TNS458 02/04/2016

(Day 33)
Yesterday’s grey and squally weather did not auger well for our
arrival at the Marquesas Islands, a group of 15 islands in the northern-most
part of French Polynesia, which are spread over an area of 350 km. However,
today the weather has again been hot (31 degrees) and sunny, and the sea
reverted to the beautiful cobalt blue to which we have become so accustomed
during the 3,844 nautical-mile voyage since we left Puntarenas on 3 March.
When we left Costa Rica, we were accompanied by dolphins playing
below the bow-sprit. Today, others appeared as we neared the islands,
surfing parallel to the ship, just below the crests of the waves, then
suddenly leaping into the air with a show of exuberance before plunging down
once again below the surface.
The first sight of land this morning was the grey outline of the
island of Ua Huka, which we passed on our starboard side. Then the
silhouette of Ua Pou appeared to port, shrouded in cloud, just as the island
of Nuku Hiva began to take shape ahead – our first landfall since the Cocos
Islands (27 days ago).
As we approached the entrance to the beautiful Taiohae Bay (on the
south side of the island) we began handing the sails: Tenacious must have
looked an impressive sight as we entered the mouth of the bay.  From our
grandstand view, the island is also impressive, with its vertical volcanic
cliffs covered with lush vegetation and rising high above sea-level. (The
highest point on the island is 1224 metres.)
After anchoring, and then spending a pleasant interlude enjoying the
view and taking photos in the late afternoon sunlight, it was time to do the
harbour stows: always a lovely excuse to go out on the yards and view a new
destination from a different angle – it looks good and tomorrow we hope to
do some exploring. Captain Simon has already been ashore to make some
initial contact with the authorities here – he came back laden with local
beers, which was good as stocks were running very low!
Time to stop as our watch has anchor watch tonight from midnight to 4.00
Greetings to you all from French Polynesia!
Aft Port watch: Kate S, Charlie, Kath & Paul, David/Dave, Chris W and