Our final night was another bumpy one with plenty
of wind. We both woke early and started counting down the final miles.
We had just moved our clocks back the final half
an hour to align with the local time in the Marquesas; I looked out at 0720 and there right in the distance was the faintest
outline... LAND HO!! It was the most easterly point of Hiva Oa about 15nm ahead
Over the next couple of hours we watched as the
land took shape ahead of us and another outlying island appeared on our port
Around 11am I was having a wash in the cockpit
ready for our arrival when a pod of large porpoises surrounded the boat and
accompanied us on our final approach. It was very magical how they appeared to
be guiding us to our destination. They were very large and dark with a
distinctly hooked dorsal fin. Possibly pilot whales but definitely moving like
We took down our spinnaker pole and gybed our
sails to point ourselves directly to the harbour entrance just before midday.
As we closed land we raised three flags from our
starboard halyard; the yellow "Q" flag which we will fly until we
have completed our arrival formalities, the French Tricolor and the French
Polynesia courtesy flag that I made all those weeks ago. They look very
beautiful and colourful all flapping away from our rigging.
The land was really taking shape by midday and
over the next hour we watched as more detail filled in; the contours of the
impressive green, volcanic peaks, and even houses. There was a dark mist
hanging over the land and we expected squalls as we approached; much like what
met us in Martinique after our Atlantic passage but the approach turned out to
be quite peaceful and the rain stayed over the land.
We had stopped turning our navigation instruments
on as neither the wind or boat speed had been working. We turned them on for
the first time as we approached land so as to use our depth sounder,
mysteriously the wind gauge decided to work as well after weeks giving strange
Just after 1pm we turned on our engine to take us
through the harbour entrance at Hiva Oa.
We soon spotted our friends on S/V Viridian and
found a spot we could squeeze into near them. It is a very crowded little
anchorage. Annoyingly as I went to drop the anchor the windlass lowering button
was inoperative. In the end I had to take the helm and Jamie managed to drop
the anchor manually after discovering the chain gypsy was also seized up, this required
some manhandling. At 1345 we had the anchor down and had officially
arrived in French Polynesia. Our friends sent us over bacon sandwiches and Meep
took his first run on deck in over 6 weeks... it's good to be here!!!!!!!!!