Steen Rally

Follow us on our sailing adventure from France to Australia

30 December 2015 | Sydney
29 July 2015 | Sydney
15 January 2015 | Sydney
22 December 2014 | Sydney
21 November 2014 | Cairns, Australia
02 November 2014 | Cairns, Australia
21 October 2014 | Port Vila, Vanuatu
01 October 2014 | Fiji
20 September 2014 | Fiji
08 September 2014 | Fiji
24 July 2014 | Neiafu, Tonga
06 July 2014 | Tahaa. French Polynesia
23 June 2014 | Moorea
23 June 2014 | Moorea
15 June 2014 | Papeete, Tahiti
14 May 2014 | Marquesas, French Polynesia

French Polynesia, Marquesas - Part 2

23 June 2014 | Moorea
Voahangy
French Polynesia, Marquesas – May 7 to 19, 2014

Part 2: Catching up with the world and birthday fun in Nuku Iva

Back to civilisation, to Nuku Hiva and the village of Taiohae, officially the capital of the Marquesas. It is a big word, considering the size of the settlement, but being the administrative center makes it the most populous town of the islands. This is where we checked in with the gendarmes (who merely grant you a laissez passer, allowing you to travel thru French Polynesia until you make your formal entry in Tahiti).

Having previously visited the island in 2008, we didn’t feel the urge to explore the valleys and archaeological sites (which there are plenty of). This time we decided to settle down for a week and spend time in the village itself, no doubt the result of being cut off from the rest of the world for 3 weeks. You would think we would have plenty of opportunities to play tourists and check out the arts and crafts gallery, but in reality we spent most of our days catching up with internet at the local snack bar, VAEIKI. With no yacht club or harbourmaster office, this is where most yachties hang out. Owner Henri and his daughter-in-law Marielle are wonderful hosts, who in true Marquesan style welcome all cruisers to sit down under the tent and use their WIFI facilities. They open from 5am till late, you are encouraged to order a coffee, homemade juice or even a meal but there is no pressure to do so. In our case we ended up eating there nearly every day, unable to resist Marielle’s Marquesan crepes for breakfast, poisson cru for lunch, doughnuts for afternoon tea, and steak frites for dinner! We also bought eggs and fruits from them which they ordered for us as a service to the yachties. Why is it a big deal you ask? Because the local fresh market opens at 6.00am every day, even at 4.30am on Saturday which is the best day when all the “people from the valley” come down to provision and if you show up too late (i.e. 8.00am) there is nothing left except for bananas and grapefruits). Henri will order fresh fruits and vegies for you and hold your order all day if he has to!

Which brings me to the subject of shopping and the cost of living. French Polynesia is expensive. Beside some locally grown fruits and vegetables, everything is brought in, by the Aranui 3, a mixed cargo ship that visits every fortnight and brings supplies and passengers from Tahiti, 1500 klm away, and beyond. Allowing for freight and taxes, you can expect to pay nearly 3 times more than US or Australian prices. Interestingly, going thru my old notes, prices have remained stagnant in the past 6 years. But that’s little comfort when we’ve been used to live cheaply in Latin America for over a year! 50 cents Colombian beers and $15 bottles of tequila are now distant memories, making us regret not to have stocked up more in Panama. I keep reminding Terry though, that both our credit card and our bilges were stretched to their limits, and it is now a matter of “making do” with what we have. Easy for me, he says, as I still have plenty of wine; in his case the beer ran out shortly after our arrival in Fatu Hiva! So we have reluctantly become regular customers of the hardware store ($50 spent on stainless steel nuts and bolts to repair the main sail!) and the 2 Chinese-run grocery stores, one selling local items like beer, fresh bread and tapioca flour, while the other specialises in more gourmet imported goods such as Haagen Dazs ice-cream and organic quinoa! Taiohae is also the home of Nuku Hiva yachts Services, run by American Kevin and his partner Annabelle. He will act as clearing agent, organise gas bottle refill, tax-free exemption, laundry, sail or electrical repairs…for a fee of course. We certainly used his local knowledge, as we limped into the anchorage with battered sails and a sick outboard.

As I mentioned, internet has been a priority: over 3 weeks of school work to upload, emails to download, it quickly became an addiction and used as an incentive for Marc and Anne to complete school. Adding to the busyness of it all, was Anne’s 11th birthday celebration, spent with REMI DE and our newly acquired friends from DAFNE, FIELD TRIPS and CAMINANTE: tube riding in the bay, lunch and play at the snack VAIEKI in town, cakes and drinks onboard…exhausting but fun! Imagine the disappointment if we were still out to sea!

