Monday, November 25, 2013

Anaho: Favorite Anchorage in the Marquesas?

(From the sat phone)


Anaho beach


The cruising life with its lack of good internet, unexpected boat problems, continuing chores, impossibility of finding certain items, and difficulty of getting things accomplished can be very demanding and tiring, and therefore frustrating, stressful and annoying. Mark and I haven’t had a break from it all for a while and sometimes we are really fed up with this way of living. Add to this being in constant pain (Mark) and a less than ideal anchorage and you get the mood on Irie in periods like this. What we need during those times is a beautiful, comfortable and peaceful place, without internet, where we can take it easy, focus on the important things in our household and enjoy being where we are and what we have chosen to do; exploring the area and taking our time with boat projects. Anaho in Nuku Hiva is one of those precious places, where we think “This is exactly what we needed!”


Anaho Bay – with Ua Huka in the distance


As we surely know and have experienced frequently, no place is perfect, and even this pretty anchorage has its negatives. The bottom is full of coral – we prevented the rubbing and scraping noise of our chain on rocks and coral by attaching a float a third of the way down to keep the chain suspended above the coral, there are quite a few other sailboats around, and the amount of nonos (biting flies, “no-see-ums”) on shore is incredible. We are being eaten alive in some areas and applying DEET does not seem to do the job. Wearing long clothes is undesirable in the tropics. But, for now, we are happy here, and we hope to stay a few weeks.


Time on the beach with our friends from Iona


Even though we miss our friends and the good times in the comfortable and attractive Caribbean, this is as good as it gets in the Pacific. The long, pretty beach has a lot of palm trees (and shade), we are surrounded by reefs (the water is – unfortunately – not very clear at the moment), there are hikes and friendly people, the bay is comfortable and the weather has been lovely. From the moment we dropped anchor and settled in, we saw two manta rays swim by and a turtle popped his head up. Mark finds it ironic that a place like this is every Marquesan cruiser’s favorite, while it basically resembles a random anchorage in the Caribbean (minus the incredible wildlife), a sailing area despised by many “hardy” cruisers favoring the Pacific. Needless to say, Mark is not very impressed by the Pacific (yet), but he does have a point!


Manta ray next to Irie


It was a pretty rough trip up here, the winds always being tricky along these mountainous islands and the waves bouncing off the steep shores, causing a chaotic chop, but we made good timing and only needed a good night’s sleep to restore ourselves. Since then, we have hiked to an expansive windward beach with our friends from Iona – where we were trashed by the violent waves and devoured by the nonos – and joined all the other cruisers and local residents on shore for a typical kai kai. The islanders slowly grilled a young goat and some freshly caught fish and a whole array of side dishes, cooked by cruisers and local women, was shared. With a farm in the vicinity, fresh vegetables were a nice treat, and the generosity of all provided plenty of food for everyone to enjoy.


Windward, nono infested beach of Haatuatua


And, talking about food, Thursday (November 28th) is Thanksgiving and – despite our floating, remote lives – that day will revolve around scrumptious dishes on Iona or Irie. Many of them. In more than generous portions! I can’t wait… J


Quick taste of the underwater world on a swim to the beach


Walk along the path of Anaho “village”


Outboard maintenance – the engine is getting tired


Small stingrays along the beach


Leili meeting a new friend


Organic farm near Anaho, on the way to Haatuatua


And then it was low tide!


Wild goat on the grill


Ursula (SV Kril) talking to “the Marquesan queen”


One of the local fishermen/hunters


Max and Jack carving the slowly cooked and tender meat


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