Friday, June 29, 2007

Ua Pou

After leaving Fatu Hiva we headed to Tahuata, a small island to the north. This anchorage was our first taste of a small uninhabited Polynesian anchorage. Despite my healthy fear of sharks, (in the Marquisses they are known to be large and numurous), Mark and I paddled in our kayaks over to the next cove and had our first snorkel (besides cleaning the botton of Scholarship). There was very clear water and some of the best marine life we saw in the Marquisses. This was a short stop and after a beach birthday party for our friend Pokey we set out for the island of Ua Pou. Prounounced Wha-Pooh this was where we checked into the country. The customs boat had visited in Fatu Hiva but we still had to check in with the Genderme and pay a $1300 refundable bond that would allow me to stay in the country for three months. This is customary for Americans and lots of other nationalities but because of Mark's newly aquired Irish citizenship he was exempt. The check in process was uneventful. This is always a blessing and we were off to find baguettes and Hinano beer. We stayed in Ua Pou for a few days and enjoyed the benefits of the small cruise ship, the Aranui III. Because of the" cruisers" ( a very different breed than us) there was special crafts, food and dancing set up to give them a taste of Polynesian culture. Another fun thing was checking out the Aranui itself. We simply walked on and showed ourselves around. No one took any notice and it would be pretty amazing to anyone living in the US post 911. In San Diego the cruise ships are off limits all together. You cannot get to close to them in a dingy let alone show yourself around. The harbor at Ua Pou was stunning with huge volcanic spires.