Friday, June 10, 2011

The Highs Have It

Day Two of being pinned down in the Ahe village harbor while we wait out the unusually strong and stationary high south of us. This enormous 1035 high parked its big fat a* at S25 somewhere and has been doubling the trades for days now. The winds got up to the west Tuamotus where we are the day before arrived (see my last moderately harrowing tale of our trip into Ahe). Now with the system stationary, the winds just keep blowing. And blowing and blowing and blowing.

It's not a dangerous situation whatsoever. We're seeing 20 on the boat with a few 23 gusts but mostly 17-18. No waves action/fetch at all. Good solid holding ground. Beautiful view. Temperature lovely. Boat cool and pleasant. Actually, a great place to sit and do nothing. Unfortunately, nothing for DrC and the girls is hard to sustain for more than 48 hours. By tomorrow, I'm betting they'll simply explode out of the Don Quixote box.

Ahe is renown for its incredible water quality for diving and snorkeling. However, I'm afraid we're going to see none of that. The winds are causing the water visibility to be pretty poor. Granted, it's light years better than anything in the Sea of Cortez and even considerably better than the best anchorages in the Marquesas. It's still not spectacular. Nonetheless, we may try to burn off some restless energy taking the dinghy over to the coral heads in the middle of the lagoon and letting everyone drift around and look at fish for awhile.

Today, we enjoyed the local population. We wandered around the village for an hour to take in the sights of which there are precisely none. The village motu is about a quarter mile wide and a half mile long. While pretty, we literally walked every single street in our single hour. The most interesting aspect of the motu village is their modernized solar panel electrical grid and the tremendous investment made in roof top catchment for water collection. We learned a lot examining these installations. We took a lot of pictures as a similar system would be a brilliant way to go off the water grid in New Zealand.

We were also visited by the young men working the pearl farm here. They brought over bags full of "seconds", or black pearls simply not good enough for the market. Ironically, I've always liked the irregular pearls better than the perfect ones anyway, so this was a great opportunity. The girls pawed through the 100s of pearls arrayed on a t-shirt in our cockpit while I chatted in French with the gentlemen. They were very friendly, very handsome, and both friendly and more handsome when my eldest emerged from her cabin. It was all a mutual admiration fest after that. We traded for a dozen or so of these irregulars, the girls each getting a small handful which they can make into jewelry or give as gifts to friends or family. For what we paid for the pearls, I personally felt just the opportunity to meet folks from the islands and interact with them for an extended period of time made the entire exchange worthwhile. I'm also now the proud owner of a Polynesian pearl. My two major goals achieved for Polynesia -- tattoo and pearl -- it's now time to move on.

Unfortunately, until Mr High decides to get over his snit and move his fat butt out of 25S, we're basically stuck here.

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