THE JOURNEY (part IV) Photos 中文

October 11 2014 2030 UTC
16°44'S, 151°275'W
Uturoa, Raiatea

We returned to Raiatea from Bora Bora because the first time we didn't see much of the island, nicknamed 'sacred'. Raiatea is considered the cradle of Polynesian religion and culture. It's big marae Taputapuatea is the largest in Polynesia and I've been told that every other marae must have a stone coming from this one. So we had to see it, of course. And it was worth the trip.

The first few days we picked up a mooring outside of town marina that actually belongs to the local charter company. They have an interesting principle regarding this and few other mooring buoys - no money, you pay in goods: sixpack of beer or soft drinks per night. And Marco, the technical manager of the company is very liberal counting the days. We were moored very close to Richard's boat inside the marina. Richard is the local electronic expert and I engaged him to fix our intermitent autopilot problem. Although we finally determined that it must be misbehaving because of its connection to the Garmin charplotter through NMEA 0183, he disassembled the arm and fixed the mechanical and electric connections (also put an aluminum sleve around the bolt instead of my plastic one). But he charged 50% more than it was his estimate at the beginning.

Can you make Levana moored in the small bay outside the marina.
A beautiful object with magnificent background.

We climbed mount Tapioi that raises above Uturoa. An hour hike brings you to incredible views of the islands - you also see Taha'a - and the lagoon with heir magnificent colors. I don't like to hike but this one was worth it. After that we returned to Faaroa bay and made few trips up the river to our friend Patrice and took his family for a short sail one day. Kids were all excited to see us again and we ended leaving loaded with coconuts, bananas and other fruits.

Gifts to local gods remain here collecting signs of time and weather.

Back to Uturoa we tied Levana at town dock from where we will sail away. We rented a car and made a tour around the island, stopping of course at Taputapuatea marae and admiring beautiful scenery along the way. But the weather decided not to cooperate with us and it started raining and kept raining for the rest of the day. The rain does make magnificient waterfalls and we stopped along the way to admire four of them in parallel coming down the mount Teeatua.

And then we shopped and shopped some more and kept downloading weather files in hope to find a good window to leave.

September 24 2014 1930 UTC
16°30'S, 151°45'W
Vaitape, Bora Bora

Bora Bora - world famous "pearl of the Pacific" as they call the island. No question about it, it is beautiful. It has breathtaking views and sceneries. Not that other islands in the Societies wouldn't have that too, but the beauties seem to be more emphasized here. The water is definitely clearer than in places I've been before. The colors of the sea are more green, turquoise and blue then in places I've been before. The anchorages are nicer, of better depth (around 15 feet) and with more sand between the coral heads to lay the anchor chain than in places I've been before. But there are more hotels with more bungalows, more cruise ships with more tourists and more motor boats zooming around bringing tourists to "sting ray cities" than in places I've been before.

I have never seen - less taken a photo - a shadow of myself in about twenty feet of water.

Maybe I ought not be so sarcastic. It is understandable that people come to see the island that was made famous by American troops returning home from WWII after building the airport and other infrastructure here. The remnants of that project still witness that this pearl was once considered a strategic point in the Pacific war. It is also understandable that people crowd the famous "Bloody Mary's" restaurant, it has a list of famous people who visited it - from Bill Gates and his wife or Warren Buffet representing the richest people in the world to Jimmy Buffet, Jane Fonda or Leonardo Dicaprio from the other side of the spectrum. And notwithstanding steep prices, the food is really good.

Entrance to the famous restaurant. Lists of famous and less famous people who dined here adorn the sides of it.

On arrival we picked up a mooring at Maikai restaurant and marina. Nice little establishment with few bungalows as well, small pool and free internet. The first night on the mooring will cost 2000 Polynesian francs ($24) and subsequent nights are half of that. And the whole week will cost 5000 ($63) with Sundays free and the days paid for don't have to be subsequent and they remain valid for one year. The owner is also the chef and the food is excellent. His comment is that he treats his guests the same as he would like to be treated when in some future time he sails around the world.

