Day 20 Land Ahoy Marquesas

Pearl of Persia
Andrew Lock
Tue 9 Apr 2013 18:14
Lat 10:24.5 Long 138:33W
I came up on deck at 6 this morning. Sussanne was on watch and within the
hour she was sure she could see land...I was convinced it was a black cloud
on the horizon, so for the next couple of hours it was 'is it or isn't it'
but eventually Sussanne won and the island of Fatu Hiva in the Marquesas
came into sight, our first sight of Polynesia and the first land for 3000
miles. We had been sailing gently all night and as we rounded the northern
tip of the island, we pulled down the sails and put on the engine to push us
along and charge the batteries. The island is dramatic. No coral atoll
surrounded by white sand. Fatu Hiva is a towering, rugged, volcanic mountain
with valleys plunging 3000 feet, covered in green. It could be Ireland,
Scotland or parts of NW Spain. But then as we get closer we can see the
shoreline covered with coconut palms and we know we are somewhere special.
The approach to the anchorage is spectacular, and after dropping anchor we
just sit and absorb the atmosphere. In the afternoon, we took the dingy to
shore where there is a little village, a tiny church, and school but no
shop. We had no fresh food left so managed to trade bananas and limes for a
couple of fishing lures. The people are happy and friendly, and the village
and houses well tended and clean with fruit trees and flowers. Quite a
contrast to the small villages of the Caribbean. One thing that did shock us
was the condition of the boat when seen from the water. The whole waterline
was covered with sharp barnacles and it was several hours work in the water
with a scraper to clean it up. Fortunately the surgeon had advised me
against swimming for another week to allow my arm to repair, so I could only
watch as Sussanne did the hard work