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ua pou ~ a kid favorite

Posted by on September 26, 2013

June 13 – 20, 2013

After an invigorating 26-mile sail from Nuku Hiva to Ua Pou (which only took about three and a half hours), we were surprised by the tiny anchorage tucked in behind a breakwater wall. There were already plenty of boats in the anchorage.

As we rapidly approached, we were still dragging fishing lines with a reefed main up. Wil wanted to keep the lines out as long as possible, and I was starting to grow concerned about the lack of distance we had remaining. As we got closer, not only was it a crowded anchorage, but there were also quite a few outrigger canoes being paddled in the only open space. Wil wanted us to keep the main up until we were behind the breakwater wall, but I was in total disagreement. Wil said he had faith in my ability to maneuver the boat, but I doubted myself. Needless to say, there was ice in the air all the way until we managed to find a spot to drop the anchor.

We were the first of our group of four boats to arrive, and we knew of others that would be arriving over the next day or two. Therefore, since we are a catamaran, we considerately took a spot towards the end of the breakwater wall. We figured the monohull people would prefer the least rolly area.

trying to get a photo of the famous pinnacles without clouds

the pinnacles of Hakahau Bay, Ua Pou

Our days in Hakahau Bay were a rollercoaster of days between activity and non-activity. We were only going to be in Ua Pou for a few days waiting on a weather window to the Tuamotus. However, it took longer to find a proper weather window, and there were health issues that came up for Flour Girl. David (s/v Flour Girl) had scraped his knee, and it became severely infected. They could not go to sea until the infection was under control. Our entire group of kid boats stuck by Flour Girl’s side.

It didn’t take long for Wil to discover a decent surf break not too far from the stern of our boat. After a brief warm-up, he caught enough waves to keep him happy for awhile.

too bad I missed the shot of Wil cartwheeling through the air

catching a few good waves

the local surf line up

the kids needing to join the line up to talk to Wil

locals surfing their outrigger canoes near the rocky shore

not a perfect run everytime!

recovering their canoe after a wipeout

Ua Pou ended up being a favorite island for the kids. Daily, and despite the French-English language barrier (except for Sueño kids), all the cruising kids spent time playing ashore with the local kids. They would play at the beach, or they would jump and swim from the town quay. Eventually, the local kids offered to let the cruising kids paddle their outrigger canoes. Many times our kids had to prove themselves with the local kids, and being permitted to paddle the outriggers showed true acceptance.

our kids getting to paddle the 6 seater outrigger canoe

Colin, Nikolai, Justine & Max

Xavier would swim from boat to boat trying to drum up business

Michael and Maina (s/v Voyageur) were kind enough to hire local tour guide, Xavier, and take all the boat kids on a tour of the island. The first trip was with just the big boys, and then Michael took the entire group of kids for a second tour the next day which also happened to be Father’s Day. Wil spent his kid-free Father’s Day hauling water for me while I did laundry. We were actually wishing we’d had the kids home to help!

our laundry hung out in paradise









a view from Ua Pou

Tetahuna Archaeological Site


Tetahuna Archaeological Site

a tiki for the boys

a platform for human sacrifice

hard to believe this is a real tree!

the tree bark literally looks painted

boys taking a cool dip at the waterfall

learning things from their guide, Xavier

Manfred Cascade

Father’s Day ended with a jam session that included cruiser and local musicians. Steve from s/v Liward made all the arrangements. Steve (s/v Liward) and Chris (s/v Yindee Plus) both played guitar and sang, while a local guy played keyboard. Colin was included in the planning, but he was late in returning from the kids’ island tour. Therefore, he didn’t feel comfortable playing his guitar in front of the unfamiliar crowd when he had not had the proper warm-up session ahead of time. It wasn’t until we arrived that we learned that it was really a local birthday party that we had become a part of. Regardless, the locals readily included the cruisers, and we were all handed a piece of birthday cake.

Along with the ladies from Sueño, Flour Girl, and Voyageur, Justine and I got to join a local Zumba marathon for an afternoon. Having never experienced Zumba before, we had our cultural experience doubled. The music was mostly American and Central America, but the Polynesian women added their popular hip shaking movements. Most of the Polynesian women were dressed in exercise pants and T-shirts, but wore a sarong skirt around their waists. After a little bit of observation, Justine jumped right in and gave it a try. She did great and even received attention from some of the local teenage girls. The girls came over to chat with her (in French) and offered her a cold refreshment. Justine and Nathalie get the award for dancing the longest for our group. Even though I’d done aerobics and some line dancing in my past, I couldn’t even begin to move my body in rhythm with everyone else. I mainly stood there in awe of how fast the local women could move those hips.

Zumba dancing in Ua Pou

Justine having a go at Polynesian dancing

the Aranui arriving with passengers & supplies

Once a week, a big supply ship arrives at the town quay. The Aranui 3 is not only a supply ship, but also acts as a small cruise ship, carrying passengers to the various islands in French Polynesia. There’s a new hustle and bustle in the air as the entire village prepares for the Aranui’s arrival. Local vendors and crafts people get their goods ready to sell, and the town quay becomes loaded with items that need to be shipped to other islands. While the cruising boats are allowed to anchor anywhere in the harbor, when it’s time for the Aranui to arrive, boats must be moved to make room for the big ship. We all sat on our decks to watch the amazing maneuvering of the Aranui in such a small space. Once it was safely tied to the quay, and we knew our boats were okay, we all went ashore to see all the crafts and enjoy the local food.

it doesn't seem to matter what size boat is coming in!

several boats had to re-anchor to make room for the Aranui

the goats followed this man through town & back

Over the course of our stay, there were many minor skin disorders that crept up for several people. We started thinking there was something in the harbor water, and we needed to make our exit as soon as was possible. However, for what seemed like too many days to count, we continued to wait on a weather window, and for David’s (s/v Flour Girl) infection to clear.
The day before we were finally going to leave Ua Pou, we decided to make our departure day more simple by hauling up our stern anchor the evening before. In the past, we’d had no trouble with easing out our anchor chain at the bow, and at the same time, pulling in the stern anchor rhode. However, this time, nothing went according to plan. The stern anchor was completely stuck, so we had to ease out more chain from the bow in order to change our angle on the stern anchor. In trying to maneuver the boat in the swells, and keep it away from the rocks, we ended up with the stern rhode hooked over the rudder. Wil had to do a quick swim to unhook the rhode, so we could motor away from the rocks. After much trial and error, we finally managed to get the stern anchor up, and then completely re-anchored our boat on the opposite side of the harbor.

The following morning, we bid a sad farewell to the islands of the Marquesas, and set sail on a four-day passage toward Kauehi in the Tuamotus.

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