We've been on Bora Bora for almost two weeks now and have still seen only the western side of the island. Most of the time we spent on the west most anchorage near Hilton, in 15 feet of crystal clear turquoise water, unobstructed view of the sunsets and very few neighbors around. We did go to see the sting rays in the shallow waters behind the reef but most of the time we spent on or around the boat doing small projects, like outboard maintenance or scraping algae from the boat bottom. We made new friends, Tom and Lilly on their boat Tiger Lilly. Being retired navy officer and having done circumnavigation before Tom is a treasure chest of boating knowledge and full of tricks and hints about cruising. Discussions we had really expanded my understanding and views.

Model of Captain Slocum's boat Spray with which he as the first man solo circumnavigated the planet.

We returned to Maikai for two days. We rented a scooter and rode it around the island - twice. Just because we had time and we wanted to use all that we paid for - but the island is worth it. On the southernmost tip there is a mile long beach with very fine white sand that you usually don't find in many places on these islands. As we rode on we happened on a maritime museum - of ship models. The owner and builder of all these models (there must be some 50 or 60 in the show room) is very proud of his work and has a story of any and all his models. His models are all in 1:150 scale and range from an Optimist to ships like Bounty and Custeau's Calypso with Santa Maria and Kon Tiki in between. He is in his seventies and his only regret is that there is nobody to continue his work. "Young guys today have no patience" he says.

We motor sailed over the northern tip of the island to the eastern lagoon which is lined with bungalows of hotels like Four Seasons, Intercontinental or St. Regis where we are anchored right now. The reason for coming here was an invitation from Emmanuel, school coordinator on Bora Bora, Frenchmen who came here in his twenties and married a local girl. The small motu next to St. Regis belongs to her family and today (Saturday, September 20) we had a picnic there. Nelson and Claude, their caretakers living on the motu, prepared a "poisson cru" (raw fish in salad with coconut milk) feast. Very fun day with Nelson singing and playing his homemade ukulele and all of us playing "bocce" on the beach.

Hilton's "bungalow" at the very tip of the walkway, over the blue lagoon.

There are some eight "big" hotels on the island of Bora Bora and its motus. Who hasn't seen advertisement for vacations in South Pacific displaying beautiful little house on stilts above crystal clear turquoise water? Well, ALL these hotels and a number o smaller ones are built with such bungalows. I counted some hundred plus of them passing Four Seasons. And some hotels went really way out - see the picture of Hilton's likely most expensive "bungalow". It's a mansion...

Two weeks ago I went on a scuba diving tour. Didn't see much, one shark and no promised mantas. I mention it only because I scratched my leg on a coral. Didn't even notice it at the time and didn't think much of it the following few days while I was in water cleaning Levana's waterline. But today I went to see a doctor since I have three ugly wounds on my leg that don't heal and now I am eating antibiotics. A good lesson not to ignore any skin damage, especially out at sea, away from medical help. I do have some first aid medications in Levana's medical cabinet but as they say - an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

September 5 2014 1900 UTC
16°36'S, 151°33'W
Tapuamu, Taha'a

I noticed that the time between my updates is getting longer and longer. Maybe this is so because we don't move much. From one beautiful bay to another, from one charming island to another. And although they are quite similar there are differences that make each one unique. Raiatea, for instance, is a cradle of Polynesian culture and religion and they say that each sacred place of worship - marae, in tahitian language - anywhere must have a stone from marae Taputapuatea on Raiatea.

Six years old Caroline crosses the river to go to school. She is very adorable and made us paper boats.

We had a nice sailing day from Huahine to Raiatea and sailed through an easy entrance straight into a deep (2 Nm) bay of Faaroa. Anchored at the very end at the mouth of the only navigable river in French Polynesia (tourist guide claim, but I took my dinghy to few others). This one does extend for almost 2 miles and is deep enough to motor the dinghy through until almost at the source it becomes too shallow even for the oars. Like a real jungle river it barely moves along it banks all grown with luscious vegetation. When we tied the dinghy at the end we met Patrice and his family in their plantation house. Little six years old Caroline walks across the river every day on her way to and back from the school - catching the bus on the road on the other side of the river. Patrice showed us around the plantation where he mainly grows nunus, a poisonous fruit from which some medicine is made - and its a good business. Leaving, we had our dinghy loaded with bananas, grapefruit and coconuts - and he wouldn't take any money for it. Floating leasurely down the Faaroa river we also stopped at a vanilla farm and had a tour. Quite interesting work those farmers have - among other they have to polinate the vanilla plants by hand!

