25 May 2006

19-25 May 2006 Noon Position Report

Baie de Taiohae, Nuka Hiva Island, Marquesas Islands (Still................)

Happy Birthday to Sister Janice!!!

Yes, we are still here at anchor. We have not left for the other side of the island as we said we were going to be doing in our last post. I (Tom) did not feel well. I had a fever, chills, and a sore throat. On the morning that we had planned leave, Amy went shopping, and I hung out to relax and hopefully feel better later. But that did not happen. So we postponed leaving for 24 hours.

We figured that if I kept popping pills, then in a few days everything would get better. It did... for a little while, until Amy caught it on Saturday. She had it really bad! Its the kind of sick you feel like when you are a small kid and not able to sleep because you are so cold and shaking (in the tropics!!!)

Both of us were not feeling well. Amy was getting worse, and mine was not going away. So on Sunday afternoon, we walked up to the island's hospital . The hospital is very small. The rooms all face each other in a circle, and the patient's room doors are open for ventilattion. Some patients just sat outside in front of their rooms watching the chickens and cats running around.

We checked in with a nurse that spoke a little English. She called a doctor at home, who drove up to the hospital about 5 minutes later. The doctor was French. but he also spoke English. So we were able to tell him what was wrong with us. He told us that there was an "epidemic" going around the island. We think its strep throat. He hooked us up with some Amoxicilline untill we could get to the pharmacy the next morning.

When we asked about paying, the nurse looked really confused. Her friend told her what we had asked and they both chuckled, saying that our visit was FREE!!!

On Monday morning I walked up to the pharmacy and got our 6 boxes of Amoxicilline, 2 boxes of Ibuprofene, and 2 boxes of throat losengers, all for $60.00. Not a bad price considering the doctors visit was free!!

Today is Thursday and we are operating at about 70%. Last night we even made it off the boat for pizza with our friends off Sensei and Blue Sky. The big question for the night was "What day is it?" We had to ask the waitress, since we were all on different days. Finding out it was only Wednesday was great.

We are to leave the Marquises as soon as we feel better, and are finished exploring Nuka Hiva . Team Sandpiper will have 675 mile run to the Tuamotus atolls. The Tuamotus are a group of 78 islands extending 1000 miles in a NW-SE direction. They are all coral atolls, unlike the Marquises which are volcanic islands.

What does this mean? While the Marquises Islands come straight up out of the water and have high mountains, the Tuamotu's are only coral reefs sticking just feet above sea level. Being just above sea level means that we can only approach then in daylight.

Also, being circular coral atolls, they have narrow passes in the reefs that we have to pass to enter the lagoons where the anchorages are.

Our current plan only has us stopping at only 3 of these atolls, Manihi, Ahe, and Rangiroa. We want to spend as much time at a smaller number of atolls versus spending a few days at more islands, which means having to cross more dangerous reef entrances.

Another reason also is that our next stop after the Tuamotus is Tahiti!

Have you noticed that I love run on sentences and the use of a comma? Using the comma, you can just keep on writing forever!!!!

From Ron:
  • Tom is not exaggerating when he says that the "islands" of the Tuamotu Archipelago are low. The high points of the dry land is only 3 feet above sea level. They are nothing but thin sandbars sitting on coral reefs.
  • Manihi Atoll is best know for the pearls and diving. There are some excellent photos here.
  • Some crusing photos from Ahe Atoll.
  • Rangori is the second largest atoll on the planet. Here is their official tourist web site, and photos of what Tom and Amy can expect to see. (Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands is the largest)
  • Tom and Amy are planning to visit the north end of the archipelago, which is the largest chain of atolls on the planet, roughly the size of western Europe. Here is good site about the atolls, about Rangiroa Atoll, and Manihi Atoll.
  • The total land mass of the whole archipelago is only 345 square miles. [Map].
  • The southern end of the archipelago is where France conducted 193 atomic bomb tests between 1966 and 1996.

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