Cruising Life and Further Ramblings
16 November 2019 | Taiohae Bay, Nuku Hiva
The circumnavigation of the island was very enjoyable but this post finds me in something of a strange place. The past year has been full on excitement/fear/adventure/delight. The long passage across the Pacific was a huge challenge for both of us and the South Pacific experience has been everything we hoped for and more, but, without immediate plans and in a cyclone season holding pattern, it is turning into 'normal life', with all the stuff that goes with that.
By way of example, yesterday was spent as follows; dinghying into the beach and sitting on a rock for several hours chipping rust and old paint off a propane tank that needs to last another year, dismantling the head (toilet) and removing a partially decayed dead fish from the saltwater intake, replacing the manky hoses in the galley salt water supply, relocating the autopilot breaker to a safer spot on the panel so that it does not get knocked off when reaching for something, battling with Google Fi customer support to understand why they are quite willing to store all our "secondary payment method" credit card details on their server but will not actually use it if the first method fails due to "security concerns" - go figure.... The rest of the day was filled with normal cruising stuff, making fresh water, commuting to the Internet access by dinghy, collecting the laundry and scuba tanks, reading the news then seriously regretting it, listening to the Polynesian HF radio net, going out to dinner with West Australian cruising friends and so it goes on. Normal life.....
Janaki is in the US at the moment, sorting out some admin, getting specialist supplies and keeping up with friends so I am alone on the boat for the first time in a VERY long time, maybe ever. You would think, after a year of never being more than a few yards apart, it might be a refreshing experience but it feels distinctly empty and I am really looking forward to the status quo being restored. My 'helpless male' act is getting me fed (I am pulling my weight) but I do need to revive my culinary skills and use what is in the refrigerator before it rots.
Once Janaki gets back I will shake off my lethargy and we will probably sail off to explore some of the other islands in the Marquesas. Being under sail always cheers us both up. We love that part of the lifestyle (thank goodness). Until then I will keep chewing away it the to-do list. There is plenty on it.... I really need to clean the waterline but the occasional large hammerhead swimming by, combined with the limited visibility, is a little off-putting so it will have to wait.
Apart from the rolly anchorage (good for the core muscles) this is a delightful place to hang out. The surroundings are dramatic, the small town is pretty and immaculately kept. There is no trash anywhere and no graffiti. There are a few general stores, a couple of reasonably priced restaurants, a pretty well stocked hardware store, a real farmer's market with fresh produce and fresh fish down on the dock.
What makes it really special is the Polynesian people (there are remarkably few French residents). There is no sign of wealth but neither is there any sign of serious poverty. They universally exude a sense of contentment and calm. They greet one another, and us, with a smile and talk and laugh together like the long term friends they clearly are. Kids are always running around and playing. No-one plays loud music and everyone is generous with our dubious language skills. Not once have we heard a raised voice or seen any sign of agression. Absolutely no-one hassles us, we don't lock up the dinghy at all and rarely lock up the boat. This is all a startling contrast to the noise, hassle, and palpable agression of the Eastern Caribbean and without the underlying danger of Central and S America. I'm sure this is a slightly optimistic view of things, everywhere has issues, but it sure is nice.
Do drop us a line any time. Either here or via our normal email. It is hard to stay in touch over such great distances but it is always a pleasure to get missives from distant friends.