Ua Pou

Posted by John using SailMail

From Nuku Hiva we crossed the 25 miles to Ua Pou, the theory being that if the swells were coming into Taiohae bay on the south side of Nuku Hiva, then they should not be going into Baie d’Hakahau on the north side of Ua Pou. Besides, they had built a breakwater there that we could anchor behind.

When the sky was clear, we could see the mountains of Ua Pou from Nuku Hiva. As we got closer, the mountains became more clearly defined as impressive rock spires, conjuring up all kinds of exotic images, including hordes of flying monkeys descending from the clouds. The seas were up uncomfortably, but the distance was relatively short.

Where the Nuku Hiva anchorage had been huge, with dozens of boats and plenty of room for more, the Ua Pou anchorage was tiny and shallow. I can’t think of anywhere we’ve been anchored more closely together, with more danger of swinging into another boat, than here. At one point we were squeezed between an Australian, a Belgian and an I don’t speak English, French boat. We tried using a stern anchor to keep us from swinging, but not only did it not do so, it may have contributed to causing our bow anchor to drag. To make things even more stressful, the supply ship wharf is right there and the ship was due any day. We would be in its way when it came in.

We met Dan, off the boat My Dream from Kirkland, WA. He rowed over and we all sat in the cockpit and talked for a while. He had single-handed it all the way from San Diego and had stories to tell. He said he’d been through some stuff and had a tough time with the crossing. We said we understood completely. His wife was flying down to Tahiti and was going to meet him when he got there.

We stayed in Ua Pou three nights. At first light on the final day we did an excursion to shore in search of beer, bread and other supplies. It was not as easy as we had expected. What had looked like an inviting beach cafe from the boat, turned out to be a school for swimming and canoeing. We found the bank, and the Air Tahiti office, even the post office, but no store. We asked around. Magasin? But we got sent in different directions. Finally, we found a small store. They had beer but no bread. They tried to direct us to the bakery. We never found the bakery but we found another store that had bread. So, hot and tired but satisfied, we made our way back out to the boat.

Our next planned stop was Tahuata, about 60 to 70 miles away. We thought we would leave late in the day, sail all night, and arrive in the morning. Too bad it didn’t work out quite like that.