Landfall in Marquesas
22 March 2009 | Nuku Hiva, Marquesas
Landfall, at last. It's been an amazingly smooth ride. Instead of taking the shorter route to Fatu Hiva, we chose Nuku Hiva, for a couple of reasons; our replacement engine parts are being shipped here and Mother Nature blew us in this direction. After officially checking in w/customs and immigration, we'll spend some time circumnavigating this island, and will then roam the remaining ones at our leisure. The Marquesas, a group of 12 islands, 7 of which have anchorages for sailing boats, were the first French Polynesian islands discovered in 1595. Paul Gaugin, Herman Melville, Robert Louis Stevenson and Jack London are just some of the people who have escaped to this land of paradise for creative inspiration. They certainly are awe-inspiring with the cliffs, needles and peaks all covered in lush green vegetation reaching over 1000 meters in height. To see land, especially terra firma so majestic as the Marquesas, was pretty moving. All of us were passing the binoculars around for hours just to admire them. I came up at 7:00a to do my morning 4-hour watch and felt magnetically pulled to sit down and stare at the island off our starboard side for sixty minutes, non-stop. I could not take my eyes off it. As we got closer, we started looking for man-made things, like houses, boats, and the like. Not until you get right into the harbor does the island even look inhabited. Tom's comment, "It looks prehistoric!" Many cruising friends have advised us to stay in the Marquesas as long as possible before moving onward. They look like they are certainly worth the journey. Speaking of the journey, here's some statistics: Days at sea: 18 Total miles: 3,140 Avg # miles per day: 185 Avg sailing speed: 7.72 knots Sailing time: 70% of trip Engine time: 30% of trip Fish vs Zen - Zen won Fish caught: 7 Fish kept: 5 Lures lost: 6 I am sure we'll have amazing stories after touring Nuku Hiva. Here's a little snapshot of this island: Population: 2632, area 340 sq km, it's the 2nd largest island in French Polynesia after Tahiti, offering rainforests, river valleys, cliffs and barren dessert. But, after our long passage, all we want to know...Do they have fresh baguettes and ice cream???