18 April 2008 | Fatu Hiva, Marquesas
Fatu Hiva, April 11 and 12
We pulled into Baie Hanavave (also known as the "Bay of Virgins") on the island of Fatu Hiva Friday evening. This is without a doubt the most spectacularly beautiful place we have anchored in to date. Until I'm able to post some pictures (and of course pictures never do a place justice) you can google "Bay of Virgins", Fatu Hiva and you'll see what I'm talking about.
The bay isn't very large and unfortunately there were already 13 boats there. As a result we had to anchor a little further out, still fairly close to shore but in 100 (!) feet of water, rather than the 30-60 feet depths the other boats were in. We'd never anchored in such depth before and we put out our entire length of chain, so just about 300 feet. Thank goodness we have an electric windlass to haul that back up. If that fails it's up to John to haul up that chain hand over hand- and that's not anyone's idea of a good time!
About an hour after we arrived, Shambala, an Australian boat, pulled in and dropped their anchor. Shortly after that, they dinghied over so we could finally meet face to face. (We'd been talking to them on the radio for almost 2 weeks.). While the adults chatted in the cockpit, the kids got down to business playing "Follow the Leader", "Hide and Seek" (not too challenging on a sailboat!) and "Clue, Jr."
That night I slept like the dead! My first full night's sleep since we left Zihuatanejo. Unfortunately John didn't fare quite so well. He was a bit concerned about our anchor and began the night sleeping in the cockpit so he could be sure we didn't drag our anchor. (Being the Captain ain't all fun and games!) A rain squall blew through sometime in the middle of the night so he rushed closing hatches and portholes. (I contributed by closing the one above my head and then falling back into my luxuriously deep slumber.)
Saturday morning we got up and John worked above deck getting the dinghy re-inflated and ready for action, while I began the task of putting the below-decks back in order. Later in the morning we headed to shore bringing with us 8-year-old Coco from Coco Kai. Our friends from Shambala was heading that way too. They picked up a boy from Candine, and two little girls from 59th Street Bridge so it was quite the shore party.
We'd read in the cruising guide that there was a spectacular waterfall just an hour's walk from the village. We got directions from a very kind local named "Iris" who walked with us for a bit and practiced her English while I practiced my French.
The path to the waterfall began easily enough but quickly devolved to a mere goat trail. We were easily more than an hour into the walk (granted we weren't breaking any speed records) and were now dealing with such SERIOUS over growth that we were wishing we'd brought a machete. or at least proper hiking shoes and some WATER for the love of Pete! When Lily from 59th Street Bridge decided she would be better served to forego the waterfall and head back (her feet were really hurting her) I jumped at the chance to escort her back. I thought both Maddie and Sophie would go with me as they'd been complaining a bit (we're SO out of shape from the passage!) but Maddie decided to soldier on.
Later the trail became more overgrown AND steep so John and Maddie turned back. We found out later that the fabled waterfall was just a bit further than that, and a bit dry, so maybe we'll give it another go another day, more properly equipped. Then again, maybe not.
Later that evening the Shambala kids came over. Tara and the girls watched a DVD while Karl taught John Mexican Train- a great game of Dominoes. I headed over to Don Pedro to use his Winlink system to email home. (For some reason I cannot connect to any Winlink stations in this anchorage. that means no SSB emails or blog updates. We're feeling a bit cut-off).
Fatu Hiva April 13
This morning while we were doing school, two young men in a small fishing boat came by and offered oranges for trade. We quickly offered cola, or t-shirts or sunglasses but they didn't want any of that. What they really wanted was wine or rum but John and I don't feel it's good practice to provide liquor to the locals. Plus, c'mon, the oranges grow on trees like crazy here. I'm not giving up my wine that easy! We finally intrigued them with a tin of smoked oysters and received about 10 lovely sweet, juicy green oranges in return. They tasted a bit like heaven after so long without any fresh produce.
Later on the girls got a call on the VHF from the kids on Shambala asking if they could come over and play. The girls did their "girl" things and 10-year-old Karl brought his double-twelve dominoes so he, John and I got a game going. I LOVE that game!
In the evening we went to dinner on shore. A few of the locals invited us and the other cruisers to dinner at their home- they were basically setting up a "restaurant" for the night. It was a bit expensive but we decided that this might be one of those memory-making experiences, and we were right. Turns out there were about 25 of us. We met on the beach and headed up to the house in a big group. The group was made up of folks from Holland, England, Australia, and Germany as well as the good ol' U.S. The spread consisted of local cuisine: chicken cooked in coconut, rice, "poisson cru" (which is fish in coconut milk), breadfruit, papaya salad, and for dessert ice cold pamplemousse, a sweet juicy fruit that resembles grapefruit.
After dinner our hosts played some lovely music and all the kids began dancing with a couple of the little local girls. We also were shown some of the beautiful wood carvings and tapas that this island is known for. John's favorite was an elaborate Marquesan war club.