Talking about disappointment, Mother’s day was a fizzer. No, the kids didn’t forget, on the contrary: they let me sleep in and Marc cooked a wonderful frittata for brunch. What we didn’t plan on was the visit of French Customs who obviously work on Sunday and showed up as we sat down to eat. Marc did offer them a taste of frittata, but they politely declined. We were asked to complete a customs declaration (a new one, as we already completed the formalities at the gendarmerie) then told they would search the master cabin. It was certainly a strange feeling to watch 3 officers putting gloves on and search thru drawers of lingerie and socks, feeling cabinet linings, even looking behind the toilet. They were on a mission, and not just with us, but the whole anchorage, as we found out later on that nearly all the foreign boats in Taiohae bay were boarded in the period of 3 days. Then it rained, a 4 meter swell came into the bay making the anchorage untenable, most of our friends left for Anaho Bay on the northern side of the island so we decided to join them.

Anaho is just as I remembered it 6 years ago: only accessible by boat or a 90 minute steep track from the village of Haitaheu, it is set in the most beautiful wild surroundings, offering hikes among mango trees and frangipanis, a wide sandy beach for the kids to play on and friendly locals letting us light a bonfire in their backyard. Even though the wind blew for 3 straight days, the anchorage was flat and sheltered enough for the crews of our 5 boats to wander backwards and forwards. Indeed we have found ourselves a nice group of family boats, each with its own specialty: water sports on REMI DE, board games on DAFNE, science experiments on CAMINANTE, music on MOANA ROA and loads of space on VOAHANGY where sundowners regularly occur! Since we’re all following the same itinerary, though at a different pace, it is easy to imagine that we’ll travel together for a while. As we’ve stuck together since Fatu Hiva, the hardest thing will be to extract ourselves from the group dynamic to keep up with our schedule. This we did on May 19, as we were the first to leave for the Tuamotus, expecting to be joined by the rest of the gang a week later.

2eme Partie: reconnexion avec le monde et une fête d’anniversaire à Nuku Hiva



De retour à la civilisation au village de Taiohae, la capitale officielle des Marquises, sur l’ile de Nuku Hiva. C’est un bien grand mot vu la taille du lieu, mais étant le centre administratif en fait l’ile la plus peuplée de tout l'archipel. C’est ici que nous avons fait notre entrée officielle avec les gendarmes (qui nous accordent un simple laissez-passer, nous autorisant à voyager dans la Polynésie Française en attendant d’effectuer les formalités à Tahiti).

Comme nous sommes déjà venus en 2008, on n’a pas éprouvé le besoin pressant d’explorer les vallées et les sites archéologiques (qui sont nombreux !) Non, cette fois nous avons décidé de nous poser pour une semaine et rester dans le village. Une réaction sans doute provoquée par notre isolement en mer pendant 3 semaines. On pensait avoir plein d’occasions de jouer aux touristes et flâner dans les galeries d’artisanat, mais en réalité nous avons passé la majorité de nos journées à faire de l’internet au snack bar local VAEIKI. En l’absence d’un yacht club ou d’une capitainerie, c’est l’endroit où se retrouvent tous les yachties. Le propriétaire Henri et sa belle-fille Marielle sont des hôtes fantastiques, qui d’une façon typiquement marquisienne accueillent tous les plaisanciers à bras ouverts sous leur tente, offrant le WIFI gratuitement. Ouverts de 5h du matin jusqu’à tard dans la nuit, ils encouragent leurs clients à commander un café, un jus fait maison ou même un plat, mais sans aucune pression. Dans notre cas, nous avons fini par y manger presque tous les jours, incapables de résister aux crêpes marquisiennes de Marielle pour le petit déjeuner, son poisson cru le midi, ses beignets pour le gouter et les steak frites au diner ! Nous en avons aussi profité pour acheter des œufs et des fruits qu’ils commandent pour rendre service aux voiliers. Pourquoi est-ce si important, je vous entends demander ? Parce que le marché local ouvre à 6h tous les matins, même à 4h30 le samedi qui est le plus grand jour quand les gens des vallées viennent se ravitailler en ville et si on se pointe trop tard (c’est-à-dire a 8h) il ne reste plus rien sauf des bananes et des pamplemousses. Henri peut prendre votre commande et la garder toute la journée s’il le faut !

