As it turns out, we didn’t leave Fatu Hiva the next day. We heard that there was a festival so we decided to stay an extra day and go and enjoy the activities. Well, wouldn’t you know it, the festival was just a Mother’s Day Feast and we didn’t get tickets in time. It was also election day so they were not selling any beer. But the guys from Ardea found a store that would sell it for the last five minutes before closing, so at least we were able to take care of that.

We went to Daniel’s bay the next morning, it was only 6 miles away but seemed like a totally different place. The area was very arid compared to the rest of the islands and it reminded me a great deal of the basalt cliffs along the Columbia River. It was a very nice anchorage though and there were turtles swimming about the boat. That night we had cocktails on a cat, Gypsy Heart, and then a fire on the beach with some other cruisers. The following morning we hiked to the waterfall and it looked like it would be absolutely amazing. The downside was that you could only see it from far away. When you got close there was only one small fall in a pool, but the walk up and swimming in the pool were fantastic. The canyon walls were so high and the canyon narrow that it was truly beautiful. That night we had another fire on the beach.

On the third day in Daniel’s Bay we arranged for one of the families living in the valley to cook us lunch. The food was magnificent as were the hosts. The menu consisted of boiled bananas and fresh water shrimp in coconut milk. Desert was a fruit bowl made of all the fruit of the valley. The man who hosted us caught all the hundreds of shrimp the night before. He was a really something of a spectacle. He was 24 and completely made of muscle, tattoos on every visible part of his body including his face. He wore a ripped pair of old board shorts and a camouflaged shirt that had been torn into a vest. The crowning accessory though was a necklace that had two full bore tusks hanging on it as well as a bunch of other bones and shells. It must have weighed ten pounds. He was very funny though and made a good time entertaining us. After lunch he taught us to open coconuts with his home made device. He tore at them like an animal but insisted strength was not needed, only technique. Evergreens bought fruit and I only wanted some hot peppers. He tossed me a bottle of his own hot-sauce and told me to keep it. I felt bad that I didn’t have anything to give him. Later though, he was out fishing so I gave him some Slick stickers, fish hooks and a squid skirt. He immediately pulled out some dried bananas and gave them to me. Again, I was left without anything to give him but thanks.

We left the next day for Kauehi in the Tuamotos. The sail there was probably the most boring we have had. The main problem is that the entrance to the atolls in the Tuamotos are narrow and have high current so you have to go though them at slack tide and in daylight. This means that you have only two times a day you can go through, so we had to slow down a great deal in order to hit the passes at the right time. We came in after four and a half days at sea and it was very calm and beautiful. We slept the rest of the day away and the next day the Evergreens arrived.

Our time in Kauehi was well spent. The lagoon of the atoll was very peaceful with flat calm water and an occasional breeze that would ripple across the surface. It was truly calm, peaceful and beautiful. We went snorkeling with Evergreens and Gypsy Heart as well. Turns out the place is full of sharks. We saw quite a few as well as some big moray eels. One of the times we went through a very shallow high current area and we basically drifted on the incoming water. Another great experience. We also spent some time walking on the beach finding all sorts of things, including a sailboat rudder – someone had a bad day. We also met a man who had a coconut crab hanging from his porch. It was on a string leash and he walked it like it was a dog. But he was having it for dinner the next night. The day before we left, we went into the store and asked where we could get pearls. Turns out the store owner, who is also the mayor, police man, chief and manger of the pension was also the local pearl farmer. We made an appointment to see them and when we arrived we really didn’t know what to expect. He came out with a small suitcase and it was full of low grade pearls. He emptied a three gallon and a two gallon bag in front of us and told us to pick out what we wanted. We were stunned for a few minutes as we expected only a few pearls. So we made our deals and were on our way. It was another nice experience in paradise.

We had a quick sail for Fakarava, another atoll, the next day. The wind was up and we came though the first pass a little late so there was some rip and standing waves but Slick handled it in a very sea-kindly fashion. A few hours later he had a hit on the line, it was very small. Nate was about to pull the line in to reset the hook but then it was hit again. We thought it would be a small fish by the way it wouldn’t take the hook, but no. After trying to set the fish about 8 times it finally hooked and the fight was on. I slowed the boat down and Nate fought the fish pretty hard. Twenty minutes later we had a 45 pound marlin on bored. It was really a big fish. When we pulled into Fakarava we had a pretty good fish fry with Evergreens on Gypsy Heart. We gave away a great deal of the fish to other boats in the anchorage and had the guys from Ardea over for dinner the second night. The fish also gave us a few days of fish-whiches that were delicious. On Fakarava, I went for a 40 kilometer bike ride with the Evergreens. This might not seem like much but I was only wearing flip-flops and the seat on the bike was not adjustable and way too low, in addition to being a granny seat. Oh, and the front tire wouldn’t hold air. So it was a nice time, a real nice time. The next day we toured a pearl farm and learned all about black pearls. Wouldn’t you know it, the tour ended in the gift shop and we bought more pearls, much higher quality and much more expensive this time. But still very beautiful little agitations. We said good-bye to the Evergreens, probably for a long time. Slick was sad to lose her slower friend.

We sailed for Tahiti that day and the 240 miles was all beaming waves tossing everyone about. Again we had to go slow as we wanted to arrive in daylight. We tried to launch Helga, the small spinnaker, but she was twisted inside the sock and the sock line was further twisted so when we finally got the sock up there was an hour-glass in the sail with the furling line tied in it. So it took some time to get it down, but eventually it was fixed. So we put it up again and we were moving nicely for thirty seconds till the clutch slipped and then the sleeve of the halyard came undone and slipped further. To compound issues, the sock was stuck again so we had to bring the sail down fast. When it wouldn’t come easily we blew the tack-line and halyard which meant the chute went in the water, but better than the wind generator. In any case, we pulled it in and it didn’t even have any shrimp in it. This was the worst spinnaker SNAFU ever on Slick, ever. We just jib sailed after that, getting tossed about for 36 hours. But we arrived in Tahiti this morning and docked, yes docked, at the town quay. We got checked in and spent the afternoon eating cheeseburgers and seeing the biggest city that we have seen since Panama. Tomorrow my brother arrives with my nephew. He will stay for 5 weeks. Oh, and I finally got two tattoos that I have been meaning to get for say 13 years. I figured this was the right time and place.