Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Baie de Controleur

A week in Taiohae on Nuku Hiva was enough! Although spectacular, it was a very crowded and not a particularly clean anchorage. We had done two hikes and met the famous Rose Corser who has been here since the early seventies when she and her husband sailed in and stayed. She is a very gentle soul who lives alone now and has given up the hotel they built and runs a small museum and gift shop with some beautiful artifacts from the islands.
So we dropped in to the local gendarmes and informed them we would be moving on in the morning. They like to keep track of the boats in case someone is looking for one. So we upped the anchors from the sticky mud and beat our way around the corner, about 10 miles, to Baie de Controleur. There was only one other boat when we arrived but by sundown there were five boats anchored. It is a deep bay with mountainous sides and has three smaller bays within which are protected anchorages. So we chose
the center, larger one and dinghied in to the small black sand beach at the head. Here we found potable water from a tap that we were welcome to use so we filled three gerry cans and will do that several more times before our tanks are full. We then walked into the small town and bought the customary baguette at the small store, along with two cans of coconut milk and a couple of other supplies. There was not much to pick from and the prices were a bit higher than Thrifty's! What we really want
is some fruit but we'll have to ask around tomorrow. Rumours of an archaeological site, Paeke, with a ceremonial platform used by priests and chieftains for worship, burial and human sacrifices. It is called a maeae an measures 557 ft by 82 ft. We will go looking for it tomorrow. It is recommended you take your bug spray as the nonos are hungry!
We are travelling alone now as Tarun, our buddy boat from Mexico, has elected to accompany Cat's Paw IV, another Blue Water Cruising boat, who bumped a reef and have unknown damage to their skeg. So the two of them will set a quicker pace for Papeete where they have a haulout scheduled to check the damage. Meanwhile, Toketie will meander along at a slower pace and poke into more corners of this fascinating world.
It is hard to establish any kind of relationship with the locals as it is a very brief season and the cruisers pass through fairly quickly. But they are friendly and helpful and don't seem bothered by us invading their peaceful lives. Talking to cruisers who were here over 25 years ago makes us realize just how much things have changed. There were no roads then and there were as many boats in all of French Polynesia as are anchored now in Taiohae Bay! The locals are fairly well off it seems,
judging by the number of Toyotas and Land Rovers on the few miles of roads!
So we will do some exploring and fill our water tanks. We found butane in the last place rather than propane, and are told it burns the same. Two trips by dinghy to the fuel dock saw the diesel tanks filled at 125 francs a liter (about $1.80). Then we should be ready to plan the next major leg through the Tuamotus where no services are available. They are a string of coral reefs with palm trees on them and also referred to as the "low or dangerous archipelago" as many ships have been lost on
them. It is about 500 miles to the first and we are studying the charts and guide books to decide which we shall attempt to visit.
Knowing how you are all hanging on every word....:)...I will attempt to be more diligent with the reporting!

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