Ce qui m’amène au sujet des courses et du cout de la vie. La vie est chère en Polynésie Française. Hormis certains fruits et légumes cultives localement, tout est achemine par l’Aranui 3, un cargo mixte qui vient tous les 15 jours et débarque vivres et passagers en provenance de Tahiti, a 1500 kilomètres, et au-delà. En comptant le fret et les taxes, il faut s’attendre à payer presque 3 fois plus que les prix américains ou australiens. Chose intéressante, en parcourant mes anciennes notes, les prix sont restes les mêmes qu’en 2008. Mais c’est une mince consolation quand on a pris l’habitude de vivre pas cher en Amérique latine pendant 1 an ! Les bières colombiennes à 50 cents et les bouteilles de Tequila à $15 ne sont plus que lointains souvenirs, nous faisant regretter de ne pas avoir fait un plus gros stock à Panama. Ceci dit, je rappelle a Terry qu’a l’époque notre compte bancaire était presque vide, nos cales pleines a ras bord, et il nous faut donc maintenant faire avec ce qu’on a. Facile à dire, qu’il me répond, car j’ai encore plein de vins ; en ce qui le concerne, son stock de bière s’est épuisé a notre arrive à Fatu Hiva ! Nous voilà donc à contrecœur clients réguliers de la quincaillerie ($50 d’écrous et de vis en inox pour réparer la grand-voile) et des 2 magasins chinois, l’un vendant des articles ordinaires comme la bière, du pain ou de la farine de tapioca, l’autre se spécialisant dans des produits plus gourmets tels la glace Haagen Dazs et du quinoa bio ! On trouve aussi à Taiohae, Nuku Hiva yacht Services, géré par Kevin un américain et sa compagne Annabelle. Il officie comme agent pour les formalités, s’occupe des recharges de bouteilles de gaz, la détaxe pour le carburant (si le bateau est de pavillon étranger), la laverie, organise des réparations pour les voiles ou les moteurs…bref, un peu de tout. A un certain prix bien sûr. Nous avons certainement profite de son expertise locale, arrives au mouillage avec une voile en piteux état et un moteur hors-bord malade.

Je l’ai dit, notre priorité a été l’internet : avec plus de 3 semaines de devoirs à renvoyer, des mails à récupérer, …le WIFI est devenu une obsession et une motivation pour Anne et Marc pour qu’ils finissent leurs cours. En plus de toute cette activité, c’était aussi le 11eme anniversaire d’Anne que l’on a célébré en compagnie de REMI DE et nos nouveaux copains sur DAFNE, FIELD TRIP et CAMINANTE : séance de tube riding dans la baie, déjeuner et jeux au snack VAIEKI, gâteaux et apéro dinatoire a bord….épuisant mais fun ! Imaginez le drame que ça aurait été si on était encore en mer !!!

En parlant de drame, le jour de la Fête des Mères fut décevant. Non pas que les enfants ait oublie, bien au contraire : ils m’ont laissé faire la grasse matinée et Marc a cuisine une excellente frittata pour le brunch. Par contre on ne s’attendait pas à la visite des douanes françaises qui de toute évidence travaillent le dimanche et se sont pointées juste au moment où on s’attablait. Marc leur a bien offert un bout de frittata mais ils ont poliment décliné. On nous a demandé de remplir une déclaration de douanes (à nouveau, vu que nous avions déjà fait les formalités avec la gendarmerie) et avise qu’ils allaient visiter la cabine parentale. Je ne vous dis pas la sensation bizarre à la vue de 3 officiers de douanes mettant des gants pour fouiller dans nos tiroirs parmi mes dessous et les chaussettes de Terry, taper les cloisons, même inspecter derrière les toilettes. Que cherchaient-ils ? De l’alcool, de la drogue et des perles. Ils avaient une mission à accomplir, non seulement avec nous, mais aussi le mouillage entier, puisque nous avons découvert plus tard que pendant 3 jours presque tous les bateaux étrangers dans la baie de Taiohae ont été abordés et fouilles. Ensuite il s’est mis à pleuvoir, une houle de 4m a envahi la baie rendant le mouillage intenable, et la plupart de nos amis sont partis pour Anaho sur la côte nord de l’ile. On a donc décidé de les rejoindre.

La baie d’Anaho est telle qu’on s’en souvient il y a 6 ans : accessible uniquement par bateau ou une marche de 1h1/2 par un sentier montagneux depuis le village de Haitaheu, c’est un des endroits les plus magnifiques. Entre les randonnées parmi les manguiers et les frangipaniers, une grande plage de sable pour les enfants, et des habitants sympas qui nous ont laissé faire un feu de camp près de chez eux, que demander de plus ! Malgré le vent qui a souffle pendant 3 jours, le mouillage est reste calme et abrite, permettant aux équipages de faire d’incessants allers retours entre nos 5 bateaux. En fait nous nous sommes trouvés un bon groupe de bateaux familles avec qui naviguer, chacun ayant sa spécialité : sports nautiques sur REMI DE, jeux de société sur DAFNE, expériences scientifiques sur CAMINANTE, musique sur MOANA ROA et grands espaces sur VOAHANGY, ou les apéros se déroulent régulièrement. Comme nous suivons tous le même parcours (à des rythmes différents ceci dit), on aime penser qu’on aura de la compagnie pour un moment. Tous ensemble depuis Fatu Hiva, le plus dur est de s’extraire de la dynamique du groupe pour respecter notre programme. Ce qu’on a finalement fait le 19 mai, quand nous avons été les premiers à partir pour les Tuamotus, nous attendant à être rejoints par les autres une semaine après.

