Hanavave Bay, Fatu Hiva - July 9 to 13 so far...
13 July 2019
We left Hiva Oa at 3am for a 12 hour passage to Fatu Hiva. The nights are generally quieter and there was some north east expected in this normally �"uphill�" ( against the wind) passage. It was squally and about 20 miles before the island the visibility dropped to 1/4 mile. So we followed our instruments toward the bay and had no idea what we were coming into until we were actually entering the bay. What a shock to the senses! I don�'t know how to describe this place. It is like entering a time warp (if you look beyond the few sailboats at anchor). Wild beauty- the high wooded cliffs with many just as high jagged guarding rocks which have eroded away from the main hills, surrounding a tiny village in the cut between the hills at the head of the bay. We knew the anchor was set well as we were battered by rachas coming off the cliffs. It poured all day so we stayed on the boat and caught up with our rest. Since leaving our friends in Juan Fernandez in May, we have been on our own until we arrived in Atuona, Hiva Oa. There were a lot of boats there, but no time to get to know anyone as we really wanted to get out of that crazy anchorage as soon as possible. The next two anchorages we were on our own again. So we were glad to finally be able to get together with other cruisers in this bay. We went for a walk to a spectacular waterfall with a young couple on Zoe, from Texas. On the way there we saw a few of the indigenous parrots only found on this island. The waterfall is about 60 metres high and forms a clear blue pool at the bottom which of course we jumped into. It was cold, but nothing like it would have been if it came off of an ice field! That evening the 4 of us arranged to buy dinner at a locals house and afterwards stopped to watch the local dancers practicing for a competition that is coming up on the weekend. The next day they had to leave, and we befriended another couple on Rambler from the Netherlands. That�'s the way it is out here, you make friends fast and enjoy their company so much you bond quickly and then miss each when you part ways and maybe never see each other again. Fatu Hiva is the only Island with authentic tapas ( material made from bark that is painted with traditional symbols) made in the most traditional way. Many locals also carve and we were very pleased to buy a some carvings and trade for tapas. Last night we watched the first night of the dancing competition. The dancers from the other town on the Island performed in their handmade costumes. The head dresses were made of petals formed from the shiny side of aluminum drink cans, necklaces out of covered bottles caps, and frills around the waists of the women out of plastic bags. Not to mention the beautiful head dresses on many women made from flowers and ferns. The majority of men and many women have traditional tattoos all over there bodies. We totally enjoyed it. The competition continues tonight in the next town, which we hope to go and anchor at today. Mind you its too gusty at present, so we may not make it. Im afraid pictures are the best way to describe our experiences here and we don�'t have enough internet to upload them and won�'t have for a while.
Hanaiapa Bay - July 3 to 8, 2019
13 July 2019
Hanaiapa Bay is similar to Hanamenu Bay between tall cliffs. But out of the desert zone now and lush with tropical vegetation and filled with its rich aromas.The anchorage is large and well protected for most of the year ( according to a local). We used a stern anchor to keep from getting crossways to the swell. You can use the cement dock to tie to if you drop a stern anchor. There is a small community here. The gardens and along the roadsides are manicured immaculately. We met a man in town called William who we had heard about. He is in his 70s has 5 �"kids�" and 17 grandkids and has been welcoming sailboats who stop in the bay for 30+ years. We visited with him a few times and traded a few things for grapefruit, bananas and mangoes. We were also able to pick up some windfall coconuts, mangoes, limes and tropical apples. The water is blue and the snorkelling good, although with the run off from the cliffs you must find a good spot. There is a good trail on the east side of town to the next bay. July is festival month in the Marquesas so we were treated with drumming practice on the beach in the evenings.. We plan to skip the next anchorage on the north side as its supposed to be hard to get to shore. We'll go around the north eastern tip of Hiva Oa to get a better angle on the wind toward Fatu Hiva
06 July 2019
June 30- July 3 This is a dramatic anchorage in the valley of two sleep rocky canyon walls with a sandy beach and two steams flowing into the head of the bay. When we arrived there were three other boats but by next morning they were gone leaving us alone in this surreal place. I say alone, but that isn�'t correct. There are two families that live on shore in what must be close to paradise in most people�'s reckoning. Although this is a desert canyon, water is flowing through it and the shore is an oasis with coconut palms and plenty of fruit trees of all sorts. Chickens run wild here and there are goats on the steep slopes. Yesterday we heard a couple of shots and with the binoculars we saw one of the locals had shot a goat and was now hanging and cleaning it on the path at the bottom on the cliff. On our way here the seas came splashing over the bow and as we found out when we arrived, getting into the unlocked hatch and soaking the bedding in the v berth. It was so windy the next morning we were nervous to leave the boat although it was holding well. Instead, I did a big hand wash laundry including duvet cover and sheet. I was hardly able to wring the big stuff out with my hands, but to my total amazement, everything was bone dry in a couple of hours in a 20+ knot wind! Who needs a spin drier or drier here?! In the afternoon the wind calmed and we went for a walk through the tiny settlement and into the valley, picking windfall mangos on our way. Not for the first time have I wished there was technology to take a picture of aroma on our walk. Last night as we sat in the cockpit under a star filled sky we saw saw a five second long shooting star or meteor entering he atmosphere. Today, after breakfast before the wind got up I went snorkelling. The visibility was good away from the river run off close to shore and also in the next bay over. Tons of fish- all shapes, sizes and colours.Dave was unable to come with me as he scraped his shin a couple of days ago and we don�'t want it to get infected. We watched two enormous manta rays swimming up and down the anchorage slowly across the bay with their mouths open feeding like whale sharks. In the afternoon we went ashore again for a walk and bought some coconuts and limes off one of the families. It�'s a wonderful place , but we will move to the next anchorage tomorrow as we are expecting strong winds and there is more protection in the next bay.
