As a new wave of COVID-19 lockdown hits Europe, the Polynesian islands also owned by the same nations tend to follow suit with their European masters. We anxiously awaited news of what it would mean for yachts as our intention was to cruise the Marquesas and head to the Tuamoto islands, Tahiti and onto the Society Islands. We found ourselves in a delightful anchorage surrounded by a lovely group of cruising couples and families and decided to stay put in this little part of paradise as a good place to be stuck if lockdown commences.
There are no roads or Infrastructure to the bay and there is a tiny hamlet of a local Polynesian village. No electricity or running water and certainly no WiFi or phone signal. In an hours hike along the stunning white beach and coconut backed coast and up into the next valley we can get to a small farm which sells home grown delicious local fruit and vegetables.
The villagers also grow a small amount too and will trade for items. The greenery shows the fertile land and we are able to pick and buy bananas, mangoes, watermelons, oranges, limes and the tastiest grapefruit ever.
The only way out of the bay is up over the mountain pass to the village on the other side which does have a road of sorts to it. It’s a strenuous steep uphill hike but the views are rewarding and on the other side is one restaurant and two tiny ‘shops’. If you arrived straight from the west you would not recognise these as shops as such, more a garden shed with a random assortment of a few items, mostly tins from China?! But we managed to find powdered milk, crackers and tinned butter. That has to be a first for us, tinned butter. It’s from New Zealand and apparently lasts for years (before opened). Looks like we can continue to bake then. The only slight set back is that you have to carry everything back up and down the mountain. It puts a new meaning to the word “popping to the shops”!
Never mind, we have more tins onboard than we can poke a stick at and we can start to make a dent in our pasta and rice stores too. You soon learn how much you can live without.
Our days continue with school in the mornings and beach play/ paddle boarding and exploring in the afternoon. We are anchored off a coral reef off the beach and there are sharks, turtles and manta rays that swim around. Chloe and I had a magical snorkel with a massive manta ray and shoals of yellow fish. Hiking to the farm or village over the mountain keeps us busy too! That and avoiding the viscous sand flies and mosquitoes. Our French is improving too as we chat to the locals and the mostly French cruising yachts.