Saturday, August 9, 2008

Shiriri Saga #41.Paradise ain`t Paradise.

Finding Shiriri in the crowded anchorage.

Several days go by as we lie at anchor again in Taiohae Bay. Heather gets some cortisone cream at the hospital for her itchy rash. Turns out that the deet in the bug lotion we lathered ourselves with in the noe noe inhabited bays at the north of the island reacted on Heather. It will take a few days for her to recover so we settle in to boat maintenance, trips ashore, visits with other yachts and generally finally take the break we really need.

Out on the bowsprit fixing the forestays`l.

We become aware that the cruising life is not all sweetness and light- we know that of course, first hand, but now we see and hear of interpersonal conflicts, of crews jumping ship or being chased off. The long passage that all the yachts have recently completed have either bonded people together or split them apart in the stressful, insular world of a sailboat, bouncing and splashing for weeks on end. Everyone can present a nice face to the world for a while when things are calm and predictable but lack of sleep, fear and close quarters can cause problems. We all need to seize the opportunity now to go off in separate directions , make new friends and find some solitude while we are in harbour.

We are invited aboard a fancy mega-yacht, for drinks one evening by the youthful crew and begin to appreciate the upper crust of ocean cruising. We are cautioned to keep our fingers off the stainless steel rails as we scramble aboard as the crew spends all it`s time polishing while waiting for the owner or his friends to fly in for a quick holiday. Gin and tonics, rosewood paneling, a fireplace: sooo different a lifestyle. Soon, off they will sail to the next prime locale a thousand miles away. Anne arranges a few days work with them to top up her cruising kitty. On the way home in the dark we row through a forest of masts twinkling their anchor lights and are glad we brought a flashlight with which to spot plain old Shiriri.

Heather`s hair cutting skills are in high demand among our friends while her itches finally respond to the cream. The rest of the crew carry water and fuel in several trips from shore which is always exciting in the surging waves. In company with Flyer we leave Taiohae Bay for the last time and sail around to a bay on the south-west end of Nuku Hiva; Daniel`s Bay. Here we met Daniel and Jean living in their simple little house on the beach. The noe noes are fierce and kept at bay by smudge fires. Such an idyllic south sea scene in photographs, not so splendid in real life when age, illness and isolation also live among the palms.(as Gauguin himself found) We hear later that this little bay was taken over for a Survivor TV series: the place was sprayed to get rid of the bugs and Daniel and Jean got a new house somewhere else. Now that is progress for this lovely little bay, from survivors in nature to survivors in an artificial reality tv society.

Next morning, I rig up the storm trysail so it can be hoisted on the mainmast to give some drive from the stern of the boat for upwind work when it`s too windy for the mainsail. If we had that set up when we approached Hiva Oa we would have made it around the point. Out we go through the splashy waves at the entrance and set course for the Tuamotu Islands further down the trade wind path.

Back out the entrance to Taiohae Bay and turn right for Daniel`s Bay.

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