Monday, April 18, 2016

After 16 days on Passage, Imagine Waking Up Here

On advice from friends already in the Marquesas, we skipped entering the crowded harbor of Atuana on Hiva Oa, and anchored instead in the pitch blackness of a cloudy rainy evening about an hour after sunset at a cove called Hanamoenoa on a nearby island called Tahuata. It was easy enough to find and enter as there were no reefs or hazards at the entrance to the bay. We quickly tidied up and went to bed. This was the first time either of us was able to sleep for more than about 5 hours in two and a half weeks. It was pure luxury to wake up, and realize it was ok to roll over and go back to sleep because there was no watch to stand.

Imagine then, when the sun came up and we climbed the ladder to go on deck and look around. The cove we had anchored in was stunningly beautiful with a white beach, glistening palms, water so clear you could see the anchor on the bottom forty feet down, and fragrances coming from land that included earth, jasmine, gardenia maybe some vanilla. The image and impact of suddenly being no longer on passage, but instead anchored in such lush and beautiful surroundings will forever be the memory Deb has of arrival in the Marquesas, like the memory John has carried of his arrival here 45 years ago, which forged the dream to return one day.

A couple of cups of coffee later, reality set in. Moonshadow was still in passage mode, with spinnaker sheets, preventers, and jury rigged boom vang lines to derig, wash and stow; awnings to rig; water to make; batteries to charge; five loads of laundry to do; salt crystals on every square inch of the hull, deck and hardware to wash off; the dinghy needed to be launched from it’s blue water perch on the foredeck; the outboard winched overboard and into the dinghy. Down below, there was lots of cleaning to do and putting away of binoculars, cameras, books, flashlights, etc. that till then seemed just fine out and about, but now were just clutter. By three o’clock we realized we’d been working non stop since morning coffee, but the only thing left to do was a jump in the 89 degree Pacific, shampoo, soap suds and finally the very last thing. John shaved!

That first night on anchor was a shock to our systems which had adapted to short shifts for sleep and long hours of sailing, but the second night was the true rebirth into the realm of normalcy. We slept like the Marquesan stone Tikis and woke to yet another beautiful day in our new home: Paradise.

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