Trip Reports

Nuku Hiva (21-Apr-2001-21-30):
9:30 PM local time Saturday, 21st. At anchor in Taiohae Bay, Nuku Hiva, Iles Marquises. Temp 85, Humidity 78, cloud cover 90%.

Greetings from the South Pacific. Since our last post from Hiva Oa, which by the log looks to be about a week ago, the crew of Maverick has kept steadily on the move. The day after Easter we had a short sail to the neighboring island of Tahuata and anchored with four other boats off an uninhabited tropical beach. We left at dusk the next day for an overnight sail in light wind to Ua Pou (pronounced wa-po, as if you didn't know) so we could arrive in daylight. We anchored bow and stern in a cross wind in the small harbor off a the village.

After doing some reconnaissance of the town and its inhabitants and determining they were not hostile we set sail in the morning for the island of Nuku Hiva and Taiohae, the largest town in the Marquesas and about a five-hour sail in pleasant conditions. We anchored, went ashore and found a restaurant overlooking Taiohae Bay, quite a large bay by comparison to the others we've visited. Pizza was the big attraction, but this did not suit us, so we guessed at the French menu and were not disappointed.

The next day, Friday, was filled with not a few chores and our first seriously boneheaded moves. The Captain takes full responsibility, as he must, for the buck stops with him; and the fact is, if one were looking for where it started, one wouldn't have to get up out of his seat. The first involved the mysterious refusal of our credit cards by the local bank which could obtain an OK for no more than $50 while we needed about $800 each to post a bond permitting us to stay in French Polynesia. At this time the Captain got to thinking his second card had been left at the last island. All was worked out after a couple of hours and a fine fit of paranoia. Later, after taking the dinghy over to the fuel dock to get four jerry cans of expensive diesel, we discovered we were out of water in two of three tanks. The story is too tiresome to convey in detail but included leaving a valve in the wrong position and creating a siphon when heeled underway in one of the tanks after modifying a vent line's placement. However, though none is available here in Taiohae, we understand there is good water to replenish our supply on the other side of this island, and we plan to sail there tomorrow; but putting it on the boat isn't just a matter of hooking up a hose to a faucet. We also discovered we forgot to bring in the fishing line when entering the harbor and it is now around at least the anchor chain, which is a pretty good boo-boo, but none of the above compares to the really perfect mistake of the day.

We had lugged groceries and ice half a mile to the dinghy dock and were loading it onto the boat in a hurry because while we were gone to the store an 85 foot ketch was attempting a Med tie and his stern line was under our dinghy, threatening to lift it out of the water. We managed to get out of there just in time. But about 8:00 last night a very nice French couple rowed up to our boat and handed us a backpack. The bag, which we had in our haste left on the dock, contained the boat's document, our entry papers and bond certificate, driver's licenses, radio license, all credit cards, and our passports. Our benefactors had seen it on the dock, realized its importance, and rowed around the harbor from boat to boat looking for the Americans who didn't even know it was missing. Nor was this the first time French people have been kind and courteous far beyond the norm to the Captain, who does not share the views of some of his fellow citizens in regard to this fine country. How can you thank a culture which has brought the world Rimbaud, de Sade, Genet, and Chevalier?

The Captain, partly by reason of his disposition and partly because he is the Captain, lives in daily fear of making the error that puts the boat on the rocks. For every voyage that comes to a bad end, there is what seems in retrospect to be a quite obvious mistake that, when hearing about it, one thinks he would never make. The problem of course is that there are a lot of things to keep in mind and that one is never seen coming. But this is one of the charms of an adventure, is it not.

Today, purser's mate Terry Shrode went to town looking for fresh fruit, which can be found, oddly, not in stores, but only in the private yards of residents. Having been coached by the Captain, he approached a local woman, but did not achieve his goal, as he apparently asked, "Madam, could I please understand your dog?"

We will give more on the people and places we've seen in the next episode, and until then we remain vigilantly, Your servants in the defense of liberty and justice, The crew of Maverick

Next report from this location: Departing the Marquisess

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