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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Hakahau, Ua Poa - Day 16 - 19

Hakahau, Ua Poa
Day 16 - 19

Very, very lumpy passage from the island of Tahuata to the island of Ua Poa (Wa-Poo). Weather forecast predicted 15 knots from the east/southeast, but it was more like 23 gusty knots not exactly downwind, with waves hitting us on the starboard quarter stern. We're not the only ones who don't prefer this point of sail – the auto pilot complains and tries to drag the bow upwind.

We had the fishing pole out, although not great sea conditions to be fishing. (What can I say? We're desperate. Our friends are catching tuna, marlin & wahoo. We're a little pea-green with envy.) I checked the line now and again to make sure our feather wasn't fouled and noticed we were dragging something – a bird, perhaps? Jim reeled it in.. Low and Behold! We caught a fish! We have no idea how long we drug the poor creature behind before noticing. But we caught a fish! Mind you, it was so small he didn't even get the clicker clicking. We would have thrown him back if he hadn't expired as we were getting him off the hook. Nothing to do but steak him out. We caught a fish!

It was a 2' Skipjack Tuna (the same variety but smaller as what got away from us on our Pacific crossing), brilliant purple and sapphire glowing colors on his topside, 5-6 black horizontal stripes on his silver belly. Our fish bible (Vic Dunaway's Sport Fish of the Pacific) says it is dark meat and "not appealing to many", but we observed the meat to be similar to the Yellowfin Tuna we bought recently – just slightly denser – so we tried it for dinner. Carolyne made up a fantastic sauce and we gently sauteed him in garlic and butter. He was delish!

The volcanic spires upon entering the anchorage of Hakahau are Jurassic Park-like – large, thick spikes pointing skyward from the deeply creviced green hillsides. There is a beautiful, yet spooky quality to them as slow moving hover clouds mask the tip-tops and then drift to reveal them again. The anchorage is bow and stern. Mostly French and Swiss boats here and one Dutchman, we noticed. Plenty of room.

A local Frenchman we encountered named Xavier took us on a tour of the island. The terrain is very similar to Hiva Oa – lush, green, thick foliage, lovely flowers, plentiful fruit... with the exception that every coconut we found on the ground had a hole in it... coconut rats! And here, to get baguettes you must order them a day in advance – otherwise, you are likely to miss out.

There was a strange feeling from the locals here – unlike Hiva Oa and Tahuata. I don't think they get many tourists visiting and they lacked the warmth and hospitality we experienced previously. I so wish one of us spoke better French. It made such a huge difference to us in Mexico and Central America to speak the language and I'm feeling a longing to connect with these specific Marquesans.

I take a day to trudge the jib up to a nearby covered gazebo where I can make some repairs to it. There is no electricity to hook up the sewing machine, but I need to replace the UV panel that was ruined during our crossing from Mexico and there is some terrible flutter at the leech at the top that needs to be addressed... in this gazebo there is plenty of room to spread out the sail – I can use the machine on the boat once I get everything else ready to stitch and secured in place. A man shows up and we begin a limited conversation – his English not very good and my French worse. He introduces himself as Tino and leaves in his truck. About 2 hours later he returns with bags of fruit he went home and picked for me. Pamplemousse, oranges and ripe bananas! What a sweet and precious gift! I finish my sail repairs and go home and study my French!

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