The Aranui is the huge ship pictured in front of our boat and I think it is stalking us. It keeps arriving in harbors after we’ve anchored, sometimes dropping its enormous anchor and chain in the middle of the night scaring us crapless out of bed to find out what monstrosity is making that racket. It is the lifeblood of the Marquesas bringing…almost everything to the islands.
Atuona is a cute town with a crowded anchorage – crowded because it is a place where you can check in. There is a dinghy dock of sorts and an outdoor shower with unlimited slightly cold water (truly wonderful) right by the dock.
The landscape is still dramatic even though the anchorage is a bit chaotic and the town is a 2k walk on a road where everyone seems to stop to pick up people. We walked all of the way only once and the other times were picked up by drivers and given a ride even though we didn’t actively hitchhike.
We arrived in Atuona with four goals: clear into the country, get some local currency, and to leave with clean laundry and a big bag of baguettes, pain chocolat and croissants. We were foiled on the pain chocolat front – none available – but we left with the rest of the baked goods and all of the other errands.
The check in process was painless. We had an agent because we didn’t want to go through the process of paying (easy) and retrieving (less easy) the bond that you have to pay. We filled out a single form, no cash exchanged hands, and we left with a single piece of paper. MUCH less expensive than Mexico.