Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Hey Mister Douane Man….

Just as we were picking up our anchor to leave Nuka Hiva for the 25 miles sail south to Ua Pau, the French Polynesian Customs, aka the Doune, decided to board us. We had seen them going around the anchorage the day before boarding boats. They came by our boat, took pictures and left us alone. One of the boats that they boarded was fined US$200 and a case of wine was seized for under-reporting the amount of alcohol they had onboard when they cleared in.
I was a little concerned about them boarding us because when we cleared-in in Hiva Oa in the section for alcohol on the declarations form I put “Ship’s Stores” and didn’t detail anything else. The Gendarme who took the form was happy with it. When the customs guys saw it, they knew what it meant. They sent Chris off to go below and count every bit of alcohol onboard. 15 minutes later she came up with a list. The customs guy said read it out. “161 cans of beer, 5 bottles of gin ……”. He was fine with it all and didn’t even bother to write it down, it just wasn’t enough to bother with. 25 minutes later we were on our way.
tahautuIMG_0709 Here’s the Navy boat that carried the Customs folks coming around the corner, in the rain. Last year the customs had its own boat, but it was lost on a reef in the Tuamotos under curious circumstances. It’s no wonder they care about the alcohol onboard. The exact same bottle of Gordon’s Gin that we bought in Panama for $17 sells in the Marquesas for $55.
uapauIMG_0683 We sailed down to Ua Pau (Wah Pooh) for a few days after our circumnavigation of Nuka Hiva. This is the Austrian steel ketch Le Belle Epoque anchored next to us, enjoying some tropical sailing after completing an east to west transit of the Northwest Passage.
uapauIMG_0628 We did a land tour around the island with Juergen and Claudia from Le Belle Epoque.  I think Chris is pointing at goats from the mountain top.
uapauIMG_0660 That’s why I agreed to go on the tour – so I could go goat spotting. This billie demands respect.
uapauIMG_0649 Sometimes you spot the goats – other times the goat spots you.
upauIMG_0648 This is what a goat sees when it is spotting from the mountain side.
More early Google Glass design prototypes.
Claudia using her ice-climbing skills to get some fresh coconuts.

Back in the harbor, the locals were out in their outriggers catching some short but serious waves.
The young boys, maybe 10 years old, were out practicing too.
We sailed back south, or should I say motored into it, to Tahuata to catch up with our friends on Cattiva, who had arrived from Panama after their 40-day Pacific passage. We love the anchorage in Baie Hanamoenoa, it’s where the mantas can frequently be spotted. We had a chance to get together again with friends on Tallulah Ruby and Endorphin, as well. We had a barbeque on the beach, hosted by the friendly local Marquesan, Stephen, who lives here tending the coconut grove.
Tomorrow we will go back over to Hiva Oa to do a little provisioning, then its off to the Tuamoto Islands, the next group in French Polynesia. It’s about a 3 day, or so, sail from here.

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