Hanavave Bay or Bay of Virgins, Fatu-Hiva,
Marquesas, French Polynesia, South Pacific. Whew! What an
16300 local time Friday 23 June 2006.
After 3,000 miles and 21 days and nights sailing
across the vast and empty eastern Pacific Ocean we arrived at the
small (in area) volcanic (very high) island of Fatu-Hiva. You will need a good
atlas to find it. It is at southern end of a group of islands called
the Marquesas in the eastern part of French Polynesia. The nearest biggish
island that you might find on a map is Nuku Hiva, 60 miles to north
Having passed the north east end of the island the
wind died. As we were motoring we were welcomed to Fatu-Hiva (and land, any
land) by a small group of dolphins. A more steep, high and unwelcoming looking
coastline is hard to imagine. The island rises vertically from the sea and in
places is rent with huge vetical ridges which look like an acordian. And it is
all green. Lush tropical green. Only ocassionally is the steepest black volcanic
From only 2 and a half miles off the coast it was
imposible to see where the Bay of Virgins is. As I followed the GPS course
the first thing I saw was a brilliant white (against all the green) soccer goal
post. That's it. It wasn't until we were a long way into this very small
bay that we could see a handfull of buildings.
And oh how spectacular is this place! As we
approached I kept muttering things out loud like wow!, amazing!, incredible!
spectacular!, etc. There is a very narrow, steep sided, high (it touches
the clouds), valley. It has rock formations on the sides. All this drapped in
green like it had snowed green. The bare rock being only the most vertical.
It would take many words to describe it but alas a writer of prose I
am not. Instead when I get to an internet cafe I will send pictures. At the sea
shore is a church and a handful of other buildings. I think there are less than
150 people here as the main village on the island has 300.
AND WE ARE THE ONLY BOAT HERE. Again incredible in
this day and age. We dropped anchor in 20 feet not far from the shore and got
caught on a rock. The windless is now broken. The motor runs but the shaft of
the windless doesn't turn. This took away somewhat from our celebratory
champagne. Oh well, that's sailing. Bitter-sweet.
We are looking forward to going ashore tomorrow.