Saturday, October 19, 2013

On to the Northern Marquesas Group

I will (try to) keep this blog short, before we lose some – if not all – of our readers! :-)

In French Polynesia (and maybe even in all of the South Pacific, we don’t know yet), it is impossible to just make plans as to where you’d like to sail and then expect to be anchored there until you want to move on. It is not that easy anymore. The islands are mountainous and the location (= protection from wind and waves) of many anchorages is less than ideal. This means that most bays are uncomfortable most of the time and that the wind is very gusty, fluky, contradictory or accelerated because of the features of the land.

Approaching Ua Huka

Even though Mark and I picked the perfect weather window to explore the north coast of Hiva Oa, the anchorages were still very rolly and therefore uncomfortable with no place to go ashore certain times of the day. For this reason, we packed up and left a day earlier than planned; the predicted light ENE winds promising to be as good as possible to visit Ua Huka’s south coast. We prepared Irie for a night crossing, which – with Mark’s continuously painful right elbow and the bumpy sea state - entailed a bit of inventiveness, especially while taking the outboard engine off the dinghy and hauling it onboard. We picked 10pm as our time of departure, which allowed us to do any speed between 3 and 6.5 knots to get to Ua Huka during the daylight hours. A light 10 knots out of the east was forecasted, but we have learned to expect anything, so left (mentally) prepared.

SW coast of Ua Huka

It was dead calm when we left Hanaiapa in Hiva Oa and the land shadow had us motor for the first hour. After that, the wind filled in and we had a pretty perfect sail, doing 4 to 6.5 knots, all the way. The sky was bright with an almost full moon, the sea state was relatively mellow and we only had to dodge one giant squall. I did most of the work (as usual :-)) and we decided not to fish in the morning– Mark’s arm has to rest. The fish in the Pacific are too big and strong for me to handle. At 9am the following morning, we were settled in Hane Bay, Ua Huka. After a day of rest and catching up on sleep, we planned some walks along the scenic shore and to stay as long as we could endure the gusty winds and incoming swell…

Mouth of Hane Bay

Head of Hane Bay

1 comment:

dmmbruce said...

Keep writing please. The more the better, with lots of photographs. I will never go to these places so your pictures and comments are fascinating and much enjoyed.