After staying a few weeks in Nuku Hiva we decided to go to the Tumotus. It was a three to four day crossing, but after crossing the Pacific, it felt really short. The passage was rough and I was queasy a lot of the time. Nothing really interesting happened on the crossing, but coming into the atoll was stressful. We were able to make it by slack tide, but when you go into the atoll from the pass, the current and waves are strong and big. We made it through without any problems, though, and anchored at a really nice spot.
The water was crystal clear, and it felt like we were back in the Bahamas. It could have possibly been clearer than the Bahamas. With our friends Loco, that had fifteen and thirteen year old boys on board, we took our paddle boards and snorkeled on every rock that we spotted. We took them up salt water creeks and couldn’t believe the amount of sharks swimming everywhere. Everywhere you looked, deep water or shallow, clear or murky, sandy or rocky, a shark was swimming. The biggest shark we saw was about five or six feet long but most tended to be four feet. We also went crabbing a lot, and in one day we had gathered two five gallon buckets full of land crabs. When we had Loco over, they cooked the crabs in a chili sauce, and it was delicious. It was extremely hard to break the shell, though, and not much meat when you did manage to break it open.
The next time we went crabbing, the kids had to collect three boats worth of crabs. We managed to get one and a half buckets full, it seemed the crab population had gone down since our arrival. This time the kids tried to cook the crabs but something was wrong with the oven so we waited for the parents to return before cooking them. This time we pre-cracked the crabs, and it was much easier to get the meat out. We had a bonfire on the beach and burned our trash. We also built a good fort that is probably still there.
We stayed there for a week or more before we had to leave. We went to one more spot in the atoll before leaving and heading to Makemo, where we got provisions (if you could call them that) and speared and caught lots of grouper.
We first where welcomed by a manta ray. We dropped anchor at Tahuata. This was one of the coolest anchorages. Our friends where anchored here as well. The next morning we snorkeled and saw lots of big fish and sharks. That night we celebrated my birthday by inflating a mat to wrestle on. We ate spearfish and set the green underwater night light out. We saw weird stuff! First there were a few fish, and then there where thousands. Then, there was a box jelly, and then there where thousands. Then, there where some snapper, and then there where thousands.
Mikey’s 14th birthday
Our friends Aghavni
Sunset at Tahuata
Katelyn took this picture of our friends on Aghavni
The next morning, we went to the beach and boogie boarded. We also went fishing in the dingy and did not catch anything. As we were heading back, dolphins came and jumped right in front of the boat.
Polynesian dance class
Dogs who followed us on our long hike
Interesting statue in Nuku Hiva
Interesting statue in Nuku Hiva
sweet dog who followed us on our hike
We left the next morning to go to Nuku Hiva. We anchored and met our friends from the other boats. We explored the island and went shopping. The girls went to a local Polynesian dancing class while the boys and I played basketball. We also took a hike up a mountain, and two dogs followed us the whole way. The dogs chased every chicken we saw. The other day, we had to pry a chick out of the dog’s mouth, and after that it ate a whole chicken.
The last day we put the mat in the water and wrestled on it again and boogie boarded. After that we left.
We left for Hiva Oa early in the morning and arrived in the late afternoon. We spent an hour looking for a good spot to anchor that we never found. We eventually gave up and anchored in a really rocky place. Every time we got our dingy in the water it would hit the boat – it was a really stressful place.It took us two days to check in to the country. We had to take a cramped car to go to Customs and Immigration with three other families in it.
There probably was only one good thing about Hiva Oa, their grocery stores. Completely out of flour and eggs, we were happy to walk the two miles under the hot sun to get some more. We actually found a lot of things you normally wouldn’t see in the middle of nowhere.
One night we had dinner at a fancy pizza restaurant and got really good wifi and we were able to download lots of things. We didn’t do anything fun in Hiva Oa, but we were able to restock and download books and other things (If anyone is planning to go there, don’t, unless it’s a necessity). Finally done with what we needed to do, we headed off for Tahuata, where we spent three hours anchoring and pulled up a giant piece of coral that was attached to our anchor (fun times ;-).
The last blog was about our Pacific Crossing and coming into Fatu Hiva after twenty-two days at sea. We could see Fatu Hiva one day before we got there, and while we were coming in closer, I could smell the sweet smell of rainforest and salty air. We could see lots of goats on the mountainside and the beautiful town in front of us. It almost reminded me of Colorado. The looming cliffs and tall trees surrounded our boat and the tiny harbor. Almost immediately after dropping anchor, some manta rays came behind our boat to say hi. My dad and Michael jumped in the water and swam with them and we managed to get a few bad pictures.
Mike swimming with the manta rays in the water
Mike, Katelyn, and Mikey hiking in Fatu Hiva
View of Fatu Hiva from the hike
On the hike in Fatu Hiva
waterfall in Fatu Hiva
Pool at the bottom of the waterfall in Fatu Hiva
Fatu Hiva was very relaxing
Most people say that once you step foot on land after being at sea for so long, you would get the land wobbles. We did not experience anything like that. We hiked for two hours up a steep road. Then when we were coming down, we bumped into our friends Aghavni (Aghavni means “dove” in Armenian). We hiked with them to a waterfall that was barely more than a trickle falling from a cliff. We weren’t disappointed, however, because of the natural pool at the bottom of it. We had lots of fun swimming in it. We hiked back to town and met someone who would sell us fruit. We hadn’t had any fruit since something like day ten, so we desperately needed some. We got some grapefruit that was really good. It was sweeter than the ones in the US and bigger. They were also really hard and green, but they were good. We got tons of bananas and then we walked back to our dinghy. We were exhausted, and the sun had already set once we got back to the boat.
Kids playing volleyball with the locals
Easter Sunday in Fatu Hiva
Easter Sunday in Fatu Hiva
We spent the next week mostly at the dock. We played soccer with the locals (we were crushed) and volleyball (also crushed). We swam at the dock with all the local kids almost everyday. The local boys especially liked coming on our boat and fishing with Michael. They caught four fish and swam with the manta rays. One day, we ate lunch at one of their houses. They made all sorts of food, including pork, which we found the hair still on the meat when we ate it, (I’m Vegetarian so I was content to just watch them eat it). One of the big sports is hunting in Fatu Hiva. They went out every night with dogs and caught pigs and goats.
On Easter my mom and I went to the local church. My mom loved it and went every Sunday in the French Polynesia. We swung off Aghavni’s boat and into the water on their swing that they made. We also went to the docks and swam with the locals. We left shortly after Easter and set course for Hiva Oa, the place we wish we never went.