Yours truly on the Faaroa river exploration.

A major problem awaited us the next morning when we were ready to leave. Our windlass finally gave out. I pulled out all 160 feet of chain by hand and it was clear that we need to find a mooring for our next stop. So we motored past Uturoa, the main port of the island to Raiatea Carenage, a boat yard with moorings for boats waiting to have work done. I disassembled the windlass and opened the electric motor to find the two long bolts broken and making contact with the rotor windings. Luckily the carenage guys said they were able to fix the thing. Not far from us were Good News and Victoria on their anchor. We all spent a sunny Sunday at a picnic on a small "motu" accessible only with a dinghy after some tricky hairpin turns through coral heads. Waiting for the repair we went hitchhiking to Uturoa. In all Polynesia I found people very nice, but Raiateans even more so. Just extend your hand and someone will stop the car and pick you up. And they will drop you at your destination even if it is out of their way! So we spent the next few days until Thursday, when I got the motor back, doing boath things. I painted new length signs on the anchor chain, Taozi went up the mast to flip the ends of the main sail halyard. And finally after assembling the windlass and the motor together (I think windlass was never serviced before) my heart leaped from joy when I heard it turning.

Feast prepared onboard Victoria for guests from Levana. Top chef explains the dishes (all local flavor) to an eager apprentice

The next two days we spent at the town dock in Uturoa. Alan, Dora and Hunor prepared a feast before their departure. Alan was really lucky to find this Hungarian couple to sail with him to New Zealand. Check the photos from Tahiti celebrations and find the brunette dancing in the local group - that's Dora. And what a cook is hidden in that body :-).

Victoria checked out and left the next morning for Rarotonga in Cooks Islands and we left a day later for Taha'a, Raiatea's sister island - they share the same lagoon. We sailed through the lagoon to her deepest bay Haamene with the village of the same name at the end. Nothing exceptional except for the lunches we had at Mac China snack house. Very, very good food at very very reasonable prices. So good that we stayed an extra day just to have lunch there. Next two stops were just nice bays but in deep water, some 60 feet under the keel. Very tranquille but also very hard to get ashore. There is a very shallow plateau running along the coast and it is hard to even find a spot to bring the dinghy ashore. Locals have buoys where they tie their power boats - and walk to the shore!

August 19 2014 2100 UTC
16°43'S, 151°02'W
Fare, Huahine

Actually we are back to Fare. We left Moorea on the evening of August 8th and made an overnight passage of about 85 Nm to Huahine, a double island WNW of Tahiti. Not known so well among cruisers as her bigger neighbors Raiatea and Bora Bora, Huahine offers many quiet anchorages in her lagoones. The west one runs along the whole side of the island and there is pretty big one on the east side of the island as well. I call it "she" because the name "huahine" is composed of "hua", meaning "sex" and "hine", meaning "woman" (like in wahine, a woman). Now if you get your mind out of the gutter I'll explain that she got her name because of her queens and not because she would be a target of some sailor's wet dream!

Fare is a small village in the NW corner of the island. Small but it is a center of the activity, especially since the supply ship arrives at its dock. Pretty well stocked store, rental shops with bycicles, scooters and cars and of course Huahine Yacht Club with happy hours where cruisers gather in the evening for double beer and double stories. And everyone is very polite and still says "wow" for the umpth time to the same story :-). We rented couple of bycicles and went around Huahine Nui, the northern island. Not a long journey, just about some 20 kilometers, but it included a mountain pass (can't say hill pass, no such thing) with 15% steep slope on both sides, going up and coming down. We walked both sides, my legs wouldn't do the incline even with the 18 speed bycicle on the way up and on the way down I just didn't trust the brakes. But it was all worth it. We visited the only pearl farm on the island, we saw blue eyed sacred eels, thick as my forearm and completely domesticated by tourists coming to feed them, and an archeological site, beautifully restored with a museum along its side.

