The Waiting Game
08 May 2013 | Ua Pou
We are now anchored at the island of Ua Pou (pronounced Oo-ah Pow). Our purpose here? Staging for the crossing to the Tuamotus islands. Ua Pou is one of the closest Marquasan islands to the Tuamotu island chain and although it is only 25 miles closer, it is, well... closer. We will only have 475 miles to sail rather than 500. Ua Pou is also pretty cool. At first, when we thought the pronunciation was Wah Poo (Whoo hoo!), the name lended itself to several bad Junior High poo jokes. Luckily we discovered the correct pronunciation (Oo-ah Pow - Wow!) and the poo puns didn't last. What this island really has is some serious material for penis jokes. Whaaaat? Well, look at the opening photo! Fatu Hiva has nothing on these guys in the pointy pinnacle department.
Ua Pou has the most dramatic remnant volcanic necks I've ever seen and all on the scale of Wyoming's Devils Tower. The tallest peak is over 4,000 feet in elevation. Typically, these tall peaks are shrouded in clouds. Upon our approach to the island, Mother Nature playfully lifted her skirts and showed us all she had been hiding. Or riding, or - oh forget it.
Perhaps it's Father Nature in charge here on Ua Pou, but whatever, the effects of Orographic Lift were suspended for a brief moment as we approached the island, allowing us to snap the opening photo for this post. For most of our time here, however, the upper peaks have been shrouded in clouds with only brief moments of clearing.
The only real problem with Ua Pou is that for the moment the wind is all poo between here and the Tuamotu islands - which is where we want to sail to next. If the winds were blowing, we would have left for the Tuamotus several days ago as we are all provisioned up with fuel and food for the crossing. We're ready to go! We've had a great sailing tour here in the Marquesas but it's time to experience some South Pacific atolls. Unfortunately, we now face the possibility of the cruising sailors' nightmare: having to get somewhere in time to meet up with friends who are flying in.
Cindy and Dennis Peterson (who came to Baja last year and helped us cross the Sea of Cortez to Mazatlan) are flying into the Tuamotu island of Fakarava on May 17th to meet us and help us sail on to Tahiti. At the same time, Erlin will be catching the plane to Papeete for his flight home to Seattle via Hawaii.
Theoretically, sailing to Fakarava in a timely fashion should be easy. Given decent winds, the crossing from the Marquesas to the Tuamotus should take less than 4 days. Even if we leave Ua Pou as late as the 12th, we should be quite timely - assuming good wind. At the moment, forecasts show no real wind until the 10th. To us, that's cutting it rather fine, but it still works. We're just very thankful that when we put our sailing schedule together six months ago, we built in time for possible weather delays. Turns out it was - and always is - a good idea to build some "weather days". Even in the South Pacific.