Fatu Hiva is truly as pretty as everybody says - 6.5.2013

Mon 6 May 2013 05:48
10:27.8516S 138:40.0595
Fatu Hiva is as pretty as everybody says!
Fatu Hiva, Isles Marquises, French Polynesia

We had stayed 4 days in the pretty Hanamoenoa Bay of Tahuata Islands. The perfect place to relax and get some boat projects done, with its pretty white beach and clear blue water.
Snorkeling, we often saw small manta rays (which are still bigger than a normal spotted eagle ray!), an octopus, and Jacky even saw one shark, snatching the carcass of a filet fish Michael had thrown overboard. The paradisic setting was only spoiled by stinging jelly fish, other unpleasant stinging things in the water and some flies and mosquitos ashore.
Unfortunately, I also react a bit allergic to these bites and the stings and itches and the suffering lasts for about four days. Not wanting to be able to go into the water at all, I resorted to getting dressed before entering the water: long sleeve rash guard with collar and panty hoses that cover me up to my heels. Like that, they can only get me on my neck and hands - which has actually happened.

Also good time to start the sowing machine project: The first job for our great brand new machine Michael had brought from Boston was to fix the spinnaker sock. Unfortunately, he had forgotten one of the many little bags with bits and pieces. Fortunately, my McIver could recreate the two pieces I dearly needed out of a chop stick, using a drill and a tap and dye set (to make threads) and a base for the thread cone out of some plastic we had, while I was watching the 3 hours introduction video - time well spent. This Sailrite is a special heavy duty machine made from sailors for sailors and can sow through 1cm thick layers of leather, nylon straps, sunbrella and similar.
So I spent almost 2 days in getting familiarized with it, doing a little simple sowing project as a start, and then repairing the ripped sock, which I had to patch at several places with some thin material we used from an old kite.

The day before yesterday (Sat May 4) we had moved after lunch to another bay, just 5nm further south along the coast. Jackie had paddled to the little poblation around the corner, and even found a church and a bakery and came back with nice fresh baguette!

Unfortunately, I missed church and the beautifully singing Polynesian people again, as Michael was eager to use some favourable wind to leave early in the morning to sail to Fatu Hiva.
Again unfortunately, the wind didn't do what it was said to do. It got less and less, and after one hour almost just drifting, we decided to turn around and anchor somewhere on the south shore of Tahuata, rather than motor for 5 hours.
Unfortunately, later we had learned that another sailing boat which was a couple of miles ahead of us had tried to call us on the radio to let us know that the wind had picked up. Unfortunately, I had only turned on the radio too late. So we pulled into the pretty little bay of Hanateio. Unfortunately, there was a pasture field with poo from cows, horses and goats which attracted lots of flies. We were invaded by a very bothering amount of flies and had to resort to put in our mosquito screens. Jackie had killed at least 20 flies in only 10 minutes!
After a little rather unexciting exploration ashore, I returned to my sowing, while the boys tried to catch some fish - without any luck though.
Bothered by the flies, we moved a bit away from the bay and anchored off a steep rocky cliff. A little bit bumpy as it wasn't very sheltered, but snorkeling, we found a beautiful under water world with big rocks, little canyons, some skiddish sharks, a few turtles, an octopus (! the first one I ever saw, really cool!) and lots of pretty colorful reef fish. And the usual stingy things in the water. We even saw some blue bottle jelly fish, which tentacles got Michael on his back, shoulder and ear. Fortunately, he only suffered for a few hours, then it just disappeared. Lucky him!

This morning, hoping for wind, we tried our luck again and set sail course Fatu Hiva. Fortunately, we could sail almost all the way, sometimes only with 2knots, but most of the time, it was a smooth and very comfortable sail. Approaching the islands, we were mesmerized by the extremely high and steep mountains (up to 1000m, we heard), falling right into the ocean. The dramatic scenery was enhanced by the beautiful light from the evening sun and I just couldn't stop taking pictures.
In the anchorage, we met SV Lolo again, and several other boats we had seen in Panama City, Galapagos or Hiva Oa.
We are very much looking forward to exploring ashore tomorrow. There's supposed to be lovely hikes to a waterfall or up the steep hill to a cross with a beautiful view.

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