Ua Pou to Nuku Hiva…..

Dear F&F,
July 6-8, 2009

July 6
We were up at 5:30 & out of the anchorage by 6:00 a.m. My seasick meds worked ok, but I had a stomachache that does not seem to be seasickness, but upset tummy all day. 8 hours later we are here. It is not as beautiful as the last place. No snorkeling or diving will be done here.

The anchorage is a pretty small place. Of the 5 boats, 2 boats we know from before & 1 Scott has communicated with on email. An American couple, Phil & Leslie on sailboat \”Carina\” out cruising 6 years. They told us that the big cargo ship will come in tomorrow at 6:00 a.m. & we may need to move to make room for it. Shopping should be better at the little stores day after that. Tomorrow 2 boat friends I\’d mentioned before plan to join us here, but Lord knows how there will be room for us to all safely anchor. There is another bay not far. They may have to go beyond here to that point.

We only spent 1 day, 2 nights at the Hakahau, Ua Pou anchorage. It was no problem with the cargo ship. We had to move back a bit to keep our bows out of the way of the huge ship swinging in front of us. Hats off to the Captain of Aranui III. He really finessed the docking of the large ship. There was a lot of activity onshore with locals awaiting their supplies to be offloaded & tourists walking about the small village. We talked to a few of the 98 passengers: a couple from Boston & a couple from Australia. We also met an Australian man that lives here, married to a local. He lives with his second Marquesian wife. After his first wife died of asthma, her family did not want to see him lonely so found him another wife. How nice of them! He was very friendly which was nice for a change. Many of the Marquesians are very jaded about the tourists & cruisers. We come & go & they don\’t seem to be interested in us at all. We smile & say Bonjour everywhere we go, but the reception has been very cool overall. I plan to write a separate post about the Marquesan history that explains some of their indifference and even distaste for westerners. Much of it understandable.

The village we walked through on Ua Pou was about the size of my home town Penngrove (Sonoma County, California). The church was a pretty building. There was an unfinished, not yet open museum that looked promising. There were about 5 \”magasains\” (pronounce it with a French accent: small markets). I took two of my padded Trader Joes shopping bags to see what I could find. Shelf life, low fat milk a rare & happy find. Mostly only whole milk is available. I bought 6 liters. Also found canned Ratatouille which I could not resist, although it turned out to be somewhat disappointing. The low GI diet prefers whole wheat spaghetti (not found in these parts) or vermicelli (bean pasta) instead of white flour pasta. Bought vermicelli – very bland, but can be dressed up with an assortment of sauces. Also found wonderful French blue cheese. Many times I have found blue cheese to have an acid/chemical taste, but this was amazingly delicious. So smooth & creamy with just the right amount of \”bite\”. Happily spread on my \”failure\” bread. Forgot to add the yeast until all other ingredients already mixed. I am trying to use up all my evil carbohydrates in preparation for launching the \”Montignac Diet\” from Tahiti. It is shocking that half of my pantry is forbidden ingredients: no white flour, no sugar at all (fructose is ok, but will have to import that from L.A.), no corn, not even popcorn. I am as interested for my hypoglycemic self as much as my heftier than desired husband. The guy is French so his recipes all sound delicious. Wine is allowed in moderation. Many health conscious people recommend going off wheat & sugar. If you read this guy\’s book you will be convinced WHY it is a good idea. Scott has stopped sugar in his tea. Stopped the sugary/salty Gatorade. When I have used up our \”evil carbs\” we will have room for the pounds of lentils & oats I will need to properly comply with the low GI diet. Cheese is allowed. Nuts are allowed. Protein of every kind is allowed. Heavy emphasis on veggies. Certain fruits better than others. Lots of time in the galley, unfortunately, but I am motivated so we\’ll see how it goes after we reach Tahiti & after I return to CA & can buy the book.

I am still reading the \”Treasure Islands\” book by Pamela Stephenson that follows in the wake of Robert Louis & Fanny Stevenson. She is a New Zealander & her husband a popular comedian in Scotland. Good read. I am just slow to finish & thankfully David & Mary are patient with me. They will arrive here tomorrow.

July 8 – Nuku Hiva Arrival

It was only a 3 1/2 hour passage door to door. Unfortunately even though the conditions were good, I felt seasick. I had tried an alternative seasick med & it was not that effective. Headachy/malaise, so disappointing. Scott really enjoyed the sail. He just finished reading \”It Doesn\’t Take a Hero\”, the autobiography by Norman Schwarzkopf. It was a good read for him & he is trying to implement the tenants of being a better general. We have encountered repeated communication challenges with boating maneuvers. He subconsciously expects me to read his mind. I get discouraged with repeated negative feedback. We are attempting to change this. He is learning how to encourage & reward the troops (moi) for good behavior & mostly ignore the bad behavior (vs giving negative feedback). Of course safety is always our priority. We are trying to adapt to each other\’s style & needs. I am motivated to be a better soldier & he is motivated to be a better general so hope springs eternal. We are laughing more, afterwards, if not in the moment. He has also taken to mimicking our New Zealand friend\’s accent that puts me into hysterical laughter. More laughing is a good thing.

This is a large bay. We know 2 boats here: \”Elvis the Gecko\” from Fatu Hiva (from London with children 6,9 and 11) & \”Courisk\”, (Brian we have only spoken to on the morning radio net). There are about 25 boats in this large & lovely bay. The cargo ship that left our last island yesterday is here today. So shopping should be good in the next 2 days. I will need to provision here for the Tuamotus which is the island group we will tour between here & Tahiti. There is a possibility of diving here. We will go to shore tomorrow & investigate from the local dive shop.

We anchored bow & stern to lie comfortably to the swell. There is a nice breeze of 8 knots, which helps take the edge off the 89 degrees inside the house. I still have leftover chicken curry for our dinner. The lentils for lunch were delicious. I am so glad my seasick symptoms are more headachy than stomach achy. At least I can eat.

We are keeping all our options open for the cyclone season Nov-March. Scott will be keen to get on the NOAA (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration) website to see if it is really shaping up to be an El Nino year or not. If yes, we might sail to Hawaii at the end of Oct. If no, we would stay in Tahiti for the season. Either way, I will be at a dock from Nov-March & be able to fly home.

We will be here likely 4-7 days. I must stock up on food as the Tuamotus won\’t have much. The oranges we picked up at Tahuata are extremely sour with many seeds. I am eager to find some fresh fruit & veggies.

Cindy & Scott