Trip Reports

Departing the Marquisess (24-Apr-2001-21-30):
9:30 PM local time Wednesday, 24th. At anchor in Anaho Bay, Nuku Hiva, Iles Marquises. Temp 85, Humidity 75, cloud cover 40%.

In need of water, the boys from Maverick sailed around the windward side of Nuku Hiva on Sunday and had quite a bumpy time of it. Given the conditions we had to stand well off not to scare ourselves and this made the trip about seven miles longer. We arrived in Anaho Bay that afternoon and primarily rested as the Captain was, in his weenie little way, beat. We got up Monday and surveyed our surroundings. Anaho Bay is the most spectacular place we've visited, which is a fair compliment, and our last stop in the Marquesas. Imagine sailing into Yosemite Valley, filled with a large lake, but on the shore is exotic vegetation and sandy beaches. A stiff warm breeze is blowing, and as the humidity is down into the seventies, it feels like a desert wind. There is one other boat, French, at anchor and perhaps a dozen small dwellings ashore, almost all unoccupied. We rowed in through a pass in the coral surrounding the beach, and found the promised hose bib a short walk away. We filled five collapsible five-gallon jugs and took showers using the hose attached to the spigot, and made two more trips to collect as much water, transferring it to the tanks on board.

Yesterday we set out for another bay just over a ridge, Hatiheu, but couldn't find the fork in the trail, so we continued on the trail around the bay and east over a ridge to an archaeological site. We didn't find this either. But it was the bomb hike, primeval, luxuriant. Then today with some false starts we did find the way to Hatiheu, a jungley trail up a steep ridge and down again. The village there was very cute in that South Pacific way. A dirt road parallel to the beach, complete with roosters, was the main street, on which we found a simple but lovely church and a restaurant with a thatched roof. The restaurant was a bit large, we thought, given the size of the village, and not only that, we had a great meal of lobster and grilled tuna. People may come from elsewhere and this might explain the unexpected luxury but really, it isn't that easy to get here. At lunch we hypothesized that the food, along with several beers, would fortify us for the trek back over the hill. You might think the Captain will have a little fun with this and say the experimental evidence did not support the hypothesis; but no. Quite the contrary, and in fact we thereupon resolved that, hereafter, every outing should begin thusly.

Mr. Shrode, naturalist and fruit-lover, is always on the lookout on these walks for some exotic fresh mango, guava, papaya, or better yet something unheard of and possibly never eaten before, to sample. The Captain tries, as he must, to inform Mr. Shrode that if any such thing existed it would be on the shelves of Safeway, as this is not the fifteenth century and trade to the tropics is well established. Take bananas, for example. Do they grow in San Francisco? They do not. Why are they so abundant at Safeway if they come from so far away? Because they are yummy. They are well packaged. People like them. Believe me, if the same were true of the pomegranate, we'd see a lot more of them. But Mr. Shrode is not easily put off his mission.

(Note from mail monitor: The following was originally transmitted as a 2nd message and consolidated into this one)

This was too long for one message, I think..sometimes it takes forever to get through. I think on this one I've spend over 2 hours just calling in at various times.

The Captain was sent aloft today to inspect the rigging, which he pronounced "good enough." We created ratlines using Prusik knots and 1/4" braided line for Lookout Terry Shrode to climb. This, for the reason that our next destination, requiring a passage of over five hundred miles, is the Tuamotu or "Dangerous" Archipelago. The Captain is not fond of discomfort of any sort, and particularly "Danger," as was alluded to above. We have been told, those of us who sail on the San Francisco Bay, that if we can sail there, we can sail anywhere. So it is that the crew of Maverick takes its extensive experience in the coral reefs and atolls of San Francisco Bay with them to this next adventure. We have been advised not to go with the main flow of cruisers through Rangiroa by the very same French couple that saved our bacon back in Taiohae Bay, and who you gonna trust, but instead to visit an atoll named Fakarava. We have looked at charts. We have entered waypoints into the GPS. Nevertheless, when we get there that morning, having passed close between two atolls which will be invisible in the middle of the night, we will have to negotiate one of those passes to get inside the reef.

Atolls are irregular rings of coral around a sunken volcano. They have little elevation, say ten feet, plus the height of the palm trees, and some of them have "passes" or breaks in the reef where a boat can make its way through. But there are often powerful currents running in or out, perhaps in excess of the speed your boat can manage. To either side of the pass are large breaking waves, and even within it there may be coral just under water level. So the idea is to time your approach with the sun behind you at slack water (the time of which has been difficult to establish, but we hope our information may be adequate), then send the eagle-eyed Mr. Shrode up the ratlines so he can see where the coral is under water. Arranging for the sun to be behind us at slack water with no clouds on our arrival day wasn't easy, folks. We won't be exactly fresh, either, having spent several days at sea. We view this operation with some trepidation. Tune in next time, as∑ (?) And so tomorrow we bid farewell to the Marquesas. It is poignant to view the things we see around us and know for a fact that we can never come back, even if the same may be said about any given moment in one's life. Our stay has been not less beautiful than we might have hoped and of course included much that we could not have foreseen. But it is in the going, and not the staying, that the adventure reveals itself. And this adventure has just begun, I do believe.

PS to Judy: We got no tattoos in the Marquesas to ward off pirates, believing that our bodies are perfect for this and many similar purposes, just as they are.

Next report from this location: Contacts With The Natives

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