Tin Tin's Sailing Calendar

Friday, 28 April 2017

Robert Louis Stevenson's favourite bay

We had rain, rain, rain all night, but thankfully it cleared by breakfast and we had a great bash to windward up the most spectacular coast. Great spires of rock framed by impossibly high cliffs disappearing into cloud, dark rock spines jutting out to sea, sometimes lightly coated with green icing sugar vegetation, and sometimes bare, dark chocolate.

As we left the drama of Taipivai Bay, a huge tuna jumped clear out of the water ahead, and shortly afterwards a school of dolphins curved past, without bothering to investigate us.

The wind was blowing 28-33knots from the ENE so we were close hauled with double reefed Genoa, tacking out south east before we could talk to clear the northern headland. Once past the point we eased sail, and picked up speed. A pod of very large dolphins joined us, enthusiastically leaping clear of the waves to view us.

We finally turned into Hahahei bay, guarded on the left by what seems to be a giant trolls head with helmet spikes of black rock. At the far end of the bay a Giants castle of spikes loomed high above a little waterfront village. The sun came out and the sky was blue and the boatt was draped in washing, most of which has had innumerable rinse cycles in rain storms. We went ashore in the dinghy to a little pier where we manage to lap ashore between the surge of the swells. Everyone except me wore long trousers and long-sleeved shirts because the sailing directions say that it is teeming with mosquitos and NoNos. Last week Emily's Nono bites were a shocking revelation of what invisible insects can do!

The village was very charming set along the waterfront, with a little shop, a yellow post office and Yvonne's Restaurant. The latter is reputed to be the best in the island, so we booked a table. Determined to find the local archaeological site, Justin and Anne set off up the road out of the village and we eventually found what we wanted. It was a very large Marie, or sacred ceremonial site, with a large flat area of grass bounded on the long sides by terraces of stone for spectators. At the far end a stone plinth was where human sacrifices were displayed, and beyond that a higher platform was where the chief and dignitaries would be housed. It was very extensive, having been built in 1250 AD, remaining in use till the 1800s. It was rediscovered in 1957 and rehabilitated in 1987.

Back in the village as the sun set, we enjoyed supper with Yvonne, an elegant elder lady who had set up her restaurant in 1978. She had us four and two others tonight and served very good fish dishes with breadfruit and other vegetables

Our return to TinTin was along the track to the port, which was lit periodically with street lamps. Nonetheless the walk involves wading across a river and sloshing through thick mud. At the dock a man was fishing and his wife was gutting the substantial catch.

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