We are back from the south of the island where we found a beautiful anchorage with just a few boats - and a resort on the beach (with complete misunderstanding of happy hour - manager thinks that it is drinks at half price and not double drinks at full price, which would make a difference with guests' behavior and probably sell more drinks after the hour is over). We dinghied ashore at the very south point where we stumbled to a beautiful property that used to belong to some previous polynesian president and is now a weekend resort for a local family and it carries a big sign "privee! tabu!". The group of men drinking bear in front were nice and let us explore the site. It looked more like a community compound that a family home with a big open hall and black statues of different Tikis looking at the sea along the shore.

Cooked and ready to be enjoyed with a bottle of pinot grigio.

On the way back to Fare we anchored overnight at another beach resort, one with bungalows over water - they run 47,000 ploynesian franks per night (around $600). The ones in the garden run for a little more than half of that. At the time we were drinking beer at the bar (no happy hour here) there were only four bungalows occupied. Across the small bay from it there is a little settlement of some ten families. We went ashore and walked among simple but very clean houses, more like sheds, and small fields of vanilla and bananas. After we bought some papayas from a local guy we went back to the boat, but this morning the same guy stopped by in his canoe and sold us seven smallish lobsters for 2,500 franks (around $35).

August 08 2014 0300 UTC
17°29'S, 149°51'W
Opunohu Bay, Moorea

Here is not looking at you, kid - these are not the eyes.

We left Tahiti on July 27 and sailed a short distance to the northern side of Moorea, all about 20 Nm. We stopped in the famous Cook's Bay and anchored deep inside, but had dogs barking all night and in the morning we left for the next westward bay Opunohu. Nice anchorage behind the reef at the entrance of the bay with long white beach lined with coconut palms. It is also home of Moorea Sailing Club and the park behind the beach is full of locals on the weekends.

We got into the dinghy with Lonnie and Bona from Good News ketch and went across the bay to a lagoon where locals bring tourists to see sting rays and sharks. Luckily we went there early before the crowd and had great time feeding sting rays and swimming with sharks. Sting rays are totally domesticated and come up to you looking for food, sometimes so annoying that you have to push them away. Sharks - these are black tip fin sharks or whatever the name is - just circle around, they must be getting their share of food from guides that bring touris boats here. After that we went to see the dolphin show at the closed pool at Intercontinental hotel, taking four paying tourists into the water and have them be entertained by the dolphins. After seeing that my desire to do the same totally died, I rather watch dolphins free, catching the wave at the bow of Levana...

Up on the hill at the bottom of the bay is Moorea's School of Agriculture. It is surounded by fields and fields of local fruit and they sell all kinds of jams. But the best area for us was the road between the fields lined with avocado trees. Yes, the avocado season is over but we were allowed to pick up whatever was still found on the ground beneath the trees. And that was a lot. Taozi went there three times (only once I accompanied her, it is a mile and a half walk uphill) and we are eating guacamole every day and just plain avocados for snacks.

July 24 2014 0300 UTC
17°35'S, 149°37'W
Marina Taina, Tahiti

Yeah, still here! In principal waiting for a Fedex letter to arrive with boat certificate for 2015 and my American Express card. But using time for work on Levana, changing engine and transmission oil, shopping for tools and most importantly working on extension of Taozi's visa. And this worked, she got extension until the end of October. So we'll wander around Society Islands for quite a while and then head north to Hawaii.

July 15 2014 0300 UTC
17°35'S, 149°37'W
Marina Taina, Tahiti

It came and passed - the Bastille day, yesterday. No parade, no canons, just a sunny holiday day. Earlier in the week we rented a car, some Chinese made matchbox with no power, if you run air condition you could barely make it up the hill. We spent two days shopping, boat parts, hardware, groceries and going to Papeete sightseeing. We watched one night of dancing and singing competition - and it was really a night, from 7 in the evening till well after midnight. Three dancing and two singing groups competed for a place in the final show which is taking place next week. Big dancing groups, likely more than 100 members of a team, and long performances telling a story from some legend or from the history of the islands. Singing was really complicated, traditional Polynesian songs, full of life and laughter, the voices weaving the melody in really intricate manner. It was a shame not being able to understand what they sang about. At least the dancing groups were introduced with the announcer describing the story that would be told in the dance - in three languages, which definitely contributed to the lenght of the show. Really enjoyable night and too bad that the night of the competition winners was already sold out when we were buying the tickets. And unfortunately no photo taking was allowed.

