Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Hiva Oa Island – Atuona

[Maryanne]Priority number one was official clearing in. We contacted our agent in Hiva Oa and agreed to meet on the morning of the 8th in town. She offered to pick us up at the dock and drive us into town, but we wanted to get an earlier start, and also to take laundry (Our agent also did laundry but at a much higher rate – so we didn’t want the embarrassment of that). So – we hiked the hot 40 minute walk into town carrying laundry and a list of stuff to get done. When we arrived, It turned out it was a public holiday (VE Day; museum closed, post office closed, wifi café/laundry closed) and the ONLY thing we were able to achieve was a visit to an ATM to collect some Polynesian Francs (CPF: 105CPF = 1USD). Doh! So – when we finally met up with our agent (twiddling our thumbs somewhat in town) – we handed her our laundry too and she said she would have it available to pick up the following day. Great!

Local currency and French Baguettes

So we found ourselves with an extra day in Atuona – We managed to get to the Post Office (to pick up a data SIM for the phone. You can have voice or data – not both), the Paul Gaugin (painter) museum (he lived in Hiva Oa for some time), some limited groceries, and a bit of sightseeing. It also rained - a lot – and as such, our laundry was delayed another day (so a bit more sightseeing).

We went to the artist center, where jewellery, and tapa (bark cloth, beautifully painted) were being made and displayed. Kyle purchased a small tapa for our nav station and we picked up our first pamplemouse (which even I’ve decided I like).

Pretty town - and a Paul Gaugin copy to give you a taste

We were told that the nearby drum noise was from locals practising for an upcoming competition and we’d be welcome to go and watch. We rounded the corner and followed the music to find them – singing and dancing traditional Marquesan performances. All ages were represented. The dances seemed to be taught at school, but continued into adulthood. Some of the older women looked like they had spent some time with a professional troupe.

Beautiful place to enjoy our first experience of French Polynesia

The anchorage at Hiva Oa was very busy with boats in tight quarters, and while I was off attempting internet access one day, Kyle was busying himself fetching water. While rowing ashore with the water jugs he befriended Alfred & Adva aboard Waterhoen and learned that the water ashore is no longer considered potable – DOH! So lucky he bumped into them! They invited us to join them at the local pizza restaurant that night and Kyle agreed – we had a great night and really enjoyed their company. They were such good company we had them over for dinner aboard Begonia the next night. Since weather windows, currents, winds, and visa options dictate cruising plans, most boats tend to pass through the same places at roughly the same pace – so no doubt we would meet up again.

[Kyle] On our last day in Atuona, I finally stopped stalling and went into the murky water to clean off all of the gooseneck barnacles from our passage. It was then that I discovered THE absolute best thing about Atuona: A welcoming committee of big carp-like fish had bitten off every singe barnacle they could reach until it was flush with the paint. All I had to do was knock off the ones too high out of the water for them to reach. When I did, they were right there to gulp them up as they sank towards the bottom. These fish are my new all-time favorite fish in the world and I have named them all Timmy.

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