Monday, July 09, 2007

July 4 - 6, 2007 - Taiohae, Nuka Hiva

This is a bit of a work stop for us. After two weeks in the Marquesas, we finally cleared in here, with the assistance of an agent - Polynesia Yacht Services. Non European Union citizens that arrive in French Polynesia without return airfare have to pay a bond of approximately $1,400 to guarantee that they will eventually fly home. Tahiti and her islands have apparently had their fill of beach bums humming Rogers and Hammerstein tunes deciding to stay on indefinitely in paradise (however this policy doesn't do anything to prohibit French freeloaders; we met a particularly pickled and nicotine stained specimen at the magasin the other day who was more than anxious to introduce us to the young girl he'd picked up in Wallis and Futuna to provide him comfort in his final years in exchange for the opportunity to live off his pension with him). PYS offers a bond exemption service for approximately $70 per crew member. We figured that it was worth it to avoid having to track down our bond at the other end of the chain, and that we might even come out ahead factoring in the administrative fees charged by the local bank and the cash advance fees charged by our credit cards.

When we picked up our visas for FP from the embassy in Panama City, we assumed that it would take us longer, between spending time in the Pearl Islands and the Galapagos Islands and taking longer to cross the Pacific than it did, to get to FP. So we set the start date of our visas at July 5th. But as we left Panama City, we felt like we were so late in the season that we should get moving, otherwise we would end up feeling really rushed over the next few months. So we had to dawdle about the Marquesas for a bit before clearing in on the 5th. Once we'd taken care of the official business, I was free to go find a haircut. A really nice lady named Louise took me up to her house, cut my hair and gave me a pile of pamplemouse (like a sweet grapefruit) to bring back to the boat. Sten has spent the past few days tending to the generator and engines - giving them each an oil change and new filters.

Sten got a bit carried away with the silicone, and put it on anything that stood still long enough. The Siliconator fights a lonely battle against the plague of sliding bowls, plates and stainless steel martini glasses.

We managed to track down a used French keyboard, so I happily typed up the logs that I've been keeping in longhand. I know you guys would much prefer pictures, but they take a bit more bandwidth than the local wifi (or wee-fee, as the French pronounce it) can handle. We've loaded up on baguettes, had a meal out at the local pizzeria (the first meal we've had in a restaurant in over a month), and enjoyed some $13 cocktails up at the Pearl Beach Resort (lovely view, nice olives, outrageous prices - Sten claims that I used to pay as much for a cocktail on a regular basis back in Boston, but unless he can find some witnesses, I'm not copping to it) and some ice cream (yum). Now we're feeling really ready to get a move on to the Tuamotus. But we need to wait until Monday to get some bond exemption paperwork from PYS. We're also waiting for some wind so that we don't have to motor the whole way to the atolls. So we're going to slip over to another bay for the weekend.

Our first baguette never stood a chance of making it back to the boat in one piece.

This is the supply ship that brings literally everything to these islands from Tahiti. Before it arrived, the shelves in the local stores were pretty empty. Afterwards, there were boxes of goods in the aisles. The cool thing is, you can join it for a 21 day cruise through the islands - one of the only ways to see most of the Marquesas unless you have your own boat.

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