170414 A Taste of French Polynesia

Time definitely flies when you are having fun or just doing so much.

130402 1 Arrived Hiva Oa

We arrived into Hiva Oa on Wednesday 2nd April a small island of the Marquesas group 20 days 2.5 hours and 3000 nautical miles after departing Villamil in Galapagos. On our arrival we were greeted by Tolly and Jas on Le Mistral who had left the same morning but arrived 24 hours ahead of us. The bay was a hive of activity on our arrival as many of the boats were just re anchoring having left the  bay the previous night due to a Tsunami warning following an earthquake in chilli. It was great to see and hear so many friendly Aussies.

After securing Andante on anchor in the Bay of Taahuku, partaking in the traditional anchor dram with Liv and Hans to celebrate our safe arrival it was time to pack, clean and depart. Pretty much in that order and with that speed.

140402 5  HIva Oa Pearl Lodge view from our room of the anchorage

Hiva Oa is the largest of the Marquesas island group but has a population of just on three thousand and every one is either related or knows everyone. So the taxi lady was also the laundry lady and the tour guide and if she wasn't able to provide the service than definitely she had a relation who could. We moved off Andante into the luxury of the only "Resort" hotel on the island - Hanakee Pearl Lodge Hotel located on the top of the hill overlooking the bay where all the boats were anchored. The hotel had one remaining room and they apologised that it was only a mountain vista not an ocean view - ummm after 20 days at sea the mountains looked pretty good to wake up to so no apology was needed.

140405 23 The smiling face of Edith140405 5 Hanaiapa Bay on the north side of Hiva Oa the OConnor families land looked like a good anchorage

The owner of the hotel John-Jaque, his beautiful wife Josephine and the bubbly Edith along with everyone else in the hotel just made our stay so relaxing and welcoming. We took a day tour across the island with tour guide "Pifa" who is also a fire fighter when not a tour guide  - stopping at all of his uncles farms, visiting beautiful bays, the ancient Tiki sites and eating the sweetest grapefruit we have ever tasted. We were also introduced along the way to all of Pifa's cows and many horses! At Puamau where we had a traditional lunch we also stopped for a swim at the beach with the local kids who advised us the safest place to swim - its a shame they didn't also teach Lee the technique of body surfing as there were a few less than graceful dumps endured. We must mention the tour vehicle for the day - a trusty Landrover - it was very much like a computer, every now and then half way up a hill it would stop. The solution, Power On Power Off - guess if it works for technology why not for a Landrover. 

140414 8 Moorea Dive Lemon  Shark

Sunday 6th we were off with the help of John-Jaque to the airport and transferred to Tahiti where we searched out a dive centre to undertake our Open Water Dive Certification. Our first two dives were in a Lagoon at Papeete. That sounded safe enough. However much to our alarm when we arrived we were put in a dive boat headed out to the lagoon to a depth of 6m and told we are going down. DOWN! What about the nice slow refresher on how to dive first. And so began ten days of diving that just got better and less traumatic every time we went down. 

140416 41 Dive Papeete

So after ten days spent between Papeete and the Island of Moorea we have completed ten dives to a depth of 25 meters. Achieved our Open Water Diver Certification, Nitrox certification and found a love of a new sport. We have sat beside a Hawksbill sea turtle while he pecked at the coral, swan with black tip reef sharks and lemon sharks, watched from the sea bottom the fish and shark feeding frenzy and swam past several wrecks. Not something I ever envisaged a few years ago achieving so we are both pretty proud and very excited about this new world that has been opened for playing in. If only the water of Norway was warmer!

Our final nights dinner in Tahiti was spent in the company of Ellen and Haakon who we last met last July in Oslo. They have arrived in Tahiti on their boat KoKo as part of the World Arc fleet and it was great to share an evening in their company, discuss their travels, their dives and of course Norway. 

140415 8 Bruce getting into the tropical swing

So now its back to bag packing - as we continue on our way back to Katherine - next stop Texas.

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© SV Katherine 2018      Cover Photo: Katherine on Anchor Isle Tabarca Spain