Was it the loud pounding of the surf as it crashed ashore last night that has us on edge? Whatever the reason, we decide on the spur of the moment to accompany Wylie E. Coyote around to a bay on the north coast of Nuku Hiva. We really have just arrived, but here we are again, heading out of the bay we were so recently so glad to achieve. We have a case of restless, move-on-itis.
We pass the Baie du Controleur where Herman Melville based his book Typee, round the corner and motor sail slowly through sloppy seas that reflect off the most spectacular coast we have seen yet. The Marquesas are high, recently formed volcanic islands with little coral reefs attached to the rims of bays. The steep mountainsides are coated in a low green vegetation from which volcanic necks stick up like Easter Island statues and fairy castles. Fine spiky mountains of improbable shapes reach high up toward the clouds. Our eyes are so focused on high that we forget to notice that Anne has a fish on the line until we finally round the north cape and approach Anaho Bay in the evening light. This is even more spectacular in the warm light that casts such dramatic shadows– an amphitheater of pleated, buttressed cliffs complete with coconut palms and white coral beaches. Just in time we notice the tight fishing line, haul in a twenty pound yellow fin tuna, wack it with the yacht club (wooden) and drop anchor behind a headland.
Jim paddles over to share our fish supper. He brings cold drinking water from his fridge which is very welcome in the humid tropic air. Over supper the conversation comes round to the herd of goats we saw on the way into the bay. He has a hunting bow, as do we, and is hot to live off the land. I`m not enthusiastic, we used to keep goats for many years when our children were little and we had a normal love / hate relationship with them, but really, the thought of anymore killing in this paradise does not appeal. We give Jim the tuna to take home to his freezer as he leaves and soon after hear a tap, tap, on the hull. In the dark, there is Jim back again, holding up the glowing tuna. We had been talking of the effect of the French nuclear tests on these islands earlier and now just look at this fish! After pausing for effect as long as possible, we say that it is normal bioluminescence in the flesh and not strontium 90.
Despite the reminder that the nasty bits of civilization can reach even to these isolated islands, we settle down for the night, well pleased that we have found this quintessential south seas anchorage.
April 23.AM. Bright and early, we rowed ashore and pulled Edith well up on the beach. We asked a local girl about picking wild fruit. She pointed to the beach trail so we walked along through coconut palms, breadfruit, mango, lemon, and orange trees, as well as all sorts of vegetation for which we had no names. On one side, a white sand beach with black lava rocks and gentle surf, on the other, the palm covered hillside rising up to the foot of the mountains. After the ocean crossing, we are ravenous for fruit so we filled our rucksacks. We dragged Edith back down the beach and rowed back out through the coral reef and home to Shiriri.
PM. Haircuts and showers. Moonlighter arrived. Pot luck supper on their boat (our tuna). Flyer will arrive tomorrow.
Gusty winds and rain squalls overnight.
April25. A gusty night. A little unsettling with a coral reef under our lee. Too hot to leave the hatches and scuttles closed, so when it rained on my face it was time to close up, wait `til the downpour stopped, open up, back to sleep, and again and again.....
This morning I did boat things - fixed John Henry, re-rigged a nylon snubber to stop the anchor chain grinding against the bobstay. Anne and I did a bottom scrub with the long pole and brush.
Anne and Heather did a tentative time line to New Zealand. It tells us that we need to keep moving.
Maybe Sawleeah is headed this way!
April 26.Anne and I had another go at scrubbing the bottom; Anne doing the in-water stuff and I with the pole brush. Together we have it pretty clean (until Tahiti?)
H. Did a wash with the fresh water I bailed from Edith. Jim from Moonlighter came along and took Anne and I ashore across the coral reef in his dinghy- a mango raid. We found a nice mango tree, Jim pulled out his mango lacrosse stick while I cut a long sapling and lashed them together. Soon with Jim up the tree snagging the fruit, our packs were full (future jam and preserves)
A pizza party is planned for tonight so Heather and Anne are going through our flour supplies. Anne will make the crust for W. Coyote, 30 Something (just arrived, 36 days from Mexico) and for Sawleeah if they arrive on time.
Sawleeah did arrive and we had a great party aboard Moonlighter who has the most room.