Hiva Oa – Fuel, Rest & Touring…..

Dear F&F,
June 21-23, 2009

We paid a lot for a very sketchy log-on WiFi. Every time we can get on the internet the first thing I do is review our bank and credit card statements. Unfortunately I discovered our American Express card has been used fraudulently. Someone in Mexico made charges with our number. It is such a hassle to deal with. Even though we filled out forms authorizing our Washington state bookkeeper to be our representative they will not work with her. We had to make the calls ourselves, using precious satellite minutes. It is such a bummer that there is no Skype here. We\’ve just been lucky up till now. It is unlikely we will get it again until Tahiti, which is a couple of months away.

I have been in a fog since we arrived. I rally for a flurry of cleaning or cooking, then I\’m wiped out the rest of the day. We just got our fuel permit. Cost $80 US in order to purchase fuel at the local rate of 3.20 USD/gallon vs 6.00/gallon for foreigners – worth it!. We did our first run this afternoon: 8 x 5 gallon containers dinghied over to the fuel station on shore. Unload the empty jugs, fill, cap, load into dinghy, drive back to main boat, unload jugs onto main boat, screw on spouts, pour through filters into tanks. Scott worse than me covered in diesel. We must shower & scrub well to get rid of the stink. We need to make 2-3 more trips tomorrow. We were too tired & stinky to attend the happy hour invite onboard a fellow sailboat \”Uliad\”. We will have plenty of time to visit with them tomorrow as Kathleen contracted a driver so our 3 boats can get a tour to the other side of the island. I am looking forward to the exploration. Just hope it isn\’t too hot & sweaty & long for me. My energy is really low & I can only seem to manage to be active a couple of hours at a time. I am trying to be patient & gentle with myself to recover. I know when we move to an island where the water is clean & I can jump overboard I will feel much, much better. Not the case here. The anchorage is crowded & muddied up from the high island rain runoff. But at least I can sleep all night without night watch – what a luxury! Every time I wake up I revel in that happy thought. I have also been napping 2-3 hours like an unconscious person.

From Mexico I knew I could hop on a plane from every major port. It gave me a feeling of freedom & easy connection to my friends & family. My next fly home opportunity is Tahiti and I don\’t even know when we will get there. Between here & there are many beautiful places to see. Scott & I knew that although the Marquesas are beautiful, lush, statuesque islands they are not renown for diving which is our main interest. We toyed with the idea of skipping the Marquesas, sailing to the Gambiers from the Galapagos instead. But there is are flights out of there only once a week and with Mike onboard it seemed more prudent to come here. It is fine, we will make the most of it.

Although we left the southern border of California 18 months ago, I am struck most now by just how far away we are. I am the girl who met weekly with my best friend. Who entertained dockmates, boat workers & other friends frequently. Flew to northern California to visit my Dad & sister every other month for years. Loved to send \”snail mail\” cards for birthdays, Valentines, Thanksgiving, New Years or no reason at all. Email is good & I am grateful that we have it onboard. But it seems a thin string tying me across the world to my loved ones. I suppose it is natural that when what we are doing now is not that interesting at the least and overly burdensome at the most, that I will yearn for home.

I cannot easily go to shore by myself to just go for a walk. Or take a drive. Or do much of anything independently. I know it will be better once I can jump into clear water. That always clears my mind. I know there are fish, mantas & whales waiting. This is the life I\’ve chosen, for now. But I am not always content with it. We all have our hard days. In a 25 x 50 foot space it is sometimes easy to feel stuck & not see my way out of being \”Negative Nellie\”. Scott is great. He says: just be in a funk. It is fine. It will pass. He is right. So I try to be easy with myself & not over-process. So I read, write and know that This Too Shall Pass.

I made a yummy curry with green beans & tofu last night. This morning banana pancakes. So I am doing things. But in the heat & humidity I get wiped out easily. Scott ran the generator so we could have the air conditioner on in the worst of this afternoons\’ heat. In the cooler air conditioned afternoon I slept so sound I thought I would never wake. There is rarely any breeze in the anchorage, although frequent rain. So we are on hatch patrol all the time. Scott has been reading a lot of books since we landed. I am reading about a neighboring island we will sail to next: \”Fatu Hiva\” about Thor Heyerdahl, a Norwegian explorer here in the 1930s.

We woke up early to get to the fuel station (a 2 minute dinghy ride) at 7:00 a.m. so we could be ready for the morning tour to the Puamou Valley where the largest stone Tiki in the Marquesas resides. Turns out this Tiki was very important in Thor Heyerdahls\’ research as to why the Polynesians were probably not the first inhabitants of these islands. Of course the fuel station opened 45 minutes late, so we were a bit stressed for time after lugging our 40 gallons of fuel back to the boat. We had a long, but nice day with the crew of \”Giselle\” and \”Uliad\”. Learned a lot about the history of the island and it\’s people, got to see the final resting places of artist Paul Gaugain and French Singer/Songwriter from the 1960\’s, Jaques Brel. After our day excursion, we took on one more load of fuel and were pretty pooped. Scott had looked at the weather and said if we were going to have a chance at seeing \”Fatu Hiva\”, we\’d better go tomorrow. The trip is 45 miles, mostly UP WIND and in the trade wind seas potentially very uncomfortable. The weather for the next week after that looked worse.

Scott & Cindy