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Friday, May 31, 2013

Rays and Rainbows, Tahuata

And rain. Lots of rain. Of course the day we left Fatu Hiva it stopped raining - for one day at least. Before that the bay at Hanavave was often a brown river complete with coconuts and other debris floating past the anchored boats. Waterfalls flowed and disappeared as rain clouds came and went.

A week ago Friday we managed to make the trip to Omoa by boat where we learned that the most elaborately carved ukuleles really do come from Ua-Huka. There is only one woman making them in Omoa and she is still somewhat of a beginner. John admired a different one being played for the Aranui 3 passengers. The owner really wanted to trade John for his pretty maple Kala (a Hawaiian style uke) but he came to cash terms in the end. On Saturday John spent the morning fishing with a local man (who's washing machine John managed to repair) to see what tips he could pick up, but they only came back with one tuna after hours spent out in the rain. Sunday we attended a church service in Marquesan and enjoyed the beautiful singing. It was their Mother's Day and the children performed an emotional song about mothers. A few of the younger girls ended up in tears over missing their mothers who were away at a special exposition in Papeete.

Monday we motored back to Atuona for more fuel, cash, and groceries. Wednesday morning we did three "loads" of laundry and pulled anchors by Noon for the two hour motor trip to Tahuata. We took advantage of the "free" electricity being provided by the engine to run our handy dandy electric laundry spinner (courtesy of Quixotic who we send thanks to every time we use it!). As soon as we set the hook here in Hanamoenoa the laundry lines went up and we had rapidly drying clean clothes and sheets hanging in the first sunny, breezy day in ages.

We are thrilled to be back in clear blue water again! We've already spent hours snorkeling and I'm happy to see all the familiar fish faces again, although I'm going to have to relearn most of their names. Yesterday it rained off and on all day, and rainbows materialized everywhere we looked over land and sea. This morning I spotted a school of manta rays feeding outside our bay. We took the dinghy out to them and hopped in with our snorkel gear to watch them feeding on small shrimp with their mouths wide open. It's a little unnerving to see that big open (toothless) mouth headed straight for you, but we know from experience that they will always veer off when they are a few feet away from us. We then took the dinghy over to a little used sandy beach for some snorkeling. In a space of about two feet we counted 10 big Marquesan cowries. They were tucked in with pencil sea urchins and we don't take the live animals, we just like admiring them. Yesterday John managed to find three newly emptied shells (recently eaten by some other creature and still very bright and shiny) of three different kinds of cowries. A small black-tip reef shark cruised by us which was a surprise as that's the first shark we've seen snorkeling in the Marquesas.

It's great to be back among such stunning scenery above and below the water! We'll probably remain at Tahuata until we get a good weather window for the short passage to the Tuamotus.


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