And we are now in heaven! We left Hiva Oa today. It was sad to leave the wonderful native people who have become our friends. Kaha the tattoo artist, Marc at Make Make, Sandra, our agent, and so many others but the fact is our visa clock is ticking and we must move on. We arrive at Tahuata after a short two hour passage across the very choppy channel. Tahuata is literally just across the way from Hiva Oa but the water is quite turned up and the winds are howling. They say this channel is known to be a bit difficult and it was but we were glad to be going “with” the swell instead of against it. Now that we are here we see that THIS is exactly what we were thinking of when we thought of French Polynesia. The water is a beautiful, clear and light aqua in color. There’s a palm tree lined, pink sand beach at the bottom of the mountain and the waves are crashing on the black volcanic rock on either side of the bay. Best part….we are the only ones in this bay! Just one bay over there are at least a dozen boats anchored. Yes, the “sheep” have flocked to the bay that is mentioned in several cruiser guides but we chose to blaze our own trail and have been rewarded with absolute nirvana.
On the shore are several huts where the locals come to make copra. Copra is made from the coconut shells and left over coconut meat. They dry it on the large metal racks then crush it up. It is exported and used to make oils, lotions etc.
Today, however, the huts are closed up and we feel as if we are the only two people left on earth. It’s such a nice change from the crowded anchorage at Hiva Oa just seven miles north of us. Soooooo glad to be out of that anchorage and the chaos that surrounded it. I really hate to say that too because I do love the people and the village of Atuona. Unfortunately there are so many cruisers there who feel “entitled’ and who care so little about those around them that you just begin to feel cramped and crowded as if you are living back in a big, metropolitan city. That’s not why we are here. We love our lifestyle because we do not have to live in all of that chaos anymore. And so, we regretfully said, “Au revoir” to our friends and made our way here.
On the way here we had a huge manta ray swim past the boat. It was so big Dan thought it was a shark at first. The wingspan was well over six feet! We hear they swim in the bays in this area so we are hoping to get pics and video before we leave. We will stay here tonight and probably do some dink fishing tomorrow. Our plan is to stay two nights then head south to Fatu Hiva. That island is the most photographed of all in French Polynesian and is said to be amazing. Honestly, it will have to be pretty awesome to beat this place because right now, we are in HEAVEN!
Our friends, Ed & Linda of SV One Fine Day are in the anchorage next door so we head over to visit them and have a couple of cold ones. It is also a very beautiful anchorage but a bit more crowded and we are loving our little peace of heaven on the other side.
On our way back we toss a line in the water to see what we can catch. Within just a couple of minutes Dan has his first fish. We’re not exactly sure what it is but it appears to be some sort of snapper. Within a half hour or so we catch the snapper looking thing, a good size needlefish and a blue jack. We give them all back to the sea.
One thing you have to be very cautious of when dealing with the reef fish here is Ciguatera. This occurs often in tropical waters. Microscopic organisms containing ciguatoxin live on reefs. It is harmless to fish but not to humans. Eating fish that are poisoned with this can make humans extremely sick. A neurotoxin, ciguatoxin can cause nausea, tingling and cramping of limbs and can possibly even lead to death. They say people who live through Ciguatera poisoning will deal with its effects for the rest of their lives. We’ve been advised to talk to the locals to find out which lagoons and bays have it. We’ve decided we’ll stick to the pelagic fish like Tuna, Wahoo & Dorado. It’s the safer option.
So tonight we are having fresh tuna steaks on the grill. Fresh tuna is cheap here and we love it. When I say it’s cheap, let me explain. We bought it at the petrol station in Hiva Oa at the docks. Yes, I said we got it at the petrol station! They clean the tuna right there on the docks and sell it in the little store. It’s so cheap you won’t believe it…$5 USD per kilo! We cut it into nice thick steaks and grill it. Add a couple of fresh cut cucumbers or other veggies and some fresh French baguettes, also sold at the petrol station, and you have a perfect dinner.
Breakfast will be pamplemousse. Have I told you I’m addicted? Oh yes, I’m sure I have but it does bear repeating. If you are ever anywhere and they ask you if you’d like to try some pamplemousse, don’t hesitate, just answer, “Yes!” and then ask how many they have for you to take with you. I promise, you won’t be disappointed.
Well, what else is there to say right now? We are here at Tahuata, looking at the quintessential Polynesian beach. We are having a few brews, kicking back and enjoying all that God has blessed us with this day.
Thanks for checking in with us. Hope you are enjoying our posts as much as we are enjoying sharing them with you.
Cheers…until next time,