in the fetch of the swell coming into the harbour and we rolled a bit all night, not that it really mattered as we were so tired and would have slept through Armageddon. So once we had eaten breakfast we dropped the dinghy into the water then hauled up the anchor and motored to a spot a bit closer to the dock and further away from the entrance, we dropped the anchor and then Gerry took the stern anchor out in the dinghy and dropped it behind us to keep the boat pointed into the swell and stop us from rolling around. Most of the boats seem to have a stern anchor out so we have assumed that the swell must be fairly constant even though the guide doesn’t mention it. Gerry then tided away the main sail which we had left last night whilst I cleaned up the mess in the cockpit and gathered together our laundry. By the time I had finished Gerry had dinked over to our neighbour and found out some of the important must know things about the place. We decided to go ashore before doing anything else and check in however it was now just gone midday and we had learnt that everything is closed between midday and 14.00hrs so we had to cool our heels for a while Gerry spent the time hooking us up to the internet which is mega expensive but the alternative is doing without it – not a happening thing! He emailed JJ Moon to find out where they were and we got a reply saying they were going to Hiva Oa before coming here and that they hadn’t realized that Y Not and us were coming straight here, likewise neither Y Not nor ourselves realized that JJ Moon was going somewhere different, hopefully we will catch up again along the way. As soon as it got near to 14.00hrs we gathered together our documentation, the laundry bags and our trash, put it all into the dink and took of for the dock. Once tied up we quickly found the yacht services store where we dropped off the laundry – it wouldn’t be back until Monday as tomorrow is Bastille day, a public holiday and of course nothing is open on Sunday. We enquired about the festivities and learnt that a dance festival was occurring that evening and the following evening but little else seemed to be planned for holiday. We found the place to deposit our trash and then began to walk towards the Gendarmerie to check in. We got half way there when we met some other yachties walking back down the hill; they told us that we would have to get our “bond” sorted out at the bank before seeing the Gendarmes and pointed us in the direction of the bank where we could get the bond sorted out. The bond issue is a little ridiculous – anyone with an EC passport doesn’t have to pay the bond, which meant that I didn’t have to but Gerry had to post bond equivalent to the airfare back to the country of his passport, it turned out to be AU$1286, around US $800! Thank goodness we only had to post bond for one of us; this bond is refundable when we leave the French Polynesian Islands, which will be from Bora Bora we think. To add insult to injury there is a bank fee of AU$38 for depositing this bond which is not refundable! Once we had gotten the bits of paper for the bond deposit we trudged back up the hill to the Gendarmerie to check in. The officer there was young, pleasant and very patient with our broken French and we soon had all the formalities completed. Back down the hill to the dock we went and we were dismayed to find that our dinghy had been raided whilst we were gone and our box of chain for the little dinghy stern anchor had been stolen. There was a piece of fishing line tied to the ring where we were tied up and I hauled this in, at the end of it was our chain container but no chain, Gerry was more than cross and threw the container onto the dock and then took off back out to the boat, by now it was 15.30hrs and we were tired again, the sleep pattern needs adjusting! We had been told that there was a happy hour at 16.30hs at Roses – where ever that was and everyone would see us there; it wasn’t a happening thing, we couldn’t be bothered to make the trek and just relaxed on the boat until dinner time. We went back ashore for dinner and as we tied up at the dock I noticed a chain under the water tap near to the dock – it was our chain complete with the shackle attached! Needless to say it was relocated to our dinghy, but the container had vanished, still it was better to have the chain than the container. We ate at the closest restaurant to the dock which was still a fair distance away; the food was good if a little expensive. Our waitress told us that the dancing began at 19.00hrs in the hall just along the road and as soon as we had finished eating we walked the short distance to the hall where the locals were gathering. A small fee applied to enter the hall and we bought a drink and sat waiting for the dancing to begin. True to Island culture it didn’t start on time, it was about ¾ hr late but we were thoroughly entertained by the dancers and their musical accompaniment. In all we probably had 2 hours worth of tradition
al dance and song and although we were tired and flagging badly we enjoyed it no end. We took several photos and video clips which really don’t do justice to the event but it was as good as we could manage in the hall. Once the dancing had finished we made our way back to the dock to find that the tide had gone out and it was now a 10 foot drop to the dinghy. There were several other people there trying to get into their dinghies too and in the end Gerry had to step through about 10 dinghies to get to ours and then he drove it around to the end of the trailer slip for me to get into it. We made it back to our boat in record time and were soon in bed catching up with the lost sleep.



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