Chile to the Marquesas
29 June 2019
4000+ nautical miles from Antofagasta, Chile to the Marquesas and 37 days at sea. We have landed at Hiva Oa.
Unconsciously we prepare ourselves for a culture shock before we arrive anywhere. This time we find our Spanish jumps out proudly when we open our mouths. And then the blank expression on faces reminds us now it's time to recall our French responses.
We are ecstatic to be here, although dead tired, but too excited and too much pent up energy after so long at sea to take time to rest properly. Checking out facilities, walking a couple miles to town and back, hand washing laundry, cleaning up on board scraping the growth off the hull- all in heat which we haven't experienced since Panama. Very fortunately we have arrived in the rainy season . I have never loved rain so much.
I wasn't sure about arriving in a different country with fresh fruit and vegetables, cheese and meat, so we did our best to finish most things before we arrived. ( of course there is always canned and dried provisions to fall back on if required). There were no stores open on the weekend and as we arrived on Saturday morning, it was amazing to be able to pick up windfall mangoes on our walk to town to take care off our fresh food needs. On our walk, the air had a thick sweet aroma from what I think are the frangipani trees and flowers littered the road from the trees around. Behind the small town of Atuona, the island rises in steep craggy hills covered in tropical jungle like a scene from Jurassic Park.
We used an agent here, Sandra, from "Tahiti Crew" to cover our bond and smooth the process of a long stay visa. She also runs a little hut on the point west of the anchorage which provides internet usage and coffee 6/week from 8:30-10:30am. The bond process and checking in is actually easy enough to do without an agent, but everything about the long stay visa has been expensive and complicated so we decided to make sure it was guaranteed.
On our crossing we broke two of our rules- take the jenniker (the large light sail) down when the winds got over 16 knots and don't leave it up at night. The result was, one night we ripped one of the panels out or our thirty year old jenniker. Luckily that was the last of the very light winds so it didn't make a difference to the rest of our trip. Also, luckily, there is a boat works yard here just above the anchorage which has a new sail loft and had recently hired an experienced sail repairer. It looks like a very good yard to leave your boat as well, if required. Vincent, who owns it is an aircraft maintenance engineer, like Dave so he's got our approval!
The anchorage itself is small and crowded and has a fouled bottom so after we get a few more things lined up, we are looking forward to exploring the other anchorages and islands. We may not have enough wifi strength to post photos but assuming we will, if we ever get internet again, I'll post more pictures later.
