Monday, May 16, 2016

Fatu Hiva, Marquesas, French Polynesia
Saturday May 7 thru Wednesday May 11, 2016

Our first land fall was at the island of Fatu Hiva / Fatuiva, as we approached from the east only high jagged steep mountains could be seen.  As we came around to the west side of the island the Baie Hanavave was in sight. [Bay of Virgins, actually originally named Bay des Verges (Bay of Penises) by the first Spanish explorers due the shape of a number of prominent rock formations.  But when the priests arrived, they changed that to Bay des Vierges (Bay of Virgins)].  The rock cliffs surrounded by green mountains and valleys is an impressive sight, looking just like it did to Captain Cook some 300 years ago.  We found a great spot to anchor in close in 24 feet of water by 9 AM, there were 7 other boats already anchored, one that had arrived just before us. 

I called my sister to let her now we had anchored safely.  Still tired from an uncomfortable last night at sea we went about cleaning the boat up a little.  Then launched the dinghy and mounted the outboard, it would not rotate well so Steve got the grease gun out and fixed that problem, glad that it started right up.  Fatu Hiva is not an official entry point to the Marquesas, but being a French territory they are not as strict with the rules.   We had talked to several boats that had stopped here first and had heard that this was not an uncommon practice.

We went to shore to walk on land, a great spot to do so after 28 days at sea being surrounded by blue, now we were surrounded by green.  Lush green mountain sides beautiful flowers and fruit trees.  There are only about 600 people living on this island in the 2 villages.  NO bank so no way for us to get any local $$. We really did not intend to buy anything just wanted to walk.  We were approached first by a man wanting to trade for fruits.  Bartering had not even crossed our minds, he wanted fishing lures or lines or cigarettes or rum none of which we had.  We explained we had just arrived and had no $$ and if we thought of something to trade with would come back.  Walking more into the village we met another man Poa also wanting to trade for fruits pamplemoss = giant grapefruit.  Again we explained our situation, he spoke a little English and had us go with him while he picked some lemons and pamplemoss than brought us back to his house gave us each a banana and we all shared a grapefruit.   Carving is a big thing in the Marquesas, so he showed us some of his work.  Besides wood pieces he also carved cow bone.  Steve asked him how he carved the small pieces and was told he used a dremel tool.  Steve said he had some small bits and would bring one to trade for the few pamplemoss and lemons we left with.  Back to the boat by 2 a nice swim and then a long nap.  Waking up around 6 for a light dinner with a cool breeze and an early night back to bed.

Sunday a partly cloudy day, with the cloud stuck on the high peaks of the mountains.   A few light short showers.  A quick run into the village to give Poa his dremel bit.   Back to the boat to work on the watermaker repair.  Once the extra fenders and dive & snorkel gear are moved out of the way Steve had access to the watermaker.  The problem was with the power to the booster pump.  The connectors were all heat sealed, but somehow water had gotten into the negative connector and corroded the wire.  After cleaning it up and replacing the connector, the pump ran and the watermaker worked for about 15 minutes, then kept restarting.  Vapor locked.  After half an hour of creative burping the water supply circuit, it restarted.  Only an all afternoon fix.  The actual fix took only about 15 minutes, but digging out the tools and putting them away added another 4 hours.  Just life on a boat. 

Monday morning we took a hike to the waterfall, there was a map posted by the school that I had taken a picture of and we printed it out.  Only a few roads available, we still missed one of the turnoffs from the dirt road to the trail but met up with some locals paving a new road and they told us where to find the trail.  We missed it because it was blocked off with some rocks piled up in front, on the way back a guy was there with a tractor moving them guess to help with the paving of the road.  We learned the following day they are building a Hydro Electric Dam so maybe the road has something to do with that as the other village on the island is in a different direction and already has a road to it.  The trail starts off nice, but soon gets narrow and steep and hard to follow.  Cruisers doing the hike previously have placed cairns along the way to guide you in the right direction and it was pretty easy to follow, I was very glad I had my trekking poles with me.  The water was cool and refreshing and we had a nice swim before heading back.  Back to the boat by 1, lunch then dropped the genoa sail so Steve could repair the sails sun cover that had started to come apart.  First using the heat gun to stop any further unraveling then hand stitching.  A good temporary repair until we can find a sail repair person with a sewing machine. 

Tuesday a cloudy day with light showers.  Steve finished up on the sail repair, changed the fuel filters and we defrosted the freezer, and started to clean the bottom of the boat.  You know you had a slow passage when you get slime & mildew at the water line plus we had these nasty looking tube worms attached on the transom and waterline. 

Wednesday morning the winds were howling down the mountains into the bay.  Sunrise & sunsets are early here around 5:30.  We got underway by 6:30 and had double reefs in both sails, doing 8 knots in speed in 4 foot short interval seas, so a lot of spray coming over the boat.  Our 40 mile, 6 ½ hour trip to Hiva Oa was wet & wild & made us kind of glad we had a slow passage.  We called on the VHF radio to say we were arriving and were told that check in would be Friday morning and that it would be OK for us to go ashore in the meantime.   Time to explore another island, to be continued ….

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