24 June 2008 | South Pacific
Day 16 got cut short at about 135 miles due to our arrival in Faut Hiva. It was certainly the most spectacular and anticipated landfall we have ever experienced. We were at sea for 15 days and 22 hours. It was a wonderful passage. No bad weather, good wind for most of the trip and, other than an obnoxious mixed wave pattern here and there, all you could ask for in a two week trip.
Fatu Hiva is perhaps the most beautiful anchorage we have ever been in. The hills are so lush and green and the rock spires and sheer cliffs are just as you would imagine when contemplating an idyllic south pacific island. There is a nice secure quay behind a break water and you can see the bottom easily at 30 feet.
We spent a lot of the day finding a good spot. Our first attempt was close in but the bottom on the north east side of the bay is all rock bottom. The winds are light but I just didn't want to lie to a bight of chain. After a snorkel we found the sand line at 30 feet. Unfortunately there are a number of boats in the bay and the only free spaces were filling up quickly. Two other boats arrived after us leaving the outside as the only real option. Maneuvering in close quarters at low speed with one prop 4 meters off of the center line is tricky to say the least. We finally came to rest in 60 feet of water. Conditions are clam and it is crowded (small bay and nine boats, folks in front, behind and to the the left, with a rock wall to the right) so we are sitting on 200 feet of chain.
The wind comes from the east at night but around 11AM it switches to a sea breeze blowing everyone onto shore. The switch happened right while we were re-anchoring which made things interesting. It is supposed to howl down the valley when the wind is up but the trades are in the single digits for the next two days.
Our friends on Enki, a Halberg Rassy 48, were here in the bay when we arrived. Nobu and I had just finished cleaning up the outside of the boat when they stopped by for a chat. We probably need another day of clean up before Swingin' on a Star is back in proper shape after two weeks of 24 hour watches.
We took a dinghy ride around the bay and nearby cliffs in the afternoon. It is all impressive with sheer cliffs, steep slopes covered in palms and grasses and rocky towers shooting up from the surf with keyhole passages carved into them.
Some friends we met in Shelter Bay, Panama were here when we arrived and invited us to the evenings cruiser party. It was a lot of fun mixing with all of the salty passage makers. Great folks all.
Back at the boat Hideko fed us dinner and made a cake. Yum. Everyone will sleep long and hard tonight.
Nobu says: "It was a great passage on Swingin' on a Star"
Hideko says: "Fatu Hiva was worth traveling 3,000 miles to see. When I saw the anchorage I forgot about the passage."