June 8-11 – Ahe

From Nuku Hiva, Marquesas to Ahe, Tuamotos it took us 3 days of beautiful pleasant sailing and the 4th day was strong winds, large swells and several squalls bringing quick downpours.  We arrived about 2am and hove to waiting for high tide or slack water so we could enter the interior lagoon through the narrow channel.  It’s very tricky getting into the atolls with all the coral and surge in the passage.   It was a wild ride on a bucking bronco to get thru the intense waves, then motoring for an hour where we could anchor by Tenukupara village.  We made many attempts to anchor, dodging coral and other boats already anchored and we provided plenty of entertainment.  It seems a bit unfair after all that exhausting work to get here.  But now it’s blue skies, even bluer waters, and a strong breeze to keep bugs away.

The village is really just a string of houses and buildings on what’s left of the island that’s slowly subsiding back into the ocean.  It’s kind of like being in a big lake ringed with coral which provides very little wind protection from the outer ocean.  Black pearl farming and fishing is the local commerce.

We went ashore and found a dozen eggs (we’re out and it’s a main staple for us) at 600F which is about $7.  No bakery, just a toothless woman selling beignets (not on anyone’s diet I’m sure).  It was a quick walk across the village to the Pacific Ocean side.  One cement road runs thru town intersecting a dirt road circling the village.  The big event was the arrival of the supply ship.   Everyone came down to the dock to get their orders of canned carrots and butter etc.  It was a party atmosphere of friendly people and lots of dogs and kids milling around cranes, heavy loaders, pallets and storage lockers moving every which way (no OSHA here).  Local guys came by the boat wanting to sell us black pearls.

We’re very comfortable here and content to sit in the cockpit and read and relax while we wait for winds to die down in the Pacific before leaving for Rangiroa.  Winds are blowing consistently in the low 20s but appear to be weakening.  Unfortunately there’s no snorkeling or kayaking because of the wind, but when it’s calm I’m sure it’s a great opportunity for both.

this was our view of the village and one of the black pearl farms off to the left

view of the Pacific

the dirt road that circles the village on this motu

the other side of the village

they have no fresh water except what they catch on their roofs from the rain

view of the anchorage.  we’re the last boat on the right

we saw 3 cars but most transportation is via bike

the whole village appears to hang out when the ship comes in

recycling

one of the backyards

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