Miles to go:
Where ARE we going, anyway?
The time has come for us to consider this question.
We were in such a mad scramble to ready ourselves (and the boat) for this adventure and before we knew it we were in the business of actually DOING this epic crossing-that we haven't spent a lot of time lingering over the wonders that we are (hopefully, god-willingly) about to behold.
|Paul Gauguin: She Goes Down to the Fresh Water|
For each, the answer is different, and unique to the adventurer and their experience, but a large part, certainly must be...
TO GET TO THE OTHER SIDE!
Which in our case is...
(because it belongs to France, for those of you new to this).
French Polynesia consists of four distinct island groups that sprawl over the South East corner of Oceania. The whole shabang covers about 1500 square miles and around 240,000 people of mostly Polynesian (with a smattering of Europeans and Asian) descent, live there. The Society Islands, Tuamoto archipelago, The Marquesas Islands and the Austral Islands comprise the majority of this group. The Marquesas are the closest point of land one encounters after leaving Cabo...
and so, our first stop
Fruit. Water. Soil...
There are six large and six small islands in the group.
They are mountainous, volcanic, fertile and not fringed by coral reefs.
They became a French protectorate in 1842 after France signed a treaty with the various island chiefs.
There are no indigenous land animals in the Marquesas but plenty of wild pigs, sheep and horses that were a result of plantation days long gone by.
They rise steeply from the surrounding vast expanse of ocean and so are frequented by many species of whales, Mantas, whale sharks and very large sharks.
We have heard tales of immense waterfalls-600 feet high and perilous hikes through the steep mountain passes. Time to find those hiking shoes that we haven't seen in months! Come to think of it, I have no idea where ANY of our shoes are at this point.
We need to declare ourselves and Pura Vida at an official point of entry when we arrive and there are only two islands (of the six in the chain) where we can do this.
We had, at first, thought we would check into Nuku Hiva but then changed minds after learning that several of our other cruising friends will be heading for Hiva Oa. The past two nights we were able to check in over the SSB radio into an informal cruisers net of boats making the crossing. Many of the boats were already on approach to the Marquesas. The most exciting for us, was hearing our friends on LOLO, who are also headed for Hiva Oa--we had no idea they were also crossing but as it turns out, they are only about three days ahead of us. The past two nights another boat has checked in just 22 miles from our position! We can't see him-which seems amazing because it looks like you can see for like, 400 miles. We tried to call each other on the VHF and we could hear them but they could not receive us. It seems we have issues with our VHF radio--guess we'll just add that to the list of things to fix!
After checking in at Hiva Oa (also famous for being the last home and burial site of the french painter Paul Gauguin so, we will get to do more art history lessons for homeshool!) and getting some much needed rest, we plan to set sail for the Island of Tahuata. Our friends on Muktuk have been for the past few weeks and have written to us about how wonderful it is. They have told us that this is the only island with clear water in the Marquesas and that the snorkeling and free diving are superb and that the bay is visited by giant Manta rays.
Better get the underwater camera charged up...
All is well, we had great wind all day that seemed to die right off a few hours ago. The SSB radio is giving us fits and so we haven't had a weather grib download in a day or so. Our Chart plotter (GPS) keeps losing its satellite signal which is disturbing--but it comes back on after a while.
Kai and Hunter:
We are wondering if losing our satellite signal on the GPS has anything to do with two mysterious objects we have passed floating in the ocean.
MOM: (both times, this is exactly when the signal went out)
Kai and Hunter:
They look like large basketballs (like, maybe three times as big) with tall broomsticks sticking out of the top of them and some bits of shiny metal (transponders?) floating out behind them. We think they might have something to do with recording weather or something.
They were about ten miles apart and not marked.
Mom says she hopes we aren't going to accidentally tangle in one some night.
If anyone out there knows what these might be-we would love to know!