We went on a tour of the island. It is about 100 kilometers (60 miles) around - Tahiti Nui, that is. There is a second part, Tahiti Iti, which would have been an island by itself but the nature left a narrow pass of land between them and so it is now only a peninsula. We took a road high up to plateau Taravao with magnificient views towards both east and west sides of the island. There is a well protected bay and a marina in Port Phaeton between the island and the peninsula and a thought crossed our mind to move the boat here - but it was only a passing thought after considering all the conveniences of Marina Taina. Gaugin's museum was closed for renovation - what a shame, after sailing almost 5000 miles to see it. But there are plenty of other places where one can enjoy the views on the tour of the island.

War dance by Marquesan men - what a physique!.
But I am a lover, not a fighter, so I opted for a photo with dancers from Austral Islands.

On Sunday we went to the Museum of Tahiti where teams from all over Polynesia competed in traditional games. We spent a whole day watching spear throwers trying to hit a coconut on a 25 ft high pole from a distance of some 50 ft. And some did! And kopra competition - splitting coconuts and pealing the meat out of the shells. Kopra is a big industry in these islands and coconut meat is dried and used to make coconut oil. Teams of three were sweating under the hot sun to win the competition. Another traditional game was stone lifting - categories for light and heavy men and for women. The heaviest stone I saw was 104 kilos, about 220 pounds that had to be lifted from the ground and placed on the shoulder and held there stable until the umpire yelled OK. And in between games there were traditional dances. While girls from Australes were very gracious and skilled in their hula moves the men from Marquesas were magnificient. Real warriors, tatooed all over in traditional Marquesan patterns and big and full of muscle. Their dance was a war dance, one could tell by the moves and sounds they made. Maybe I have mentiond it before but in marquesan language those islands are called "land of men".

July 07 2014 0800 UTC
17°35'S, 149°37'W
Marina Taina, Tahiti

We left Toau and Valentine and Gaston to look up our Aussie friend Dan's catamaran Brahminy hauled out in Apataki. Only a 20 Nm sail to the entrance which we timed well to arrive at the slack time, and then another 8 across the lagoon to Totoro where the haul out place is. The Chinese family that owns it runs quite an interesting business. A ramp, a tractor, a big trailer with all kinds of hydraulics and a big clearance among the palms where they place the boats on stands and weigh them down with old tires filled up with cement. Seems quite safe even for the strongest winds. People come here for few days to do some urgent work on their hulls or leave boats here for long term, like Dan who'll pick up his next March or April, he says.

Big trailer with lots of hydraulics ensures smooth launch or haul-out. Dan's catamaran is on the left side.

We had nice time in the clear water of Apataki lagoon. We used time to enjoy ourselves with walks to the outer reef where the ocean waves come crushing to the rocks. There is an interesting terrace between the shore rocks and the sandy shore where there is about a foot of water and runs all around the island. You can sit on the shore, soaking your feet in the warm water and admire the foam that ocean waves make some 50 feet away. And there is nobody else to disturb your thoughts. But we also worked and cleaned the boat down to the bottom of the hull and up to the propeller. Quite a barnacle growth both at the bottom of the keel and on the propeller. And later we asked Pauline for Brahminy's key, went in and air it a little and sent email to Dan saying that there is no mold or water inside. We left the next morning.

It was an easy sail down to Tahiti. Not much wind and that from the wide beam and we went very slow at the end to time our arrival at Tahiti in 48 hours - Saturday morning. It is crowded here in marina Taina. We didn't get a mooring, they are all taken, so we anchored nearby. Right in the neighborhood are some mega and some mega mega yachts, all tied up Mediterranean style (stern to the dock) so you can easily see which one is the longest. Five minutes walk from the marina is the French mega store Carrefour and it is really a feast for the eyes that haven't seen such selection of goods in a long time.

