We motored the nasty eight miles back to Atuona and anchored just inside the breakwater in front of the wharf. When we dinghied ashore the agent Sandra told us the cargo ship would arrive at noon and we’d have to move our boat. It was close to nine o’clock by then and we had a lot to do. Marie-Jo, who runs a taxi service was also on the dock and we hired her for an hour to take us into town and back again. With transportation at our disposal we quickly dispensed with the ATM, grocery store, vegetable vendor and hardware store and were back at EV in plenty of time to weigh anchor and move out of the way of the Aranui 3, the combination cargo and cruise ship.
One of the things we’d hoped to buy at the hardware store is a length of chain for our stern anchor. Without it we can’t set the anchor successfully, and since up til now we’d never needed one, it didn’t occur to us to have extra chain onboard for that purpose. The hardware store only had light chain, not appropriate for our boat. That means until we acquire what we need, we can’t anchor among boats that have stern anchors set. In Atuona, with the ship coming in, that means we had to go outside the breakwater again in a violently rolly anchorage. As a catamaran we don’t roll as much as the monohulls out here, but it’s still uncomfortable.
We only meant to stay for the day and get back to Tahuata by nightfall but when we entered Atuona we saw that Liberty Call was still there and we made plans with Tim and Andra for a pizza dinner in town that evening. We spent the rest of the day trying to get internet. The commercial service has a strong signal but won’t give me an IP address and the private service used by the cruisers was turned off. Everyone we talk to agrees the islands are missing a golden opportunity to provide wifi service to the cruisers. We would gladly pay for access to anyone who provides it. We successfully used the commercial service, Manaspot, in Fatu Hiva, but here in Hiva Oa we can’t get an IP address despite a strong signal, and it’s not available at all on Tuhuata.
We spent the evening with Tim and Andra at the pizza restaurant, a nice social break from the quiet life in Hanamoenoa Bay. The next morning we finally got online and caught up with email, but in the middle of updating our navigation app on the iPad the wifi was turned off again, effectively disabling our ipad navigation. It was pouring rain so we decide to stay put, collect rainwater and wait for the wifi to come back on again in the morning and get the ipad functional again. It was a rolly, nasty night, and in the morning Jack loaded up our jerry cans and dinghied in to buy some diesel.
He came back in short order and we got the heavy cans onto EV without mishap, but just as he was stepping from the dinghy, EV lurched crazily and Jack slipped off the back steps into the water. He swam for his shoes and plunked them down on the steps along with his phone, now certainly dead, and hoisted himself up on the scoop. As he turned around to sit he yelled, “Shit!” and jumped back in the water. The Ziploc bag holding his passport, the boat papers and cash was disappearing with the surge. Jack swam after it and then to the starboard scoop where the swim ladder is. Safely back onboard, Jack headed for the shower while I rinsed everything with fresh water. I hung the passport, the money and the boat papers on the clothesline then set to work on the phone. It’s most probably dead forever but we successfully revived an iPod nano after a dunk in the (clean) toilet, so I’m keen to try. After a freshwater rinse and a towel-off, out came the sushi rice and in went the phone. Time will tell.
Jack has a nasty bruise down one side but he’s otherwise ok. The wifi finally came on about eleven and I got the ipad navigation app working again. The rain petered out and we happily pulled the anchor and turned back to Tahuata. Whew! A one-day trip turned into three but we have cash now and some groceries. Life is good. Ok, except we’re down one phone now.