23 May 2019
Dave and I often find ourselves saying or thinking, "I love Chile!" or "I love Chilean People" . We usually catch ourselves thinking this when expecting difficulty and instead receiving a genuine welcoming, that immediately puts us at ease; we are given clear directions; treated kindly and made to feel safe. It makes me wonder if we treat foreigners so well in our own country - even if they are struggling with the language. Our passage from Coquimbo to Antofagasta took 4 days. We powered when we ran out of wind, as time was now of the essence to get back to Santiago to sort our visas out hopefully for the last time. Entering the yacht club at Antofagasta was exhilaratingly - led through the narrow entrance by a fellow from the marina who came to meet us in a small boat. Once inside with 2 lines to the dock, one on a mooring ball and our anchor well set, we could feel safe to sit back and watch the surf from the Pacific bash up against the reef. There was a family of sea lions who had taken over our dock so we paddled the dinghy to another dock to get to shore. The usual Chilean welcome from the staff at the marina.... One overnight bus to Santiago and a flight back with our visas in hand again and we are fairly confident they are good this time. Antofagasta is a busy port city against a backdrop of desert mountains. It used to be part of Bolivia, and I think before that it was Peruvian. It is still an important copper transport hub. There are lots of examples of turn of the century architecture dotted around looking slightly neglected. Provisioning was easy with all the big supermarkets, but we were unable to find the street market that usually has the fruit and vegetables that are freshest and will last the longest. Our timing was wrong to get a tour of one of the most important observatories in the world, so we rented a car and took the coast road to Tocopilla. The scenery was amazing - moon-scape desert with desert mountains in the background all rolling into the sea. The predominant winds from here go pretty well directly to the Marquesas, so we have decided to spend our 6 month visa there. Its 4000 nautical miles away and should take us around 35 days. We are now on day 7. The last few days were rough as we just passed through a high pressure system with average 30 knot winds and big seas. Can't do much when that happens - just keep sails adjusted, take care of the boat and try not to move much in case you get thrown around. But we managed to get used to our night watches, keep rested and eat well and now we feel accustomed to the voyage. The wind and seas have settled today and we have made water, Dave trouble- shooted a problem with the wind vane, we both had showers and I did a small laundry. We are seeing masked bobbies again, and other familiar seabirds. Life is good
Ready to leave Chile to French Poly?
30 April 2019
Late summer in Valdivia - Warm sunny days, picking berries, laundry out, a pair of grebes courting romantically in the water close by. It’s a peaceful scene. Under the peaceful surface, though, there is a steady buzz of preparation going on. Last minute jobs, testing equipment, preparing food, provisioning, watching the weather. There were 3 boats at the Alwoplast dock, and we were are all planning on leaving to Isla Juan Fernandez within the next few days.
Dave, Dominic and I arrived in Valdivia more than 3 years ago; on April 2, 2016. Who’d a thought we’d be leaving on the same day three years later?! Sans Dominic this time.... Within that time Heart and Soul and her soulmates traveled through the Chilean Patagonian fiords to Puerto Williams and around the horn. So many memories of friends, experiences, and breathtaking scenery.
I recently required a trip home for some medical tests and returned mid March to Santiago. I’m pleased to say that all the tests were fine. Dave was there to meet me and we spent the next few days enjoying Santiago, generously hosted by a friend who lent us her flat. All things felt right in the world again- back with my sweetheart.
We walked for miles in Santiago including about 6 times to the printing shop to make sure we had all our paperwork right to apply for our extended stay in French Polynesia.
2 1/2 weeks later we were off the dock and heading for Isla Juan Fernandez- not bad...
The trip to Juan Fernandez was fast and sometimes furious with winds up to 40 knots from our stern quarter. I usually feel seasick anyways for the first few days when we head offshore so we couldnt have got there fast enough, as far as I was concerned. It is so reassuring to see a fellow sailor out there, and for the whole way, we were close to Galadriel. Liberataire (from Estancia dock) arrived a a day ahead of Galadriel and ourselves. Kini was delayed from leaving arrived a few days later.
Isla Juan Fernandez is also known as Robinson Crusoe Island as Daniel Defoe, an author in the 1700s, wrote a book based loosely on the life of Alexander Selkirk. Selkirk had voluntarily stranded himself on this island rather than continue on with the unseaworthy ship he was on. Apparently he lived there alone for four years before he was brought back to civilization by a passing ship. Interestingly, one of his great great great great...relatives in England was visiting the island when we were there, and gave a talk at the local library.
Anyways, there are fantastic trails all over the island. ( In fact, very few roads). We walked up to Selkirk lookout which is steep and has amazing views from all directions at the top. A group of a dozen or so locals on horseback were on there way back from a camping trip and stopped at the top with us to rest the horses. Isabella, the one year old in our group was a real hit with them as she was born in Chile.
On the night before we left, we had an amazing meal at La Petit Brueilth, a local hostel with a French cuisine with our friends on Kini.
On our trip back to mainland Chile we headed northeast to Coquimbo, a safe anchorage close to the start of the desert region.
After a bus trip to Santiago, we now have our FP visas in hand. BUT of course just when we thought we were finally free to start the trip, our agent tells us the visas were done wrong. NEVER GIVE UP! We are now going to take Heart and Soul up the coast to Antofagasta while the Embassy is otherwise on a week holiday.
More later before we finally go into the Pacific again!