We travel these seas like Bedouins out on the trackless sands, unfettered and free to go where we please but you soon learn that what seems like unrestrained freedom is only an illusion. Weather patterns, sights of uncommon beauty, even bureaucracy and political concerns cause certain tracks or patterns to emerge. We even gather at certain oases along the way and while the faces may get reshuffled we’ve been gobsmacked many times at the intertwined lives we lead. At any one time there are supposed to be only some 500 yachts making major ocean passages. Our path to the Marquesas couldn’t have been less conventional, what with the Central American detour and all. But this cruiser nexus became real for us here in Hanamoenoa Baie at a beach party while we played coconut bocce with all the cruisers in the anchorage, including a charming young Canadian couple.
Back in December 2011 Marce and I spent an afternoon on a Lagoon catamaran called First and Ten in North Carolina as part of our east coast boat-buying tour. It needed work and we couldn’t talk ourselves into another project boat. We passed. Eighteen months later the Canadian couple bought her sight unseen, drove to Carolina, fixed her up, and the former First and Ten is now called Oceana and is anchored 100 feet from Escape Velocity. We aren’t necessarily being lazy here in Hanamoenoa. We’re waiting for friends on Flying Cloud we first met in St Martin and last saw on Christmas Day 2013 in Martinique. During our summer in Grenada we learned we’d been on more or less the same route south and after digging through his computer Walter showed us a photo he took the year before of their friends in a cafe in Oriental, North Carolina. At a table in the background there’s Marce and me, slightly younger, drinking coffee with a pastry or two. It was Thanksgiving and we probably had turkey in the same restaurant with Flying Cloud, too. I remember that it was cold.
So, as it turns out, my team did not win coconut bocce, even though the Canadians insisted the rules were just the same as curling, whatever that means. We managed to scare our opponents several times and while lining up my last bowl I began to notice, let’s agree to call them Wylie Coyote boulders, perched high on the flint-like ridges of the Marquesas. This one was lined up directly above us with no visible means of support, and of course goats and even a few horses were gambling about munching the grass in close proximity. Disconcerting to say the least, and with all this on my mind suffice it to say my bowl was errant. That’s my story, dear Escapees, and I’m sticking with it.
We don’t spend all our time here in Hanamoenoa but the combination of swimming with six-foot manta rays, a crescent shaped white sand beach, good holding and protection are hard to beat. We recently traveled south again to Vaitahu where we got our tattoos but they are building a large pier out into the anchorage so we went further south and explored a cute little town called Hapatoni where I found still more Wylie Coyote boulders poised on many of the peaks surrounding the town. But the siren song of Hanamoenoa keeps calling us back. It’s a nice place to gather. You might call it an oasis.