Nuku Hiva & Marquesa Farewell

The day after the festivities on Ua Pou we sailed the 20 miles to Nuku Hiva, which is the administrative capital of the Marquesas. There were more BPO activities planned there, including a “farewell dinner” for all the Pacific Odyssey crews, who will be continuing on at their own pace, no longer with the BPO. We also planned to get fuel and groceries there.

Although the harbor is big, I found that the several dozen boats there made it feel crowded. And while it was delightful to have an al fresco restaurant right on the dock, complete with WiFi, I spent many frustrating hours there trying with only occasional success to upload photos to the blog. I also tried to find an American who would be flying home soon, who could take my kaput iPad to mail to Hallie, but no success there. Not many Americans in the Marquesas, except those on boats.

The BPO events were good, but we were weary of Marquesan welcomes and dancing. We soaked up the information presented about the Tuamotus (the next island archipelago, 500 miles southwest), got fuel and food, said goodbye to friends that we may or may not see again, and got going.

The forecast was for very light winds. We decided rather than be bounced around by waves without enough wind to keep moving, we would just go down the coast to Hakatea Bay for the night. This was a great choice, as spectacular volcanic landscapes are not something we have grown weary of. The bay is sheltered all around, mostly by mountain cliffs that bring Tolkien scenes to mind, with a small beach and one hut. One other boat anchored. The bay has room for many more, but more would have ruined the perfection of the place. Birds could be heard singing from shore, and varying scents wafted by as the breeze shifted this way and that.

The evening perfection gave way to a morning that was intensely hot and infested with little flies. We decided to get underway. Yes, the winds are light, but we have been enjoying a quiet sail on a relatively smooth sea, and we’re in no hurry.

I had no idea what to expect from the Marquesas, and they have been a delight — certainly the place closest to my heart so far. The Tuamotus will be dramatically different. They are coral atolls, barely rising above the sea. They used to be called the Dangerous Isles because they could not be seen until a ship was too close to avoid the surrounding reef. I look forward to the new experience lying three days’ sail ahead!

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