Fatu Hiva 10:27.9S, 138:40.1W

Serenity of Swanwick
Phil and Sarah Tadd
Tue 20 Jun 2017 07:04

Following our day out on Hiva Oa we were away at first light to sail to windward down to Fatu Hiva. The recommended way to look at these chains of islands is to start at the windward end and sail downwind between them, unfortunately you are required to clear in to French Polynesia at Hiva Oa before visiting Fatu Hiva so it doesn’t quite work in the Marqueses. As it worked out we managed the trip in one tack so no hard work but quite lively. Baie des Vierge is quite dramatic with tall pinnacles of rock towering over the village and standing as sentinals at the entrance to the valley above. There were three other yachts here when we arrived and we tucked ourselves inside of them, anchored in good solid mud. Excellent holding power which is needed as the wind funnels down the valley most of the time. As you approach the island you can see that it is half the caldera of a volcano towering high on the east side and sloping down more gently to the west. The view is partly spoiled by the work being done to create a harbour with breakwater but we can’t complain as it does give somewhere safe to land in our dinghy.


The bananas hang from the wind generator pole on passage to Fatu Iva


Pinnacles tower over the village


Anchored in the bay of virgins


On Sunday we set out to explore the village and visit the Cascade, the waterfall that feeds the river which flows down the valley. After one navigation error which took us up high on a track and gave fantastic views we found the right trail up through the tropical forest to the fall which is about 100ft high with a good pool at its base. It was tempting to swim and wash the mud off but as we had to go back the same way we didn’t bother. As it was Sunday the village was very quiet and we returned to Serenity and did some maintenance. It had been a lovely sunny day with no rain which is unusual at the moment. We have been given different views on when the rainy season is here. Some say that it has finished others that it is from now to July but unusually this year it has been raining for the last six months. My reading suggests that in French Polynesia generally it is now the dry season but in the Marqueses it is the rainy season. How confusing.


The village climbs up the road under the cliffs


The path to the Cascade


Petroglyph beside the path.


The Cascade


Tropical forest and towering rocks – typical of the Marqueses


Today we finished the maintenance started yesterday, baked bread and this afternoon went ashore. We were soon greeted by a man who it turns out was a sculptor and wood carver and we ended up buying a rosewood carving from him. Tomorrow we will head back north.



Tiki in Rosewood