June 27 2014 1900 UTC
15°48'S, 146°09'W
Bay Amyot, Toau

David and Lin on Narango surprisingly came back - we thought they left for Toau but they really spent their time at the south entrance to Fakarawa lagoon - while we were only five miles away at Hirifa. So the next day we arranged to visit Hinano pearl farm. The owner, retired German born Guenther, explained the whole process of cultivating oysters from young ones (which they buy in bulk) through implanting nucleus (small ball made from shell, mostly from Mississippi river where they have an industrial production of those) and a piece of mantel (from sacrificed local oysters) into a pocket inside the oyster shell. In eighteen months the nucleus is covered and becomes a pearl. The iridescence comes from the mantel and the shape depends how the nucleus is placed in the pocket. At that time they bring the oysters up, open them and take out the pearls. These are the small 8 mm pearls.

Three from Guenther's safe - the middle size one is the best and he estimates it would be sold in an auction for a cool million Polynesian francs (100,000 EUR or 120,000 USD). The big one is a 19 mm giant but it lacks the luster of the smaller one.

Only about a half of the pearls of the first "harvest" have commercial value, classified from "top gem" through A to D, the rest must be destroyed (or used in flower pots :-)). Oysters that had round pearls (only about 30 %) get a bigger nucleus and go back into the sea for the next eighteen months. Only about 5% of the initial lot are of the top quality. The process is repeated four times and at the end, after six years, you get the big, round 16 mm pearls. With the natural attrition (some die, some get eaten by fish) there aren't so many at the end. Of course the farm has its own little store and Guenther made some dent into my and other men's bank accounts.

The next morning we got up really early and sailed out with outgoing tide. Still big standing waves, it was right at the mid time of the ebb, but it only took minutes at 8+ knots over ground. I guess the current had around 5 kts of speed. Then we sailed and motor sailed (when the wind dwindled) for about seven hours to this place. There are two houses on the shore, Gaston and Valentine in one and her nephew in the other one. Gaston cooks a awesome dinner and Valentine serves it first class. Lobsters, fish cakes, fish ceviche... We brought our boat made banana wine to the table and a bottle went quickly between our hosts, us and five Australians who were also at the dinner.
There is a wonderful snorkeling area right in the little bay, in my opinion it was the best I ever had. All kinds of fish between the rocks grown with corals and just one little shark.

June 22 2014 0200 UTC
16°27'S, 145°22'W
Hirifa, Fakarawa

We spent few days in Rotoava between shopping in two stores that are here and sitting in front of the post office uploading mega and megabytes back to this site which I accidentally deleted. But we did some useful work as well. Richard, who lives in Tahiti and just sails around on his boat, helped me fix the "nose" at the end of the Hoyt boom on Levana. It was hard to get the fitting off the boom since the stainless steel screws stuck to the aluminum and we had to drill them through. Evidently there was a big washer at the end that broke and fell off. We improvised somewhat but at the end replaced the part with new washers (a plastic one as well) and new screw. The big screw hole is worn out and I'll have to try and find a replacement.

Easy sail back to Fakarawa under the butterfly sail alone.

On Friday we motored away, towards the southern part of Fakarawa, some 27 Nm away. There is a marked path that we followed. The wind was right on the nose or at best some ten degrees to port, completely unsuitable for sailing. The atoll is full of pearl farms and coral heads so leaving the marked path isn't something that the first time visitor would do. In the afternoon we found a nice sheltered anchorage and spent the night, arriving at Hirifa the next day. Very well protected anchorage with beautiful beach and a reef where you can see the breakers on the other side. Several boats in here but they all left by the next morning so we were left alone - in paradise. There are two or three family houses on land but nobody was at home. Really perfect seclusion! Until this afternoon a new sailboat arrived. We are leaving tomorrow morning and with this wind (which dwindled down to some 10 knots) we should be able to fly our butterfly on the way back to Rotoava where Taozi sill wants to visit a pearl farm.

