Capsizing, Manta Rays, Sharks and Sickness
07 April 2012 | Tahuata, Marquesas Islands
I know Heather only posted a blog a couple of days ago, but it's been an action-packed few days! If you caught our last blog, you will know we were at anchor in Fatu Hiva having just walked up to the waterfall and had a lovely dip in the splash-pool there. A few hours later, David and Caroline from Peat Smoke came over for sun-downers before we made our way in their dinghy for our dinner date with the local family...
It seems the family the other World Arc-ers had dinner with was busy that night, so we ended up at someone else's place for dinner. Unlike the stories we'd heard of Simon, the excellent host Zoe and 12 Moons had, the head of this family was the local police chief, and a fairly humourless bloke he seemed too. The food was excellent though (mostly local specialities) so we had a great night, with Peat Smoke stopping at matilda for a night cap by moonlight on the way home.
Unfortunately we almost didn't make it to dinner at all. We were all 4 of us in Peat Smoke's dinghy, and as we arrived at the concrete pier in town I got out and held the bow line. The last person left on the starboard side of the dinghy made a move towards the pier, on the port side which left all three in the small dinghy on the port side before it capsized and the dinghy was upside down. With Caroline, Heather and David swimming for shore and the dinghy turned turtle, all I could do was pull the dinghy towards the beach by the line and try not to laugh too much. The dinghy engine has suffered a bit, but everyone was fine and dried out slowly over dinner. After our little dowsing we were pleased to see the police chief had driven down to the port to see where we were. We mistakenly took this for concern for our well-being, rather than annoyance at our lateness (we were only slightly late as a result of the dinghy capsize). When he found us he refused to give us a lift back to his place, even in the tray on the back of his ute! He just said "cést interdit!" - I guess he hasn't quite got the idea of hospitality when you have paying guests around for dinner at your house... Luckily they had another guest there from the Tuamotus (a guy called Peter), who was charming and walked us back down to help us back into our dinghy and see us off home.
Another unfortunate side-effect of our dinner in Fatu Hiva was the sickness Caroline and Heather are now suffering with. During the night about 24 hours after we finished the dinner, when we were already at anchor on another island, Heather became very ill with vomiting and diarrhea. It has been quite nasty, and I found out yesterday Caroline had been suffering with exactly the same symptoms at the same time. We couldn't figure out the cause until David came up with the idea of the ice - Heather and Caroline were the only ones to have ice with their drinks. I'm not sure where the ice came from, but it can't have been fresh drinking water. It has been a couple of days now and Heather has only just managed to eat some breakfast today, although she has crashed out again straight away. She seems to be getting much better today though, which is the main thing.
Yesterday while Heather was convalescing, I was snokelling with David scraping the barnacles off Peat Smoke's hull. I saw more wildlife doing that than I have on may dives I've paid for in the past! We saw loads of fish of course, but the highlight was the three large sharks which were obviously curious about the smell of crushed barnacles in the water and the odd scraping noise we were making. They each hovered around a little while until they decided there was nothing of any real interest and then took off. The biggest one was probably about my size, and the other two were slightly smaller. Earlier that morning I had also seen a couple of Manta Rays, which were swimming with the occupants of a neighboring boat at anchor, Pacific Bliss. It's amazing how curious these sea creatures can be.
I'd better trundle off and start preparing for our overnight sail tonight Nuku Hiva. We will stop there to see the third-tallest waterfall in the world. We will also refuel and re-water on Monday morning. Hopefully we can start out for the Tuamotu Island chain on Tuesday; a passage which should take 4 or 5 days depending on winds. Nuku Hiva has internet access, so perhaps we can start uploading some of our photos to our Sailblogs Gallery too...