Hanamenu Bay, Hiva Oa
Tuesday 4th June 2013
Distance run: 20 nmiles
Getting out of Atuona was easy in the end. We had to move forward as we were over the top of another boat's anchor, but otherwise no problem. The trip round to the north east coast was pleasant for the most part, and we sailed downwind through the channel between Hiva Oa and Tahuata. Once round the corner, though, we were met by winds from a squall that were right on the nose, and this together with an adverse current had our speed down to 1.8 knots under power! We waited outside the anchorage for the squall to pass, and then went in. We couldn't decide if we wanted to stay, as it seemed rather lumpy, but eventually decided to rather than press on another 8 nmiles into the wind to the next anchorage, where conditions could be even worse!
We anchored behind the only boat that had a stern anchor out, and then shortly after the wind did a reversal and we ended up stern to stern with him, and getting closer as we pulled the chain round. We waited until the wind turned us back again, and then we put out our own stern anchor and that solved the problem and kept our nose into the swell which made it much more comfortable. Shortly after, the rest of the boats in the anchorage also deployed stern anchors as the swell was becoming quite unpleasant.
The next day the wind and swell had died down considerably, and the sun was shining, so we went ashore for a walk. The beach was dark brown sand and riding the surf to land on it was very exciting! We went with Rod & Mary in their dinghy, and in the scramble to all get out and get it up the beach before the next breaking wave I managed to get my foot caught and ended up falling backwards into the dinghy as a wave broke over it. Oh well. once you're that wet you can only get drier!
We explored ashore for a couple of hours - several buildings and some fences, but no sign of anyone. Lush green vegetation, a pebbly stream we paddled around in for a while and a pool fed by a spring, deep enough to swim and cool off in. We collected a few windfall mangoes, and some limes, which is not strictly ethical since they still belong to the people who own the trees, but they would have just rotted on the ground so we didn't feel too bad about taking a few. After we had gone back to the boat, some locals returned, and gave some other cruisers enough bananas for every boat in the anchorage - and they would not accept any payment. So we were pretty well stocked up with fruit.
Hanamenu anchorage from the beach. The 'swimming pool'.
Ripe mangoes and limes collected on our walk. Bananas given to us by the locals.
The following day was also a pleasant one, and we planned to just chill out on the boat and maybe do a few jobs. Steve went over to Always Saturday to help Ron mend his whisker pole, and came back saying that there was a goat roast ashore and everyone was invited. So we took the rib ashore, braving the waves a second time, and joined a group of cruisers cooking goat over an open fire. Apparently one of them had joined some locals the night before on a wild pig hunt, and in the absence of any wild pigs they had caught a goat. He was cooking his share of the spoils. I enjoyed the roast breadfruit, but passed on the goat.
Goat roasting. Wild ginger.
Rod & Mary didn't join us ashore for two reasons: firstly Mary had been eaten alive by biting insects the day before, and secondly they had spent much of the previous afternoon and this morning re-anchoring, for a variety of reasons. We decided to have one more day in this anchorage before moving on as they now felt they needed a rest!