Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Exploring the Marquesas Islands: Tahuata

This was a beautiful bay with a large white sand beach.
It was a wonderful place to spend the day swimming.
The Captain and his dinghy.
After leaving the Bay of Virgins, we sailed north toward Hiva Oa and went to an island just off the southwest coast of Hiva Oa. There are several bays on Tahuata with the best ones on the western shore.

We chose to visit Hanamoenoa Bay where we saw the first white sand beach we had seen in French Polynesia. Until then, nothing had looked like the brochures!

Hanamoenoa Bay has the white sugar sand and a wonderful swimming area in the turquoise waters. We had finally arrived in French Polynesia! The surge was quite strong so landing the dinghy was tricky. None of us cared that we got wet because all we wanted to do was dive into the water! We spent most of the day enjoying sand and surf.
The only signs of life at this beach was what appeared to be a deserted seaside campsite. There were tables and chairs made of wood, an abandoned hut and a platform structure with a roof and an old freezer! It appear to have a grave right next to the table as it was all marked off with old coconuts and stones with a bouquet of plastic flowers. It looked like it should be respected.

When walking the beach, we saw footprints from a split-hooved animal – probably wild boars. Then we came upon an area where some animals must bed down for the night as there were concave areas in the sand. We did not see any animals but sensed they were nearby.
One of the tasks we planned to do onshore was to open our light air gennaker and untwist it. Somehow when we took it down in a sudden blow, it managed to twist on itself and we couldn't get it up the next time we tried raise it.  To solve the problem, we strung it between two trees and totally unfurled it and then refurled it by hand. Now it is ready to fly again!

The only mishap of the day was that we got back to the boat without Tom’s camera. A trip ashore did not prove successful so either it is twisted in the sail or it is in the ocean! That is the problem with water-proof camera: if you don’t secure them to you, they get swept away in the surf. Fortunately for Tom, I had downloaded all of his photos from the crossing so I could put them on a memory stick for him. We are still looking for the camera, Tom.

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