Search This Blog

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

"Creating a Village", Rays, Tattoos, and the famous "Green Flash"."

July 23, 2011
Ships Log

Lat 09 degrees 54 min S

Lon 139 degrees 06 min W

In our last stop we watched in action how "it takes a village to raise a child". In this anchorage, the quintessential Tropical Paradise that one thinks of with white sand beaches fringed with swaying coconut palms, gentle surf coming from the turquoise coloured water in the bay...we created a village... a floating village.
Some of the members of the 'floating village' of Hana Moe Noe, Tahuata

There were a number of families and couples whom we had met on their yachts in Atuona, Hiva Oa and again in the Bay of Virgins on Fatu Hiva and we were delighted to find them again in this beautiful bay of Hana Moe Noe on the island of Tahuata. As soon as we arrived people dropped by in their dinghies to say hello and soon each night there were different groups visiting and having drinks, nibblies and shared dinners. The first evening we were there one of our friends, Sheryl, snorkelled over and checked our anchor setting for us while we were visiting with our friends, John and Jason from SV Spirit ( couple of great Australian yachties who were sailing Jason's trimaran back to Eirlie Beach Australia where his friend and crew, John was getting married - after 35 years, John I'd say it's about time!!). Everyone there was eager to help everyone else and the feeling of comradery was so strong. Because our cockpits are so small it is hard for everyone to get together so yesterday someone suggested going to the beach for a big barbeque. Everyone was in for that! Ian from Faraway spent the day beetling from one boat to another making sure everyone was informed and seeing if they needed help ferrying everyone to the beach. Finally, we all made it and had a wonderful time barbequing chicken, sausages, chops on an old metal grill and eating tons of salads and fruit (some of it lying around under the trees behind us!).

Sheryl (the kindly anchor checker) also told us that there were a number of Manta Rays that came to feed in the bay every morning just behind their boat and if we would like they would let us know the next morning where they were. Sure enough, the next morning Ian, Sheryl's husband snorkelled over to tell us that the group of rays were back behind their boat. We hurriedly grabbed our snorkelling gear threw it all in the dinghy and rowed out to where we could see many of our neighbours already swimming. Bill got in the water first as I struggled into my shorty wetsuit and organized all my snorkelling paraphenalila all the time worrying that I would miss them. Finally I slipped into the water and swam over to where everyone had been swimming and motioning to where the rays were swimming. As I got there I was so disappointed since all I could see were a number of small brightly coloured fish but no rays. It looked as though the rays had finished their breakfast... I was so disappointed... then Bill motioned to me to look and there were two rays swooping and swimming with mouths open scooping the plankton as they swam. Wow!!! As they swam away our friend Ian excitedly pointed past my shoulder to behind me. I turned to find a beautiful huge (6 feet wide and 8 feet long) grey and white manta ray gliding straight toward me! Just as she came within an arms length of me she swooped and turned opening her mouth (at least 2 feet when open) and gracefully sliding within inches of me. I put out my hand and her wing lifted just at that moment and we connected... I was able to stroke almost the whole length of her wing and back... I was mesmorized! I had never experienced anything so moving as this... what can one say?
Rowing out to our first "Manta" experience... very exciting!

Sheryl from "Faraway"took this one and all the others of that magic morning.


...closer... and then the manta and I touched each other's arms (as it were)!  What an experience!

The next big event was when Bill and I got tattooed on Tahuata!! Yes, can you believe it??? Resolution Bay (yes, the famous Captain Cook named it after his ship, but it was re-named after that by the French to Bay du Potain - or prostitute's bay, which has a huge story behind that one but that story is for another time... and finally it is now Ivavia Nui). We had heard that one of the most talented tattoo artists in all of French Polynesia has his studio there so we took off with our Aussie friends, John and Jason, in their motor dinghy to investigate. Well, the long and the short of it is that all four of us got tattoos by the end of the day!! Yup!! Cathy at the age of 60 now has a beautiful tattoo of... a manta ray on the top of her foot - incredible! Bill's, which is about 6" X 5" is on the back of his right shoulder and it is an incredibly detailed Marquesan stunning design of a whale! These designs are unique and Felix Fiit, the artist creates them with you and each one is totally unique and found nowhere else! As Felix said when I was leaving - we are now part of the 'family of Felix'! I know you are dying to see photos and we will hopefully be able to send some when we get to Nuku Hiva, where we are heading for with the evening tide tonight (after I send off our Sailmail).

Photos yet to come...

As I have been typing this 3 of our friend's have left and 2 more have arrived to add to and change the makeup of this beautiful floating village.

Fair winds

Cath and Bill

.. and another great event tomorrow is Bill's oldest son Willis's birthday... HAPPY BIRTHDAY WILLIS!!!

P.S. Oh yes, I almost forgot to mention that I saw the "Green Flash"!!! ... the story goes that if there are no clouds on the horizon and one watches as the sun drops down below the horizon one just may be lucky enough to spot the Green Flash... AND I DID!! I was so excited but Bill was down below and didn't see it. Luckily Jason from Spirit saw it too... and neither of us had had a spot to drink. That's my story and I am sticking to it!!


  1. Hi Cathy and Bill,
    Just got caught up with your last few blogs. We were off sailing in the Broughton's with Pete and Kin Fowler when we read that you had finally reached land. It must have been very exciting - a dream come true! We think of you often and love reading your blogs. Our trip was great but the weather could have been better.
    Summer is very slow in coming to Quadra but I quite enjoy temps around 75.
    Hugs to both of you!
    Carole and Richard

  2. Enjoyed the stories of the floating village, manta rays and green flash! Sounds like you are enjoying those far away tropical islands with white beaches and turquoise waters that you only see in post cards. Good to hear they really exist!
    April and Brent