Thursday, May 19, 2011

Speed Run West

The wind elected to cooperate today to send us rippingly fast westwards to Ua Poa, yet another Marquesan island. For once, Don Quixote behaved appropriately like a zippy catamaran and walked away from our buddy boat. It is good to know that there is at least one sea condition, wind direction, and wind speed wherein we can pretend we are the faster boat. In the run west, we averaged roughly 7 knots -- which for us is ridiculously high -- and our speed demon driver daughter actually hit 12 surfing the back side of a wave.

Ua Poa is amazing. The island features tall volcanic plugs which spear the through the ocean and push up into the sky with forbidding intensity. Vegetation doesn't even try to grow on this grand rocks, leaving the cliffs striated with layer on layer of geologic history. For most cruisers, the appeal of this island is on the northeast end where the largest village circles Baie Hanamae. While smaller than Nuka Hiva and Hiva Oa, the population is the largest of all the Marquesan islands. Some cruisers report that the services and produce available here considerably better than Nuka Hiva.

So of course, Don Quixote is not on the northeast corner of the island. Instead, we have jammed ourselves and Loose Pointer into a very tiny little bite well south of the midline and on the western side. The weather has been so settled that these somewhat marginal anchorages are appealing, remote, and reasonably comfortable. This one at Hakamai is arguably a bit dodgy. There are dark, basalt rocks in every direction pounded by walls of blue green water. The "anchorage" is nearly impossible to see from the ocean as it just barely fits between a cliff to the south and volcanic debree to the north. On the other hand, the little pocket displays a gem of a little village and the swell -- at least for now -- is barely noticeable.

DrC vacillates between settling comfortably into this beautiful and remote little spot and rummaging in the bilge looking for his baseball bat. Our arrival was greeted by the local young men with monkey hoots of happiness as our nubile daughters cavorted on the transoms. I call it fortunate that the swell rolling into the concrete quay rendered it impossible for these two forces to meet. Our daughters were able to dance around like the teasing, beautiful little monsters of siren fame while the hooting young teenage males jumped and gestured ineffectually on shore. This was not so much a cultural experience as a remote hormonal exchange and display of feathers.

Our latest foray into local eating is breadfruit. I'm still not really sure what to do with the thing. The one we have is now fully ripe, so DrC sliced it open and started eating. I was all for doing a skin test first, but instead I just waited 15 minutes to see if my husband died first. Since he didn't, I tasted the thing. Oddly, it tasted like custard. This is not what I anticipated based on what my cruising cook book described nor did I hear such description from other cruisers. It makes me seriously question whether or not this is actually a breadfruit. Maybe it's a custard fruit. Maybe it is a previously undescribed hybrid between eggs, vanilla, and sugar cane. It is really nice having custard without having to heat the boat to cook it.

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1 comment:

Jonathan said...

Hi Toast and family,
Jonathan here. I've been meaning to write to tell you what a treat it was to get your posts real time while you were doing the crossing! Given that the crew was a little bit under the weather, it was amazing that you managed to keep us up to date. And I loved how you managed to maintain your black humor despite the sometimes less than pleasant realities of an ocean crossing. Always good for a chuckle or even LOL! I trust you will now get your share of the Coconut Milk Run.... Fairwinds,
s/v Calypso