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Thursday, November 05, 2009

Hanging out in Taiohae

I forgot to mention in my last Taiohae post that all the anchoring and re-anchoring was over and done with by 8 AM! We get up early here to enjoy the cool mornings.

We really struggled with the no-no bugs over in the west anchorage, so much so that we moved back to the quay side on Friday. They are very small and hard to see unless they hit the light just right. They also fly erratically and fast making them almost impossible to catch. I've yet to see one land on me, and I don't seem to feel them biting me so I can't even kill them then. And for every bug I do manage to smash or spray, I see two more. Very frustrating, and the big bites are like hot flames of itching for at least 24 hours. John got so eaten up when he went in to rinse the laundry the last time that one morning I wore my lycra jellyfish suit (like a dive skin which fully covers your entire body - except feet, hands, neck and head - in a zip up onesie) to shore to take my turn rinsing laundry. I'm sure the locals driving by wondered about my colorful get-up, but I didn't care. That worked except that I did nothing to protect my head and ended up with three bites along my part, one on my ear, one on my eyebrow, and one right in the inside corner of the same eye. My poor eye was a little swollen for two days. To top it off John read that there are two kinds of no-nos. Black ones on land and white ones on the beach and out to the boat. I think I saw the black ones at the water spigot, and it's the white ones that were driving us crazy on the boat. [Actually, since I wrote this a week ago, I've come to believe that what we thought were the white no-nos are just some tan fruit fly like bug. I've been free of no-no bites since we moved, even though we still see the tan bugs on the boat. It's most frustrating not being able to identify - and kill - the no-nos! We're religious about wearing bug spray on shore now...]

Last Monday we had lunch with the South African and French couple we met in the Galapagos. One plate of fried fish with fried bananas and one plate of BBQ'd chicken (drumstick) with kind of a potato salad on the side cost us 1700 CFPs. The CFP has dropped from 84 to about 79 to the dollar since we arrived, but John was just happy to be off the boat and not cooking for a change.

Saturday we had a nice hike with the same friends and their two dogs on a well-maintained trail out to a point overlooking the bay. It was incredibly clear and sunny, but the trail is all in shaded woods (once you get to it from the dinghy landing; that was a hot return trip - the poor dogs were scurrying for any patch of shade and plopping down and panting). We even had an okay snorkel later in the day by taking the dinghy to the cove we had seen below us at the end of the trail. There wasn't as much organic matter in the water, but it still wasn't what we'd call clear. There were some nice fish and a few live cowries to see though. People keep telling us there are sharks in the bay (black-tips, and even reports of tigers and bulls), but we have yet to see one ourselves which is always a good thing.

Our friends on their way to Hawaii reported swelling of the skipper's foot, and they were worried that it might be a case of Elephantitis. I had read in at least one of the guide books that there is a mosquito carrying this disease in the Marquesas. I then read in another cruiser's blog that when they visited Nuku Hiva two years ago they were given a preventative drug at the hospital for free. I can tell you that Elephantitis is the last thing I wanted to be worried about right before a long passage so I walked up and took a number at the hospital first thing Monday morning! Well, an hour and a half wait later my understanding is that the drug is no longer available because there have been no cases of Elephantitis recorded here for some time. Whew! (And our friend's foot healed before they made landfall...)

We finally got around to reading The Sex Lives of Cannibals by J. Maarten Troost which my sister gave me earlier in the year for my birthday. Move over Bill Bryson! This a hilarious travel essay in the so-awful-it's-funny vein of a young couple's two year stint living in Kiribati. There are a few parallels to the cruising life, but we at least have our own self-contained home including a variety of good foods, clean water, electricity, and plumbing. I can't wait to pick up Troost's next book, Getting Stoned with Savages, about living in Fiji and Vanuatu.

Ziggy continues to catch big cockroaches (like they have in Hawaii) that fly out to the boat at night. We have to make sure all screens are in the hatches and portholes after we let him outside. Otherwise he'll jump back inside through the porthole and carry it down to the cabin sole where he can torment it without fear of it escaping him as easily as it might outside. This is a problem because he eventually needs to come back in later in the night to use his litter box, but he hasn't learned to meow to be let in. Instead he daintily paws at the screen which may be enough to wake John, but not me. Last night Ziggy was itching to be let outside so John went to bed and I lay down on the settee in the dark with the alarm clock set for 11 PM. As soon as I let him out he was on the hunt. He'd obviously heard the pitter patter of little roach feet. There was a short scuffle in the cockpit, and then I was amused to watch Ziggy circumnavigating the boat in a clockwise direction searching each port hole for a way inside the boat. He went around about 10 times, occasionally stopping for a little cockroach rumble in the cockpit well. One time I went to the companionway to see if he really had something and he was huffing a bit, with one end of the bug hanging out of his mouth. I finally fell asleep until the alarm woke me and, after checking to make sure he was roach free, I let him back in. This morning I found a smallish body on the port side deck and a leg on the starboard side (at least we are reassured that he's not eating them). Beats getting him a gym membership but I'm not sure I want to do that every night!