June 6 – 8, 2012
(Pronounced Wa Poo or Wa Po depending on who you talk to.)
We pulled up the anchor just as the sun was setting a couple of days ago for an overnight sail (motor as it turned out) to Ua Pou. It was so nice that the bow and stern anchors came up easily as there is rumored to be much anchor-fouling stuff on the bay’s bottom and often, and as we found last time we left, other boat’s anchors can end up lying over yours in this crowded bay. There wasn’t much wind but we had hopes that it would pick up later in the night. It didn’t.
We motored for about 14 hours and the wind never did come up, but it was a lovely, warm, fairly smooth night. We took turns sleeping and keeping watch. The highlight for me was a star with undulating colors I’ve never seen before. From what I could tell with Google Sky on my phone, I think it was Procyon. The colors went quickly from purple, to teal, with shades in between and was bright and pure like monochromatic LED lights. Looking at it through the binoculars and wiggling them a bit, it would appear as a streak of changing colored light.
As the sun came up, we were off of Ua Pou and it’s amazing rock pillars. The highest is about 4040 feet. The early missionaries must have had a tough time convincing the natives that these were not phalli (as they seem to have done in Fatu Hiva when they instigated the name change from the Marquesan words for “Bay of Phalli” to “Bay of Virgins”).
Unfortunately, whatever the name, there was no room at the inn. The small anchorage near town was stuffed with boats. Now, wouldn’t you know it, the wind came up just before we entered the bay and was now blowing like crazy with big wind waves. We turned around and headed back out to sea into the wind and waves for the 7 mile trip to the next bay. There, we found room.
It turned out to be a nice anchorage, very beautiful with a great view of the many phalli but we only stayed for a night. The next morning, we headed the 25 miles north to Nuku Hiva. Guess what: no wind again. We motored the whole way.
Now we’re sitting in this wonderful, huge bay next to the what’s supposed to be the largest town in the Marquesas. We must be missing most of it so far – it has to be hidden away somewhere that only the locals are aware of – we’ll keep looking for the rest of it tomorrow. In the meantime, here are some pictures including a couple of pictures of the daily rainbows. -Rich