Comments
Vessel Name: VOAHANGY
Vessel Make/Model: Lagoon 560
Hailing Port: Sydney
Crew: Terry, Voahangy, Marc, Anne Steen
About:
Terry, 71, skipper, ex-pilot, surfer, aerobatics champion, can fix anything, never sea sick, loves a beer, hates the cold, is happiest anchored off a deserted beach. [...]
VOAHANGY's Photos - Main
84 Photos
Created 20 November 2014
2 glorious months, cruising various parts of Fiji. So many different experiences in one country: lush rainforests, colourful indian towns, blue lagoons, traditional villages, great fishing, fancy resorts... And the best part was sharing the cruising with family and friends. Can't beat Fiji with company! Here is a collection of our favourite moments (and there are a few!!!)
1 Photo | 8 Sub-Albums
Created 12 October 2014
Some of the whales actions we witnessed in Tonga, to read with the Whales action post by Anne!
7 Photos
Created 1 October 2014
Whale watching, snorkelling, bonfires, making new friends...One of the most remote and austere destination, far away from big tourism, with friendly people holding on to their traditions. Weather a bit chilly, but who cares???
46 Photos
Created 10 September 2014
49 Photos
Created 25 July 2014
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Created 25 July 2014
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Created 30 June 2014
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Created 28 June 2014
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Created 23 June 2014
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Created 15 May 2014
37 Photos
Created 11 May 2014
40 Photos
Created 30 March 2014
1 Photo | 3 Sub-Albums
Created 15 March 2014
The time finally came to leave...a month of celebrations and sadness!
30 Photos
Created 5 March 2014
Another holiday within the holiday! Spent 13 fantastic days in Whistler, British Columbia joined by Aussie friends David and Denise. First time on skis for them, perfecting camps for Marc and Anne, loads of fun for everyone.
70 Photos
Created 8 February 2014
Nothing like having family and friends coming for a visit in the sun. Lots of eating, drinking, swimming, laughing...showing everyone our small paradise.
99 Photos
Created 30 January 2014
End of school year in Puerto, many get togethers before flying off to Paris for a family Christmas.
25 Photos
Created 23 January 2014
Day of the Dead festival, a friend visiting from Australia, Anne participating in her first martial arts tournament,...As usual a lot of eating and socialising!
40 Photos
Created 2 December 2013
68 Photos
Created 6 November 2013
Having visitors means putting on our tour guide hat "Voahangy & Co in Mexico", much exploring and eating: ruins, cenotes, beaches, villages, markets,... . I shared Mexican cooking lessons and was repaid with Dutch baking classes from our French guest. We ate a lot of cakes this month! So much sugar, no candies needed for Halloween this year, just parties...
74 Photos
Created 1 November 2013
This is the slowest month of the year in Mexico: hurricane threats, hot and humid weather, torrential rains drive the tourists away and confine the rest of us indoors. It poured for 22 days non stop! We still managed a dive (in the rain) for Father's Day, a day of all you can eat and drink at the local resort for Terry's birthday, and as usual lots of cooking and eating. Just on cue, the weather cleared at the end of the month for the arrival of Marie Suzanne, a French girlfriend. So lots of touring and catching up. Celebrated Mexican Independence Day all month long (it seems), eating black beans and pork verde!
47 Photos
Created 10 October 2013
No excursions this month. Just hanging around Puerto Aventuras, school, friends, ...Sat thru a couple of storms, torrential rains, big winds...Nowhere to go so more time spent in the galley and writing about it!!!
33 Photos
Created 12 September 2013
Holiday month for everyone: visitors from the USA, kids in and out, parties, US National Day celebration, French National Day celebration, Tulum for a night (bliss...) The start of a new food blog meant a month spent in the galley experimenting. Not much in terms of local food, mostly home cooked French. Chocolate cake anyone?
41 Photos
Created 24 August 2013
Holiday Seasons with old and new friends, provisioning and preparing to leave the USA...
54 Photos
Created 16 July 2013
End of school year performances, lots of baking/cooking for school festivities, Marc hospitalised, first tropical storms testing our nerves, road trip to Belize... Eat ceviche, my latest food addiction!!!
15 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 8 July 2013
Lots on! An interesting road trip to the Chiapas region, wonderful ruins of Palenque, green and lush Tabasco, Anne's birthday, Cozumel by boat, Kids sports graduation...Eat chilaquiles, breakfast with a difference.
