Hakahetau, Ua Pou, Marquesas
From Taiohae, Nuku Hiva to Hakahetau, Ua Pou we enjoy a fast sail and only take 5 hours for the 26 miles including ancor up and down again. Right away our friends from the Acapella inform us about the bbq for the sailors one hour later on the pier.
There is a completely new pier that allows good landing with the dinghy even though the swell is high. We are happy to meet our friends as well as get to know the other boats in the anchorage. Instead of a bbq Martin, Cecile and Aurore serve us a buffet of local food from “poisson cru”, chicken and cooked thuna with breadfruit, rice and spaghetti and the food is very tasty and enough for everyone.
Just after dinner we have to split up in men and women and each group has to train a dance. Afterwards we have to show what we learned: the men are performing the “pig dance” and the women the “bird dance” and we all have a lot of fun performing as well as watching.
After this successful activity the price for the dinner is lifted up from 500 to 750 per person, but since it was good and we had a lot of fun no one complains.
Then they sit down with guitar and ukulele and we hear some nice polynesian ballads. Even Reto gets his guitar from the boat and joins in.
The next day we walk in the direction of the waterfall and to visit Manfred the chocolate man. Because we don’t find the waterfall right away we first go to see Manfred, and on the way back we prefer to skip the waterfall in order to get the chocolate into the fridge as fast as possible.
Manni tells us the story of his life while we have to look at the pictures and news paper articles, taste the nuts, the cookies, learn how to make self defense and finally taste the chocolate. This one is really good and really worth hiking up there even though the moskitoes are incredibly nasty! In the end we have a look at the energy supply systems and admire the self made water generator.
Early on Saturday morning we take out our bycicles and go over to Hakahau, the main village of Ua Pou. On the way over we are lucky to have a dark cloudy sky but do not get wet at all, then the sun comes out and we have beautiful views of the green island. The road is excellent for mountain bikes and after a short up and down we have to mount the almost 300 m from the airport to above Hakahau. Only 3 yachts are in the ancorage which is quite shaky as we had supposed.
The village is busy on a Saturday morning, everywhere groups of children collecting garbage and doing activities in the nature like planting a tree or decoration the virgin Mary with flowers.
While Reto is checking our mails next to the post office I organize some food from the barbeque. I understand that it is chicken and veal, but just after eating I realize by the consistency that it was the heart of the veal..
Afterwards we have to get up that hill again, this time in the heat of the midday sun. Back home we drain a few liters of cold drinks and have a jump into the refreshing water…
On Sunday morning we have planned to visit Yvonne in her house on top of the hill. We had met her the day before and she invited us to visit to have a look at the hats she produces and get some lemons from her trees.
Unfortunately it is pouring like never before, but after a while we decide to go anyway. We get to the corner above the harbor where Yvonne’s niece Marie is living when it really starts to pour.
We get some rain shelter and chat with Marie, who gives us some mangos and bananas. Too soon we decide to continue, the next pour makes us completely wet…
Dripping we arrive at Yvonne’s house who is smart enough to let us sit down in the outside kitchen. She offers us lunch and afterwards tells us that many of her electical devices don’t work anymore. Of course Reto has a look at micro wave, fridge, sewing machine and coconut grater and manages to get the fridge and the grater working again.
In the meantime I start to freeze, outside it is still raining and my clothes just don’t dry…
When the rain stops we pick a bag of pampelmouses and get chilis and a bottle of traditional medicine. We almost forget to have look at the hats that she produces and immediately spot a great hat for Reto that we can buy from her. Then her niece brings us back down to the pier, so we don’t have to carry everything.
Because of all the rain the time is running too quickly, we still have to get internet at Pierro’s in order to get the weather and post the blog and also pick up the fruit we ordered from Alfons.
Passing by Alfons we see a lot of people having a party and decide to come later when it is more quite. When we arrive there 2 hours later he says very disappointed “But why do you come so late! Do you want to eat?” Only then we remember that he had said something about a surprise for us and we realize that we should have joined the party…
From the Marquesas to the Tuamotus
On Moday morning we get up at 4 am and lift the anchor with the first sunlight an hour later. Thanks to 15 to 20 knots of wind from the east we seam to almost fly with 8 to 10 knots of spead.
We already start to dream if we can make it to arrive already after 2 instead of 3 days, then the wind completely stops and we have to use the engine for 17 hours…
Then the wind picks up again and in the end we have to slow down a bit in order to be at the pass of Raroia at the right time.
It is our first pass, therefore we treally try to go trough around slack water. We are there a bit early, but since the water seams more or less calm Reto goes for it. While I am going into the “outlook position” he stears our She San through the pass and encounters 2 knots of current going with us.
