Pacific Crossing 09:48S 139:01W We have arrived in Hiva Oa
Alan Franklin/Lynne Gane
Wed 29 Apr 2015 04:15
Dear Family and Friends,
28th April 2015
After 21 days of sailing the Pacific ocean to Marquesas, we have finally arrived! We approached Hiva Oa from the SE as dawn broke. It was magical! From a dark outline the suns rays picked our the many steeply incised and densely wooded valleys that flow to the sea, abrupt cliffs and crashing foam. We passed two small islands that lie off the south coast, Tohuata and Motane. They are very similar in appearance, volcanic, steep, richly wooded. Mount Temetiu, 1276M (the highest of 5 peaks), brooding over Atuona bay was shrouded in early morning cloud, and the bay itself was hidden away. You must almost be passing it to turn back and pass into the narrow valley. Scents of tress and flowers wafted over the water, spicy and warm. The scenery of Hiva Oa is well worth a visit despite its being a lower island of the Marqesian group. The anchorage is busy behind the breakwater but we managed to squeeze in only to find we will have to move for Thursday as the weekly delivery boat will need turning space and we and several other yachts are in it. (Watch out for the yellow cross marker on the eastern shore and stay to the north of this if behind the breakwater). We have had to deploy a stern anchor as well to ensure we don’t swing and drag on our moorings. Write ups suggest the swell can be a problem but so far so good.
The Marquesas are an oversees territory of France and first impressions confirm the blend of Polynesia and France. The currency the Pacific Franc (CFP) is very roughly 1CFP:£0.06, whilst goods themselves are very expensive as they have to be brought in by freight. I keep having to do some calculations as everything is some many 000’s of CFP, beers, lunch and dessert for 2 came to 6100 CPF! The language is French and Polynesian, the only cafe and hotel in Atuona have a French flavour, many of the services are run from a modern complex of chalet style shops and offices. The Gendarmerie was helpful, although the paper work took a while because I declared the air rifle! Oh dear but I was following advice!! We are in the time zone UTC –9.5 hrs (10.5hrs back in the UK with British summer time).
We visited the Gauguin museum. The paintings were all copies of his work and although good I couldn’t help feeing a little may have been lost along the way. However it was good to see a collection of his work under one roof as it is otherwise scattered around Europe and North America. It is his native art from Tahiti and Hiva Oa for which he is remembered and he settled here in Atuona at the end of his life and is buried on the hill overlooking the bay. And what a place to have lived, I’m in complete agreement with him!
We have had plenty of exercise today, the anchorage is a strenuous 40 minute or more walk into town. There seems to be open bus trucks but I haven’t worked these out yet. And the day was very hot and humid, there seems no amount of water that will finally quench my thirst. After little sleep last night we will be out for the count soon.Two small islands lie off the south coast, Tohuata and Motane. They are very similar in appearance, volcanic, steep, richly wooded.
All our best,
Lynne and Alan