Blue Sky's Voyage
George & Michael
Tue 20 Apr 2010 16:24
Hello Friends "10:27.86S 138:40.11W"
Fatu Hiva is a little off the beaten track, with no transport connections for 'tourists' but as the most easterly Marquesan island, it is the traditional first stop for trans-pacific yachts - not including Blue Sky of course.
The island appears not to be of interest to the 'white French' with no representation apparent. One is supposed to present one's compliments to the local cop on arrival, but all he wants is for you to write your name & number in his little book. If you've not checked in officially at Hiva Oa or Nuku Hiva then a bottle of wine or rum fixes the problem. As we were properly checked, he was a little short with us - no perks!
Here we are - Michael writing in the book in his 'office' (tailgate of cop's pickup) while George entertains the Ladies.
The village of Hanavave is tucked into a little flat land between soaring volcanic cliffs and spires and everywhere there are fruit trees dripping with fruit, hibiscus abundant in number and colours and everywhere the most spectacular views.
This is the main street, if you like, looking back towards the Willies, from the opposite side to the last photo in the last blog.
Our expeditions have included -
Dinner with the locals - an enterprising family provide communal dinner for the yachties for CFP 1700 a head. We shared a lively and convivial dinner with the crews of two other British boats and one wonders what the locals thought of our consumption of refreshments (about a wine box per head!).
The following day Simon & Michael trekked to a waterfall which falls off the crater rim and though pleasant enough it's difficult to get an interesting picture of a waterfall here as you can't get back far enough to give the thing scale. Anyway a good time was had and Simon and a German friend Lisa swam in the pool at the foot of the fall.
There are 2 principal villages in Fatu Hiva - Hanavave where we are now and Omoa in the SW corner. The distance between the two is about 3 miles as the tropic bird flies, but since the road rises to 800m as it climbs up the crater wall, the typical walking time is 4 to 5 hours. Michael and Simon had arranged to walk to Omoa and take Sunday lunch with the locals, before getting a lift back. But unfortunately as Sunday morning arrived, Simon was unwell and Michael trekked out alone.
The dirt road rises almost impossibly in wriggles up the crater wall. No crash barriers of course and one wonders why they went to the considerable trouble of building it at all as it's much easier to nip around by sea. It does present spectacular views of the western wall of the crater which makes up most of Fatu Hiva.
Here's a view from fairly high up on the W side, looking E towards the crater wall - very much like the approach to Mordor !
The white dot just below the ridge near the lowest point is a hole all the way through - it looked big enough to get a bus through. Given the extreme slope the island presents to the trade winds, the windward side and peaks are very frequently cloud covered.
The village of Omoa was similar, but there's a little more space on the flood plain of the stream down from the highest point. Michael completed the walk in 3 hours 15 mins and is happy to admit that it nearly killed him or at least the walk and the fact that the food in Omoa seems to have disagreed with him too.
When we're all recovered, we'll head down to the Tuamotus just under 500 miles away. We're still not sure exactly which one we're aiming for as it's important to arrive around lunchtime to get slack water at the entrance to the passes into the lagoons. As we get closer, we'll adjust our target to find a suitable lunchtime ETA.
But we're getting ahead of ourselves again. Here's a final shot of the Bay of Virgins...etc. from Michael's walk. Blue Sky in the middle of the group this time after we re-anchored.
Next blog on passage SW.
George, Michael and Simon