Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Small Pleasures in Life

Here we are, rolling back and forth a little bit, in the big bay of Taiohae (Nuku Hiva), the capital and biggest city of the Marquesas. The water seems cleaner than in our previous environment and we are anchored off a small beach. We hope to go for a refreshing swim over there later, and assume – based on the amount of Sunday swimmers and beach goers – that the waters are relatively shark-free, despite the rumors. For the first time in a while, we are not the only boat in the anchorage. As a matter of fact, we count about 20 other sailboats, some of them said to be “residents”. We are ready to socialize, hang out with old friends (Kril, Iona and Pitufa are here) and meet some new people.

The beach in Taiohae, seen from Irie

Taiohae bay and "city" ashore

The main reason Mark and I are a bit excited to be here is because we have high hopes of this place. We haven’t been to a “real” town since we left the Galapagos, and it has been 9 months already, since we left Panama City. Our main hopes revolve around convenience and availability of stuff. We are looking forward to some decent grocery shopping and lots of fresh produce, finding a good doctor and dentist, going out for a drink with friends, having dinner in a restaurant again (we have a “mysterious” friend who will take us out to dinner virtually, and we have some postponed special occasions to celebrate) and spending heaps of time online to catch up with the world, our social life, and research. It sounds like we might be here a while and if you consider the following, you might understand why…

It has been:
-        Over a year since we went clothes shopping (Belgium and the US, summer of 2012)
-        Three months since we ate a local meal in a restaurant (Rikitea, Gambier islands)
-        Nine months since we went out for an “international” (worthwhile) meal (Panama City)
-        Nine months since we managed to buy something “marine” like to fix a boat issue (Panama City)
-        Seven months since we visited a bar (Isabela, Galapagos)
-        Six months since I last used a normal flush toilet (Galapagos restaurant)
-        Seven months since we shopped in a decent grocery store (Santa Cruz, Galapagos)
-        Nine months since we shopped in a big, western-style grocery store (Panama City)
-        Nine months since we rode on a bus (Panama City) => there are no buses here either
-        An eternity since we had fast WiFi to do research => we hope this is available here!
-        One and a half months since we saw a bank and used the ATM (Atuona, Hiva Oa)
-        Three weeks since we were in an anchorage with other boats
-        One and a half months since we could – barely – use Skype to call our parents
-        Three months since we took a warm, pressurized shower (Gambier) => no plans to do or find that here
-        Many years since I took a warm bath => definitely not possible here
-        Seven months since I ate a real ice cream (San Cristobal, Galapagos)
-        Three months since we docked our dinghy with ease – no dragging up the beach or using stern anchor or taking tides and local boats into consideration (Rikitea, Gambier) => Hanavave in Fatu Hiva (2 months ago) was quite easy as well, most of the time
-        Nine months since we stepped foot in an air-conditioned building (Panama City)
-        Seven months since we bought produce at a decent vegetable market (San Cristobal, Galapagos)
-        Four months since we last used a washing machine (Gambier) and nine months since we used a washer and dryer (Panama City) => too expensive here
-        Four months since Mark finished his soymilk to eat breakfast => since then, he’s been on dry granola or bread

Time to enjoy some small pleasures in life! Unless we are expecting too much, of course… :-)

South coast of Nuku Hiva

The other side of Taiohae Bay

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