26 Photos | 3 Sub-Albums
Created 2 July 2013
Settling down and mixing with the locals: kids are off to school, birthday parties, more of Tulum, unexpected reunion with fellow cruisers. Eat: black bean soup!
30 Photos
Created 2 July 2013
Not much tourism this month. We finally made the decision to stay for the rest of the year. So it's head down with school, get together with cruising friends ( they're passing thru while we stay behind) and switching to "landlubber's" mode. Resolved to eat at home more often, back to healthier diet.
19 Photos
Created 13 June 2013
Exploring the Yucatan peninsula by car, to Uxmal ruins and Merida. More of Tulum. Marc's Birthday. Try Flyboarding. Join in the local community of Puerto Aventuras. Xel-Ha. Discover Playa del Carmen. Eat nachos.
27 Photos | 2 Sub-Albums
Created 13 June 2013
Landfall in Isla Mujeres, find our way around our new home in Puerto Aventuras, excursion to Coba ruins, discover Tulum, swim with dolphins, eat tacos...
31 Photos | 2 Sub-Albums
Created 13 June 2013
Our last few weeks (even months) have been spent in Puerto Aventuras, Mexico. Not much cruising for us, more like enjoying company of new friends, safety of a protected harbor, and relaxing for a while, knowing we don't have to go anywhere for a while...
25 Photos
Created 2 April 2013
2 weeks in an island where time has stood still for 50 years! Road trip La havana - Vinales- Cienfuegos - Trinidad - La Havana. Cruise down the west coast, beautiful beaches, good fishing, diving,... Warm waters at last!!!!
3 Sub-Albums
Created 5 February 2013
To be enjoyed while reading the post!
43 Photos
Created 31 December 2012
Exploring Charleston and Savannah
1 Photo | 2 Sub-Albums
Created 27 December 2012
2 weeks shore leave, driving to Shenandoah National Park: lots of hiking, eating "country style" food, looking for bears, avoiding bears...Long drive across to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, to visit the Wrights brothers memorial and Cape Hatteras.
28 Photos
Created 25 December 2012
Caught up with friends, left the boat on display at the 2012 Boat Show, toured historic downtown and US Naval Academy, watched a football game...welcome to the US sailing capital!
51 Photos
Created 25 December 2012
Unforgetable summer cruising around Block island, Nantucket, and Martha's Vineyard.
1 Photo | 3 Sub-Albums
Created 16 December 2012
46 Photos
Created 17 October 2012
A leisurely cruise from New York to Newport. Quite anchorages, fresh ocean breeze, ...a million miles away from Big City living!
37 Photos
Created 5 September 2012
July and September in the Big Apple. Cruise, Eat, Shop, Walk,...Look at some of our best memories (work in progress, I am still sorting thru thousands fo photos!)
1 Photo | 4 Sub-Albums
Created 3 September 2012
Museums, memorials, parks, bike trails...the most photogenic city.
85 Photos
Created 15 August 2012
First voyage in July, on our way to Washington DC. Passing thru quaint and historical towns, sampling crabs and oysters in hot summer nights... Returned in September, enjoying all Annapolis has to offer (well, nearly), and the spectacle of autumn foliage.
20 Photos
Created 15 August 2012
Where there are some seriously clever people!
22 Photos
Created 15 August 2012
29 Photos
Created 20 July 2012
Shore leave: Make believe, dreams come true, thrills, fast food...Anything goes here!!!
42 Photos
Created 20 July 2012
Welcome to America! Our port of entry, last moments with friends, base for a mini-refit, and our first taste of the USA...
18 Photos
Created 30 June 2012
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Created 31 May 2012
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Created 14 April 2012
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Created 30 March 2012
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Created 12 February 2012
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Created 12 February 2012
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Created 28 January 2012
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Created 8 January 2012
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Created 4 January 2012
40 Photos
Created 28 December 2011
What happens during a transat?
40 Photos
Created 14 December 2011
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Created 19 November 2011
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Created 19 November 2011
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Created 19 November 2011
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Created 17 November 2011
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Created 30 October 2011
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Created 1 October 2011
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Created 8 September 2011

S.V VOAHANGY

Who: Terry, Voahangy, Marc, Anne Steen
Port: Sydney