16 April 2009 | Marquesas
This is a wonderful place!
We are anchored in Baie Hanamoenoa on Tahuata, a bay that renowned sailor Eric Hiscock rated as one of the three most beautiful in Polynesia. The islands here have dramatic mountains, cliffs and valleys on the scale of a national park. The mountains drop into a steep valley that forms the head of the bay we are in. There is a lush jungle of palms at the edge of the soft white sand beach and crystal clear water. We are anchored in about 20 feet of 85 degree water and can sit and watch tropical fish swimming in the coral below us.
We have been decompressing after the passage and not that interested in moving at all. We left the main anchorage on Hiva Oa and sailed about 5 miles to this island and have been anchored here for the last three days. It is unbelievably nice to be stopped.
There are four boats here with kids and one of the fleet moms organized a great bon fire on the beach two nights ago. Last night, fresh banana, coconut and run drinks were being served on a friend's boat. Amazingly, of the 15 people on board, we were the only Americans (collective sailing experience included 6 circumnavigations and two first place finishes in the Whitbread round the world race - it was a very interesting group).
It is not perfect of course, I could mention that the heat is driving Mary nuts and it is almost too hot to cook in the boat, the beaches have more than their fair share of bugs, and getting the kids to start doing school again has been as traumatic as the worst days in Mexico. I have spent the last day cleaning the weird tropical growth that accumulated on the hull during the passage, and the real issue - we have not found anywhere that sells ice.
Today, we got up early to snorkel with the large manta rays that enter the bay, spent the mid day snorkeling around the boat and saw a large ray and a mid sized octopus perfectly camouflaged under the coral, and the kids had an epic monopoly game with three kids from another boat. The game was in Dutch, currency was Euros, and Boardwalk properties started at 4,000,000 Euros. Times have changed.