Thursday, May 12, 2011
The Polynesians are very serious about their tikis. While all have all but abandoned their ancient religion for Christianity, they still maintain the belief that a great ‘mana’ or spiritual energy can emanate from the tikis. This vibe, so to speak, is sometimes good and sometimes not so much. It is out of respect and perhaps fear for this superstition that leads Polynesians to believe that a tiki should not be moved, or even touched. This makes breaking the rules ‘tapu’, a word familiar in the English language (and adopted from the Polynesian word) as ‘taboo’. Grave and mysterious consequences can befall anyone who does not obey the tapu. Uh-oh. You may recall from our road trip photos that we did a lot of tiki touching.
Or perhaps we were just not meant to leave Taiohae Bay? It could be that we are supposed to wait for our friends aboard Ceilydh to receive their new rudder so that they too can leave?
Whatever it is, we have tried to leave this bay for the last 3 days, and each day some other event has prevented us from doing so. On the first day, it poured like we hadn’t seen it rain since arriving. Day Two began with us turning on our generator only to find that it was time to change the impeller, a small rubbery cog that brings freshwater into and through the generator motor, which is necessary for that motor to operate. While doing that, Michael also decided to clean in and around the engine. Once that was done, it felt like it was too late to leave.
Then, yesterday, when we went to raise our anchor, it wasn’t coming up as easily as usual. When we tried to work it out, the rode split in half just above the chain, sending 120 feet of chain plus our 55 lb. anchor (not to mention $$$) to the bottom of the bay, 30+ feet below. [The rode is the 150 or so feet of rope that runs between the boat and the chain, used in the anchoring system when we need more than 120 feet of the chain we have.] The rode had been showing signs of wear and we knew we would have to deal with it at some point, just not then.
Losing an anchor is a likelihood at some point of one's cruising career if you are out long enough. When it happens, it sure is inconvenient.
We’ve spent the last two days searching for our anchor. Several other boats have helped us ‘dredge’ for it, involving pulling a long line with weights at the end and a hook anchor called a grapnel. The idea is to travel back and forth in the general area where you think you lost your anchor, praying that the grapnel will ‘grap’ something (hopefully your chain, anchor or rode). Our friends on Evergreen dove the area for several hours using their homemade hookah (like a scuba tank only it sits in the dinghy with about 50 feet of tubing that leads to the diver’s mouth piece). No luck. Today, our friend Yp aboard Aeolous, a former Danish navy diver, went diving using the hookah, but again to no avail. Yp has this very calming way about him, and seeing our anxiety, gently came to the rescue. He advised on the approach to our anchor search, and was even willing to dredge using his own big boat if the dinghy trolling was not effective. He was just what we needed. He and Michael went dredging for a bit, and after a few false positives, hooked something hard. After diving the area, Yp came up with a nice smile and two thumbs up – our rode had been located!
Jubilantly, Michael and Yp figured out how to haul the chain and anchor back into our anchor locker. We’ve attached a new stronger rode, and we’re hoping to raise anchor tomorrow morning after nearly two weeks in Taiohae Bay. Were hoping to explore more of the island of Nuku Hiva, but you can be sure that when we come across a tiki, we’ll just smile and move on.
Taiohae Bay, Nuku Hiva, Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia