Sunday, May 25, 2014

Lovely Ua-Pou, Marquesas

Approaching Ua Pou, the prettiest island from the sea.
The native language is full of vowels! Depending on the emphasis and accent, the same letters sound completely different. We have not begun to learn more than a couple of phrases and depend on minimal French and a lot of gesturing to get by. Somehow we do communicate as the Marquesans people are so friendly. They love having visitors.

S/V Sweet Pearl is sailing with us.
We have just left to island of Ua-Pou, pronounced like "woe pooh." Of all of the Marquesan Islands, this was the most beautiful as we approached from the sea in the late afternoon. We also left in the late afternoon and saw the other side in the golden sunlight as well. It is the most sculptural of the islands. The highest mountains are over a thousand meters high. Ua-Pou is located 25 miles south of Nuka Hiva and is a rugged mountainous island.
A view of the anchorage from the top of the hill.
We visited the main town of Hakahua, which is the capital of the island, and anchored in Baie D'Hakahua. Only about 2100 people live here. We only spent one night there, but had a nice experience.

We are sailing without crew now, so we are tandem sailing with S/V Sweet Pearl owned by Tom and Sandra from Switzerland. They are on the honeymoon! They quit their jobs and bought a boat specifically for this 16 month trip - actually longer because they sail across the Atlantic Ocean with the ARC.

I loved this house and its front door!

On our way to find dinner, we asked a man for directions. As it turned out, he was the Mayor. He told us about the barbecue we passed on the beach. It is a celebration for the national championship victory by one of their two football teams. He is serving his third term as Mayor and has been in office since 2001.

The carved pulpit was beautiful.

The Mayor is obviously very proud of his town and he should be. It was very clean and well developed with good streets, gutters, lights, etc. This has not always been the case in the islands. We visited the Catholic Church and saw the most beautifully carved pulpit and statues I have ever seen. Unfortunately, I left the boat without my camera so I had Sandra take a few shots for me.

Dinner was interesting and very good: shrimp curry with French fries. They serve French fries with almost everything - even when they serve rice. There was no rice tonight - just Frites! And of course, French bread!

The interesting part was where we ate. Many places are called "snack bars" and they are someone's home with a dining spot on their covered front porch or patio. They cook in their kitchens and serve you at tables like a restaurant. The food has always been good and cooked fresh. In fact, one notable thing is how they serve. Regardless of how many are at the table, they bring out one person's meal at a time as it comes off the stove. So often you are eating while the rest of your table is waiting - and waiting.

Dennis at the top of the mountain
where the grotto is located.

Always looking for ways to stretch our legs, we climbed to the top of the hill to see a grotto and cross that overlooks the bay. As with most hikes in these volcanic islands, it was strenuous. And 88 degrees! It was good exercise because we are now sailing 500 miles without a stop to reach Rangiroa in the Tuamotu group. These are all atolls and require careful navigation. It is also our first long double-handling in the Pacific. I am sure we will be tired when we arrive at the atoll.

Our crew member Tom would have had fun with our "run in" with S/V MO jumbo! This is a family from Australia who make quite a spectacle in anchorages. This time they cut us off at the entrance to the harbor even though we were ahead of them. Then they dropped their hook in the middle to establish their territory. Based on previous experiences, there was no way we were going to be close to them!  Next while we were trying to anchor, the Skipper (dad) swam right in front of our boat and I had to reverse not to hit him. Not too smart or thoughtful.





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