Terry Nelson - Marquessa

Marquesas 1A

Saturday morning and we are up early to see where we have anchored as it was too dark to make out any detail last night.
Wow! We are in a bay, a natural harbour, like a broad fjord, with steep sides which are fully covered in vegetation, these rise dramatically up from the waters edge on either side at the head of the bay, we can see the township. There are 1800 people who live on the island.
most of them here in the main town of Taiohae, we can see a road running around the edge of the water and houses further back and up on the hills behind, which themselves are dwarfed by higher and steeper hills behind with trees on the slopes and along the jagged ridges tops.

The jetty is a short rib ride away, we dock and proceed up the road towards the gendarmerie which is signposted, and as  we arrive a truck is leaving. It stops and out jumps a guy, this is the guy to check in with! Colin says he is always nervous at this time as having met many officials over the last 2 years, you never know what to expect.

The guy speaks rapid French, and we try hard to understand but give up, although, through some pigeon French and English, Colin explains here to check in, arrived last night in a yacht.
No problem, passports photocopied, and Colin begins filling in the forms, there are 3 forms to complete.
As this is a French protectorate, all EU citizens are able to get a visa for 30days, which can be extended to max 90 days. If not EU, then a 30day visa can be issued on payment of a "bond" to the value of a plane ticket back to your home country. This is placed at the bank in the town, and when you check out you get the bond returned. If you have booked air tickets, then there is no need to place the bond.

Well, with my Australian passport, I must put up the bond, as I have no flights booked yet, however the bank is closed for the weekend and the official, who is casually dressed in shorts and t shirt, by the way, advises that I return on Monday either with tickets or the bond.
The notice in the room states that the office is open for checking in and out mon - fri 7.30- 11.30 am, well it's Saturday, he must be on day off, but still checked us in, and stamped the passports.

We find the bank, with an ATM, see some restaurants, and supermarkets, and we take the opportunity to stock up with some goods. No Internet cafés or wifi to be seen though, and we make our way back to the rib, loaded with goods, after a visit to the fruit market, we emerge with even more bags.
At the jetty where we landed there is what appears to be a bar and restaurant, but it looks very makeshift, or temporary and we see people on lap tops , aha, wifi here.
But we need to get back to the boat with our shopping, and perhaps some lunch!

It is very hot, with the sun directly overhead, and after lunch I get dropped off to try the internet at the restaurant on the jetty. 
It works and fuelled with a freshly squeezed orange juice, I set to work, three weeks of emails to catch up and research the flights from Nuku Hiva. Everything is going well then the wifi stops working......... I was just about to book the flights when this happened, oh well, think I'll go for a walk while I wait for Colin and Izzi to come over.

Good to stretch the legs after being on the boat for 17days, and my walk takes me past the shops and along the shore, which is Palm tree lined with tall palms with coconuts, there are lots of Tikis along the front, these are stone statues. It's very hot and I turn back to return to the jetty and have another go at the internet. This time it works and I check out the flights once again.
I need flight to Tahiti, Tahiti to Aukland, Aukland to London and then onto Glasgow.
There are many combinations, with many variations in stopovers or direct, but eventually I find a direct flight from Nuku Hiva to Papeete, and this connects with a direct flight to Aukland with a reasonable wait in Papette, and a 1 stop flight to London via Hong Kong. Sounds like a plan. But it looks like the restaurant is closing as they hose down the ground around the tables, think I'm getting the hint to move, there is only one other person here now. Colin and Izzi arrive and I update them on my progress, nothing booked yet, but know flights to get. We pack up and go for a walk, will try tomorrow, now that I know what flights I want.

We meet Paul , Andy and Pedro off Talulah Ruby, who are on their way in to check in, and Andy suggest a meal out tonight , she'll find a restaurant. (Andy is a girl)

The meal was great steak frites and some red wine, the bill came to 20000 Eastern Pacific Francs (EPF), around $200, for 6 people, quite reasonable after the stories we had heard that it was very expensive to eat out. 

Sunday, up early and after a breakfast of Pomelo and toasted baguette, Izzi and I were dropped off at the restaurant on the jetty to have another go at internet.
Success with the bookings, managed to get flights booked from here to Aukland, but issue with bank authorising last payment, typical! Anyway all good so far, and wait for the emails to confirm and will print off on the boat, to take to the gendarmerie Monday.

After lunch, I set to my task of cleaning the hull of the goose barnacles which have attached themselves to the stern of the hull. This is quite good, as I'll get a cool down in the water. 
The anchorage although very good is susceptible to rolling waves and trying to scrub off the barnacles under the stern is quite difficult, snorkel, mask and fins on, the boat is rising and falling, but I make a good job of it and go around the rest of the waterline rubbing off the weed and slime we have accumulated on the crossing.

Monday seen the arrival of other boats in the net. Wavelength was first to arrive Centime, a good bit later. They had taken a full 3 weeks to arrive, with only 2 on board each boat!
We got the formalities completed at the gendarmerie, having managed to print out the e tickets for my flights out of the Marquesas, and got my checkout slip completed as well, so all good..

Today was also Colin and Izzi 's 2nd wedding anniversary and we celebrated by all going out for a meal, as recommended by Kevin in the yacht services hut.
We had passed this house/restaurant a couple of times, and when we went to book. Realised this is the owners house, they live here and have a small no frills restaurant. 
We turned up the booked time and each of us had to order our meal from the menu at a hatch before sitting down, and oh no! They have no wine and only 4 beers left!
Andy, Eileen and Izzi go on a mission to the next restaurant; the one we had ate in last night, to see if they could buy some wine. They came back with success, a bottle of red and a bottle of white, but each in a water bottle, obviously decanted from something else. However it was fine, but not a lot of it!

Dinner for me was breaded fish, which turned out to be fish in Batter and frites! 
The whole family are involved in producing the meals and later the young girl gave a dance of the birds and sang a song for us, as the whole family came out to meet us, including the very knew baby!
Lovely night and good food, which when the bill came was quite hilarious as we tried to split the bill up, as Izzi had paid for the wine, they wouldn't need to pay. Then Dennis wanted to pay in US dollars! It took a while but in the end the total bill was 14600 FPF, equivalent to $146 plus wine at 4600FPF for 10 people. Worked out at 1544EPF or around $15.50 about £12.

Today we also booked a truck tour of the island for Wednesday my last day, and Tuesday we have to get the mainsail off early to give to Kevin, Colin's new best friend who is going to repair it. This will be important and great to get done here and not have to wait until they get to Papeete.

Terry Nelson - Chairman of S.L.A.T.ECharity Marquessa is the vessel he sailed on during his sojurn across the South Pacific