The bay of Hiva-Oa or, getting away with a black eye

We move on

Our days on the Gambiers are numbered. It was a wonderful five months that we spent here. Even if the weather was sometimes a bit too cool for us, we enjoyed our time here very much. This was mainly because of the people who live here, but also because of the untouched nature, the abundance of fish, the intact corals and the beautiful islands, the archipelago. As always, there were plenty of tears when we said goodbye. Someone once told me that the hardest part is leaving. What he didn't tell me is that it repeats itself over and over again. When we cast off the lines in Loano, it was an emotional moment. We threw everything into the balance, threw our previous life overboard, and started all over again. Without a safety net, just jumped into the deep end. The last weeks before we left were hectic and full of work. That distracted from thinking about the future. Relief spread when we finally managed to cast off the lines. Since we always stay longer in certain places, it gives us the opportunity to get to know other people better. So also on the Gambiers. We find it then again and again difficult to let these people back.

Sunrise Taravai

It is the penultimate evening. The grill is fired up and Christer has procured a huge chunk of meat. We celebrate goodbye and hope that we will see each other again somewhere. On the last day, Gaby once again pursues her favorite activity. The grocery store may be small, but she always finds something. It's like me when I see a hardware store. Unfortunately, on the Gambiers, one is quite disadvantaged as far as the hardware store is concerned, which doesn't bother Gaby as much. I go to the gendarmerie to sign us out. This is not necessary, but it is better if the officials know what we are doing. We want to go to Hao, to the Tuamotus and then on to the Marquesas. The official notes down the data and wishes us a good onward journey. On our Katinka we clear the ship. The outboard motor is stowed at the railing, the dinghy is moored to the David. Everything is checked again before we leave for the next island.

Anchorage Akamaru

Hao is 470 nautical miles from the Gambiers. Considering our previous trip with 4031 nautical miles at a stretch, this is a stone's throw. Again, memories of the Mediterranean are awakened, when we covered 130 nautical miles for the first time and found the crossing from Sicily to Sardinia, as quite far.  Nevertheless, it is four to five days with our old barge and it must us, after so long time at anchor, first grow sea legs again. Hao is an old French base that served as a supply base at the time of the nuclear tests in French Polynesia. Mururoa, the island where the tests were conducted, is southeast of Hao. Unfortunately, the island remains a restricted area. This is obviously not because of the radiation, which is supposed to be back to normal, rather the French have drilled fourteen boreholes in the lagoon and buried their nuclear waste there. So that no one gets any ideas, the island remains closed. Hao has now been abandoned by the French, and the facilities are now used for civilian purposes. However, Hao is too far south of the atolls visited by boats from Tahiti, and so no substantial tourism has developed on Hao. On the way to the Marquesas, the island is about in the middle, making it attractive to us. The weather forecast has predicted for five days, consistent conditions, with trade winds from east to east-southeast, around 15 knots. Ideal conditions, which let us hope for a fast progress. But we are warned, too often we have already relied on the weather data and it came then quite differently. So we get in the morning, after breakfast, (the Kapitana has insisted on a breakfast at anchor), the anchor up. The procedure then took an hour, because the anchor chain, after so long time at anchor, looks terrible. With the brush, I scrub meter by meter the stuff from the chain. A few weeks longer and we could have opened our own pearl farm. After twenty meters, the chain is clean and the rest is quickly caught up. We try to reach Christer on the radio, but he doesn't answer. I'm sure he heard us, but wouldn't have made a sound. He waves us goodbye and we wave back. Goodbye "Old Swede!

Unforgettable landscape on the Gambiers

After leaving the zig zag of Rikitea Bay, we set sail around Mount Duff to the west pass of the archipelago. Here we entered in May this year with a lot of effort and here we leave the Gambiers again. However, this time the conditions are much better. Passing Taravai, the island on which Valerie and Herve have a BBQ every Sunday. We have been there many times and signed the guest book. The sea has us again. How we fared on the crossing to Hao, you will hear next time. Until then, we wish you, as always, fair winds and keep a stiff upper lip.