With the help of the two markers making the leading line it is really easy to find the right way into the atoll and also the way to the village is well marked with beacons.
The ancorage is completely open to the east, but the winds are not so strong, so we feel alright. For dinner we are invited by our friends from the Pandora. We enjoy Indian chicken and the good company and have a bit too much rum…
The following day we explore the village of Raroia. On arrival at the pier Laris welcomes us and gives us the first information about the village. There are 300 inhabitants, 4 cars and many bicycles, the mayor is a lady and there a two stores and on Fridays they play music next to one of them.
We walk once through the whole village and once again we are pleasantly surprised how clean everything is. There are garbage containers in front of every house. Also every household has their own installation of solar panels and rain water collection. Even all the street lights are equipped with a solar unit and batterie.
We visit the pearl farm and curiously watch how all the steps are done. Polynesian music is coming out of the radio and everybody is in a good mood.
In the store “magazin” we get to know Vaea and buy an ice cold Hinano from her, what a treat after our walk in the heat! When there are no other customers Vaea has time to chat with us. We sit in front of the store and get some more information about herself and the islands.
Next station is the store “magazin” of Regis, where the drumming session is right at the beach. A bit later we have the possibility to taste a coconut crab. We find it is close to lobster and definitely like it.
From Raroia to Makemo
Together with the Pandora we go on in a short overnight passage to Makemo.
70 miles in 29 hours should be easily feasible, we think. There are almost no waves and just enough wind, so we move and only have to take the engine for the last hour because we want to be at slack water at the pass. The passage of the pass is again very easy, we have the right moment and only a maximum of 2 knots of current against us.
The incredibly clear water makes us immediately jump in with mask and snorkel. We explore the surroundings of the harbour, find a small reef with many small fish and even a wreck.
Afterwards we explore the village which is quite a bit larger than Raroia. The people are also friendly, but all in all a bit more reserved than in Raroia.
There are 3 shops and a bakery. In the largest shop we find a big bag of carrots from New Zealand. Even though the price of 540 Polyn. France (approx. 5 USD ) per kg makes me swallow I happily stock up another 1.5 kg of carrots.
We learn that the other fresh vegetable supply is not arriving with the two commercial cargo ships that just have been deloaded at the pier next to our boat but once per week on Thursday afternoon with the air plane. At least that is what we are told…
On Thursday afternoon we walk to the store, exited and equipped with two backpacks and some spare bags.
But then, what is this? A really funny atmosphere is in town, like on a holiday? Well, what could it be, we ask ourselves the question. Then I ask one of the locals who affirms to me that it is “Assuntion”, so today the stores are closed and no vegetables arrived by plane…
Here in Makemo we do our first drift snorkels in the pass. We seem to be going at the right time, there are another 4 dinghies on their way to the pass. We just have to follow them in order to know where we have to enter the water.
Once inside the water off it goes, the current is so strong that it really feels like flying. Also it doesn’t take long before the first black tipped reef shark appears but luckily it doesn’t seem to be interested in us. After 10 minutes at the end of the pass we get back into the dinghy and go back to the beginning to do it over again.
Then the weather forecast tells us that the winds are going to pick up and become 20 knots and more. Since the Makemo village anchorage is also very open to the east, we have to find a better protection.
We choose Tahanea where we go in another slow overnight sail in order to be there in the morning. The pass this time is quite agitated, it really feels like in a washing machine.
Tahanea is a good place to snorkel as well we do both of the smaller passes and really like it. On the westen pass we see,in addition to the sharks also a huge Manta ray just below us, we are impressed. On the eastern pass we enjoy the coral and loads of fish and also some sharks.
In a day turn we head up the 40 miles to Faaite where we anchor outside the reef in coral instead of sand as it was written in our guide. Since we are already there we profit in order to do a nice accumulation dive, since it has been a while that we did our last dives in Bonaire.
Celebrating birthdays in Fakarava South
On Friday morning we move another 12 miles over to Fakarava south, since we have heard from the Acapella that there will be life music this evening. Good coincidence, since I am having my birthday 😉
We really enjoy the great music “Kahoui and the cruisers” and would like to thank Steve, Larry and Martin for the fantastic evening.
Then of course we have to also snorkel the pass of Fakarava, which is THE snorkel and dive spot in the Tuamotus and even protected as a world heritage site.
A few days later it is the birthday of Hanni from the Jonas and we celebrate on board of the Jonas.
On board of the She San the same day Steve gives Jacob and Reto a first training session. Now the music is running constantly and Reto is practicing that the fingers are just about to get blisters…