After a month in beautiful remote anchorages it’s time to move on to the largest island of the Marquesas, Nuku Hiva, and the capital city, Taiohae. Life has definitely been in the slow lane and we’re ready for some action. We discussed the weather with French Curve and we all agreed that while the conditions weren’t ideal, it wouldn’t be too bad and besides, it’s only 36 miles and downwind. What gave us pause was the high seastate and predicted winds in the 20s.
French Curve left first and raised their foresail, then reported back to us that the winds were only 15 kts, not 20. That sounded fine and we headed out and raised the jib.
We’re so glad we made the effort to visit Ua Huka. It’s a beautiful and friendly island and we hope other cruisers come, too. We found the anchorage no worse than other rolly places we’ve been and despite the challenging dinghy landing the island will hold a special place for us.
Almost as soon as we cleared the island we were met by about eight dolphins who stayed with us the whole passage, playing in our bow wave.
The predicted wind in the 20s, which would have made a fine downwind passage, never materialized, and in fact dropped to 6-8 kts. If we’d had all the time in the world we would have enjoyed the slow and gentle sail but at this speed our calculations put us into port after dark, an exercise we aren’t eager to repeat if we can help it. Reluctantly we fired up one of the engines and motorsailed the 36 miles.
As we approached the bay I started scanning the anchorage for Macushla, friends we met early on in our journey and haven’t seen since the eastern Caribbean in 2013. That’s one of the joys of long distance cruising, weaving together friendships as you hopscotch in and out of each other’s lives in exotic places, adding more and more people to the circle as you go.
“I see them!” I yelled back to Jack, and we motored over to Macushla to announce our presence. No sooner did we have the anchor down than Mark and Sue dinghied over with very welcome cold beer and hugs. They were signed up for an island tour the next day so it was a quick visit and catch-up and a promise for more time together tomorrow.
In the morning we dinghied in to an actual dinghy dock — woo-hoo! — checked in with the gendarmes and explored the town a little. It’s the first time in quite a while we’ve been anywhere needing street signs.
The person selling me the vegetables at the market is a mahu, a man raised as a woman, very common in these parts.
There are about 40 boats in the harbor and we’re experiencing culture shock with so many other cruisers. This is a way station for boats arriving in the Pacific and departing for the Tuamotus and Tahiti. Most people are waiting for parts or making repairs, resting up and provisioning for the next step in their Pacific journey. That’s us, too, because our watermaker has become a salinator instead of a DEsalinator and we need new feed pump heads. While we sort that out we’re enjoying old friends and new friends and the group energy we missed in remote anchorages.