If you're coming from Mexico after being in the Baha all summer, this may be a little retraining of the mind. ALWAYS, ALWAYS close your hatches when leaving your boat. You can bet as soon as you get far enough away from your boat to where it would be a pain to go back, it's going to rain. It rained on us everywhere we went and after not seeing rain for a full year in Mexico, it took us a while to get the hang of it (duh). Which leads me to my next item...
You'll have plenty of opportunities to catch rain for water so if you don't already have a method to do that, it might be a good time to think about it. We're lucky enough to have a pretty good system built in, but other methods like buckets and tarps work well enough too...you just have to come up with something and be ready.
If you're leaving from La Cruz, take advantage of the nighttime veggie place I talked about last year...they are by far the best veggies you will see for a long time. And if you don't already know how to cook with cheyotes, it's worth your while to figure it out. They last forever. You'll be throwing them out because you're tired of them, not because they went bad. Some ideas...take your favorite banana bread recipe and substitute shredded cheyote for the bananas...chop it up and put it in salads or coleslaw...cook it in stir frys or any other veggies you cook.
Lastly, if you're a meat eater, stock up in Mexico (everything we got from Carnes del Mundo was well worth the price). Ciguatera (fish poisoning) is rampant throughout the pacific and while you may be lucky with your fishing on your crossing, once you get in the various lagoons, you have to be careful. We know of AT LEAST five boats who caught ciguatera in the Marquesas and Tuamotos. Sure, you can ask the locals, but you get answers like "you can eat the fish to the left of that coral head, but not to the right." Hmmm....don't they swim back and forth? One of our conversations went like this... "Do you have ciguatera in this lagoon?" "Yes, we do" "Which fish can we eat?" "Well, you have to know which ones they are." "Yes, we understand that. Can you tell us?" "You shouldn't eat the ones with ciguatera." "Yes, we know that...do you know which ones they are?" "You can eat some of the parrot fish, but not all of them" "OK, thanks" and we went home and had a hamburger. Just be careful and unless you want to eat a lot of spam and canned corn beef, bring what you like from Mexico because meat is rather pricey once you get to the Marquesas. If you're a vegetarian (and even if you're not), bring lots of recipes for bok choy, cabbage and egg plant. You can get those just about everywhere.
I hope that was something new and at least mildly helpful for anyone still reading from Mexico...The passage from La Cruz to Hiva Oa is still our favorite passage to this day. I hope the winds are as good to the group this year as they were to us. Have fun, have lots of celebrations and if you're heading to Hiva Oa, don't be surprised if it looks like an island from Mexico when you first spot it...go around the corner and you'll see green, I promise. And when you see LOTS and LOTS of boats in the tiny little harbor, don't worry, you're still unique and congratulations are in order.
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