Posted by: catamarantwooceans | June 3, 2009

The Marquesas – Fatu Hiva

28.05.09 – Thursday – We woke up at 0500 with the intention of departing at 0530 on the 45 miles trip to Fatu Hiva. This will be against the wind and the waves and this is why a lot of people make Fatu Hiva the first landfall in the Marquesas. This is not a port of entry, the authorities forbid it and even fine those they catch. Our departure was delayed a bit by a ship entering the bay and blocking the pass but when she was out of the way we went out. We sailed hard on the wind, sometimes as much as 30 degrees to starboard of our desired track. 15 miles from Fatu Hiva we were hit by a squall with high wind and rain. With 7 miles to go another one came. When it passed the wind disappeared and we motored the last 5.5 miles to Baie de la Vierge, where we wanted to anchor. Getting closer to the island the visibility improved and we could see details ashore and also some yachts at anchor.

How can I describe this bay without getting back to all those superlatives I want to run away from? I’ll give it a try: The mountains on both sides of the bay fall steeply into the sea. On the right the terrain is covered by palm trees. On the left huge cliffs tower over a few buildings, one of them a church. At the head of the bay you see more cliffs, on the right a monolith reminding me of the sculptures on mount Rushmore. On the left another one; together they form a narrow pass into the valley beyond. All around the mountains heads are in cloud and everything is so green!

Fatu Hiva

Fatu Hiva

Fatu too

Fatu too

Monolith

Monolith

I sailed in the Med and all around the Caribbean, Pacific Panama and Costa Rica, cocos, Galapagos – THIS is the most beautiful bay I have ever seen. A bit difficult to anchor, close to shore we dragged on rocks but in deeper water the anchor dug and held in the sandy bottom. We sat and looked at our surroundings. Unbelievable!

29.05.09 – Friday – In the morning we went ashore, taking the dinghy into the small harbour which is protected to seaward by a good breakwater and towads land by a nice stone tiki.

Port guardian

Port guardian

The village turned to be much bigger than seen from the boat. We took a turn into the jungle, walking the muddy trail up the hill. On the way we collected and ate mangos that fell from trees as well as a green coconut lying on the path and small fragrant lemons. Going back we passed a house where a young man was busy carving wooden tiki. He showed us a stone tiki and a big wooden drum that he made for an exposition in Tahiti.

Stone Tiki

Stone Tiki

He gave us grapefruit from a tree in his garden, refusing our offer to pay. Back to the boat to put all the goodies and then I wanted to walk around some more.

We have fruit!

We have fruit!

Zvi decided to stay on board so I went ashore by myself and walked along the main road going out of the village. I knew that there was a waterfall somewhere and tried to locate it, but took the wrong road and missed it. Still, a nice trek in the jungle made me feel good.

Fatu Hiva view

Fatu Hiva view

The people in the village don’t seem to be too busy. You see many people just sitting in their yards, watching the world go by. The Polynesian type is so different from all we encountered in Central America. Many of the locals are heavily tatooed,obviously there is a tatoo artist in every village.

Tatoo man

Tatoo man

The children are smiling and eager to communicate.

Kido

Kido

In the afternoon the same ship we saw in Atuona arrived, discharging a load of passengers who roamed the little harbourwhere the locals put up some stalls with things they make. After they went back to their ship, we went ashore to investigate the local grocery store. We were looking for tomatoes and bread but none were available. We could get onions from New Zealand, though. It is amazing that they do not grow basic crops in this super fertile land, importing them from abroad instead. The main crops here are coconuts, for the oil industry and bananas, that you see hung in every house.

Copra

Copra

Bananas

Bananas

Speaking of houses – most of them are prefabricated affairs, quite nice, each having a sattelite antenna.

typical home

typical home

When it started raining we rushed back to “Two Oceans” as Zvi remembered he left some hatches open. The rain gave an opportunity to some cruisers to come out on deck naked. Regretfully, not the pretty girl from the Swiss boat…

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