June 17, 1997, Tuesday
We hoisted anchor at 2100 and headed out to Nuku Hiva. Our destination was to be Baie Anaho. We had heard that Anaho was like a millpond. We needed such an anchorage to be able to go up the mast and repair the lights that had been failing to work since departure from Cabo. Anaho was about 40 miles from Ua Pou. We had light winds when we left Ua Pou. As we got further from the island of Ua Pou the winds picked up a little bit. We were fortunate enough to be able to sail all of the way to Nuku Hiva. We had north, northeast winds and confused seas. This didn't seem out of the ordinary to us. This was all that we had seen since we had arrived in the Marquises Islands. Later we would find out that these winds were not the norm. It seemed no matter which direction we sailed; we had wind on the nose.
As we neared the northeast corner of the island, we saw a school of dolphins on our stern. Almost at the same time our fishing line made it's famous zinging sound. Phill grabbed the fishing line and I began to clear out the cockpit. If we really had a fish this time, we wanted to minimize the mess that we would have to clean up. Phill began to reel this monster in at a rate that seemed inches at a time. As luck would have it, the GPS needed attention at the same time. We were nearing our turning mark. Needless to say, the fish got priority on Phill's attention. The GPS could standby. While Phill worked on getting this fish onboard, I ran down below and gathered the instruments necessary to perform surgery (gaff hook, filleting knife, a towel, gloves, etc.). Since we had not caught a fish since we were off the coast of Cabo, we were not going to give up the battle for this critter very easily. As Phill continued to woo the fish closer to Mouse Pad, I began to adjust our course using the Autopilot instruments. I gave us a wide space at the corner of the island but gradually began the turn westward. A couple of times the fish jumped out of the water, teasing us and letting us know he was not coming on board without a fight. As he got closer to the stern of the boat, I grabbed the gaff hook and positioned myself to snag him. The only problem was that every time I thought he was close enough to grab him, he dove down and away from the boat. Phill says get him just behind the gills. Right, I'll be lucky to get him anywhere. After several swings with the gaff hook, I finally snagged him and not just behind the gills but rather in his midsection. We brought him on board and gave him a small cocktail to calm him down. Phill then proceeded to perform surgery on him. He began to fillet the critter. He was about three to four feet in length and was a beautiful yellow and green specimen. We still were not sure what we had caught but we were feeling pretty proud. We were finally going to be able to live off of the sea. As Phill began to fillet him, he started to get pretty frustrated. He felt that he was throwing away more of the fish than he was keeping. Being the devoted first mate that I am, I offered him reassurance. After all, filleting is an art that is acquired through practice. One could hardly expect a perfect job so early in the cruising season. In the end, we got five wonderful meals from this critter. It was so nice to have fresh fish to put in the freezer.
Once the excitement of the fishing session settled down, we resumed sailing. We probably added about two to three extra miles to our trip. We were pretty far north of the island and needed to correct course and head to Baie Anaho. As we got nearer to Anaho, we were not sure that we were at the right bay. We referred to Charlie's Charts and sure enough, we had found it. There were no boats visible but all of the other navigation references were right on. We trusted the navigational aids and continued on into the bay. As we got further into the bay we finally saw a few boats tucked back into the protection of the bay. There were three or four boats anchored on the southwest side of the bay. There was one boat tucked up against the north wall on the west side of the bay. We decided to slip in next to the boat on the north wall. We set the hook in 30 feet of water and readied ourselves for a peaceful stay in Anaho.
We noticed several dinghies heading to shore at similar times each day while we were in Anaho. We did not go ashore while were there. We had projects to do and did not need water or any other facilities that might be on shore. We later learned that when the tide was high the dinghies could navigate through the reef that surrounded the beach. When tide was low, the reef surfaced and prevented accesses to the shore (or access back to a boat if you happened to get caught on shore). There were two small fishing boats anchored at each side of the opening in the reef. This made it somewhat easy to navigate to shore when the tide was right.
While we were in Anaho, we experienced more than the average amounts of winds in the anchorage. The winds were coming from northeast and became pretty strong as they came off the saddle of the pass on the eastside of the bay. So much for a mill pond anchorage. Phill attempted to go up the mast on our second day in Anaho but this did not work. The winds were so strong and the surf coming into the bay was so strong that he could not steady himself at the top of the mast. I was the last person to question his judgment here. I was smart enough to know that I should just agree with him. I suspect that if I disagreed I would be elected to go up the mast. NO THANK YOU! We decided to forego the mast projects until we found an anchorage with better conditions.
While we were working on the mast projects I had the honor of running for tools and hoisting Phill up and down the mast. Sometimes I get to just hang around and anticipate what is going to happen next. Little to my surprise I was to encounter a bee that was having a very bad day. I was standing in the cockpit waiting to help Phill with one the projects on our list. I was leaning over the lifeline watching something insignificant. Little did I know but this bee that was in the midst of a very bad day was casing me. My chubby little upper right arm was his target for attack. I didn't hear anything but I was definitely aware when his weapon attacked me. Although I hadn't been a victim of a bee sting in many years, there was no mistaking what was going on. I felt the sting and slapped my arm. I did get the opportunity to fling this little monster into the air but not until he had left his stinger in the fatty part of my upper arm. I'm convinced that his stinger had to have been six inches in length. After I regained composure I realized that the stinger was no where near six inches in length. It only seemed this big. I plucked his stinger out of my arm and began to massage the area. It wasn't long until the arm began to swell and turn red. I had a nasty welt about the size of an egg growing on my arm. Normally, I do not have a serious reaction to bee stings. This one was going to be out of the norm from the get go. Maybe bees in French Polynesia are different. It eventually took about three weeks to get rid of the sting. Each day it grew in size and itched beyond belief. I applied whatever home remedy I could think of and prayed that it would go away. The heat of the tropics and my sweating didn't help. The welt continued to stay the size of an egg and was a constant reminder of this little critter that gave his life to my fat little arm. My real concern was whether or not I was having an allergic reaction to the bee sting. Fortunately, I was not. I just had to be patient and wait for it to go away.
We stayed in Anaho for three days and decided we were ready to see more of Nuku Hiva. Since we couldn't do our projects as planned we might as well go back to being tourists. On Friday we headed out of Baie Anaho and were en route to Daniel's Bay. This bay is on the southwest side of the island. Our plan was to round the top of the island and head down the west side in search of Daniel's Bay.
Paradise, Right Around The Corner- Hatiheu
One Man's Haven - Daniel's Bay
Off To The Big City - Taiohae
NOTE: Comments and suggestions should be sent to Jerry Reese, Council Bluffs, IA.
Created by the Skipper of Mouse Pad.
Copyright © 1995-2005 All rights reserved.
Revised: 19 September, 2005 .