Thursday, 2nd April, 2015
W. Eric Faber
Thu 2 Apr 2015 22:57
Measured run: 88 miles (since departure at 5.30pm on 1.4.15)
Despite a dark night and black clouds obliterating any outlines of the island, we arrived in the port of Atuona in Hiva OA at the dead of Sunday night with the help of our chart plotter. We managed to get some 3 hours of sleep into Sunday (29/3/15) to give us just enough energy to re-anchor in daylight as the swell in the port had given us a most uncomfortable rest. We met up with many of the other WARC (World ARC) participants in the evening for a meal out. On Monday we joined a tour of the island, which took us down many dirt tracks and into tiny settlements, but Hiva OA is probably best remembered for its luscious vegetation and its steep, verdant mountains, where nobody has yet set foot. On Tuesday morning I scrubbed the boat’s bottom from the dinghy and enjoyed the pleasure of some help resupplying the boat with water and diesel from one of my fellow participants, as these commodities can only be brought on board by jerry cans and by dinghy. Luckily, we carry 8 jerry cans for both, lashed down on deck. In the afternoon we sailed to Tahuata, the neighbouring island for a rally rendezvous and to witness the activities laid on by the inhabitants, which involved much singing, dancing and eating the local produce, but I was anxious to get back on Luna Quest, as in the night we had been battered by massive katabatic winds that howled across the bay and laying the yachts at anchor over and causing other to drag theirs. By 3.30pm I was getting edgy and decided it was time to go. Reports had been coming in in the morning of boats being swept out to sea in 45 knots of wind, but that in the afternoon it had all gone quiet.
I have some experience with katabatic winds, having dragged Luna Quest’s anchor twice in Deshaies (Guadaloupe) and covering her in soot in Porto Santo. Katabatic winds are fearsome and the higher the mountains the greater the descent of the cold air. On arrival back in the bay of Tahuata, we found the winds touching 30 knots and the prospect of another night being battered about was hardly compelling, so we made ready to set off towards Tahiti there and then and by 5.30pm we were under way. Others would be returning to their boats in the dark and howling winds.
Today's sailing is glorious (after a rough night). We have the foresails poled out in 15 knots of wind and are heading towards the Tuomoto archipelago, where we hope to put into one or two atols.