[090627, 0151 UTC, Nuku Hiva, Iles Marquises, French Polynesia; 08°52.9'S / 140°02.8'W]
The crew of Carina is happy to report have two oars in the water once again! The Aranui 3 - a cargo / cruise ship that makes a circuit of the Marquesas every few weeks - arrived as advertised at Nuka Hiva on June 17, bringing with it our new replacement oar. It turned out to be shorter than the older one but that was not a problem we couldn't rectify with a saw, a rasp and a whole bunch of sandpaper. The pair looks quite unlike a pair but they work just the same which is good because the outboard now doesn't always.
During our wait, we slipped out of Baie de Taiohae and traveled west down the coast five miles to Baie Hakatea, known by many as Daniel's Bay for the cruiser-friendly local man who lived in a rough cottage on the beach for decades until his death a couple of years ago. The trip down the mountainous coast was uneventful despite large seas and fluky winds which seemed to be propelling us haphazardly forward at great speed. Hakatea is actually one of two lobes of a larger bay called Taioa with a narrow dogleg entrance between two impressive mountain ranges. The western range rises straight up from the sea over 1600' and when the swell is running in the channel, waves crash against it noisily and rise up in fissures to amazing heights. It's not an entrance for the faint of heart or to be made without a reliable engine; strong winds alternatively swoop down from different directions off the mountains or are blocked completely.
Upon reaching the mouth of the bay beneath the imposing cliffs, a view of the Hakaui valley's vertical pleated rocky mountains alternatively bathed in sunlight and shadow slowly unfolds ahead and its beauty is beyond description. It is at the head of this valley that the waterfall cascades down a sheer face to be the third highest falls in the world.
Our stay at Hakatea was six days. We had intended to clean Carina's bottom while there but two factors prevented this: wrap around swell causing turbidity and loss of water clarity and sharks, some of them man-sized. These sharks, black tips, as normally quite docile, however with the water clarity low an accidental close encounter may occur and that could make a shark awfully grumpy. We concentrated on other chores.
On our third day, we joined the family of Suwarrow Blues for a hike to Hakaui falls.
Vos amis du bateau Carina,
Philip, Leslie et le beau chat, Jake
At 6/24/2009 and 01:25 UTC (GMT) our position was: 08°52.89'S / 140°02.85'W