June 17 2014 0800 UTC
16°03'S, 145°37'W
Rotoava, Fakarawa

A short hop to another bay, this one without a village, just to spend a quiet day before the 500 Nm passage to Tuamotus. We were the only boat there. Of course it wasn't a quiet day since there was a lot of work and preparation for the passage - like folding the dinghy back on the deck, putting away the outboard and stern anchor and so on. And the next day, on June 10 we finally said good bye Marquesas and sailed towards Fakarawa. The first night we had a big ketch pass us about a mile away. It was much faster... But we were making good time as well with the wind on the beam and sometimes shooting up to 30 kts. The second day we made 167 Nm, not a bad average for double reefs on both main and jib. But all that speed threw off our arrival time.

Tough waves and 5 knots of contra current makes for tough journey.

Those Tuamotu atolls are beautiful lagoons but with tricky entrances. Tide currents can be as fast as 8 kts, so you have to time your arrival at slack time to go in - or out - through quiet water. We knew we were going to be way too early so about 60 Nm away we hove-to for several hours and then we sailed on with the minimum sails at 3 to 4 knots. We still arrived to the entrance at 7 AM, more than 2 hours before the low tide. I decided not to wait and went in right away. Big standing waves and strong current against! At one point we were actually pushed back and then I revved up the engine and slowly made it into the lagoon.

A number of beers behind us.

So here we are, on the northern side of the lagoon. In the afternoon we took a walk through the empty village (Sunday and everyone was enjoying the rest) and met Jean-Luc and Bernard, drinking beer out of the cooler in their truck. I inquired where could I buy some and they offered some from their cooler. And the drinking started. By the evening we left three empty cases of beer behind and then had a nice dinner at Bernard's sister's restaurant. That was where he was getting the beer while everything else (along with this restaurant) was still closed on a Sunday afternoon. All that with my limited French which was getting better from bottle to bottle. Our friend David joined us in the evening with his family and soon there was a fight between him and Bernard - Polynesians really don't like French much. And for one, I agree with them.There must be a Polynesian version of "Yankee go home" for the French. Seems that there is growing sentiment against French occupation of these islands.

June 08 2014 0500 UTC
09°21'S, 140°06'W
Hakahetau, Ua Pou

Stop at the local church in Hooua village - very interesting altar.

We are on our way to Tuamotus. It was a long good bye to Nuku Hiva. After we left our anchorage in Taiohae we sailed with our friends Mahina and Tahina to Controller's Bay again but this time to Hooua village bay, the eastern prong of the three. We spent a day walking through the village, stopping at the church, of course, then visiting Mahina's friends and family and returned to the boat loaded with fruit and recipes for making beer or wine. From bananas, marquesan apples and others. I am simmering a batch of bananas and a batch of apples and we'll see what comes out of it. The banana beer (as they called it) from Mahina's friend Erwin is really good drink, taste reminding of apple cider, but much better.

We sailed on an easy reach to 25 Nm distant Ua Pou, a smaller island but with incredible mountains. It is volcanic origin and after the eruption the softer soil was washed down and what is left are sharp spikes shooting towards the sky. We spend a day on the east side in Hakahau and then sailed around the top to the west side, to a quaint little village of Hakahetau. It is like a painting, houses surrounded by flowers and fruit trees, coconut and banana plantations around and mountains as the background. And through the village flows a river, or course. Another tranquil place where you can forget Ukraine, Afghanistan, Middle East and so on. Nothing else exists but gentle wind and soft rain. Another place to spend the rest of your life! But we'll have to come back to that - the rest of my life, I mean.

My friend Moi - we made lime syrup from his fruit. Mixed with water it is an excelent thirst quencher.

We spent the day with Moi and his family. We met him in front of his store and drank a few cold ones together. And before we knew he made a next day plan for us. Fine, Tuamotus can wait! Next day we had a typical marquesan lunch at his house. Bread fruit pudding in coconut milk, ceviche with lime and coconut, fried fish and chicken... And in the afternoon he drove us up the mountain to his plantation. What a magnificent view from up there! And all kinds of fruits, grapefruit, limes, tons of bananas, passion fruit that we brought back to the boat. On the way back we stopped at his goat and pig farm with just a few pigs but over 500 - yes, five hundred - goats. We ended the day with Moi and I sitting on the quay drinking beers and discussing world politics. I never would thought that my French was that good! Incredible day with incredible people...