Fatu Hiva 10:30S 138:41W

SV Jenny
Alan Franklin/Lynne Gane
Sun 10 May 2015 08:41

Dear Family and Friends,


6th May 2015


Our comms have been patchy at best, with high peaks surrounding us in our anchorages it has proved very difficult to sustain a good enough signal and it takes forever to download anything.


Our adventures have continued apace, we sailed to Fatu Hiva 3 days ago and anchored in the much mentioned Hanavave Bay with its dramatic rock pinnacles. It lived up to its reputation for strong gusts of wind as they sweep down between the high peaks. The shore water depth falls away as steeply as the slopes themselves, anchorages are angonisingly close to the surf pounding the rocks or to other boats in this popular spot. And even close in you are still in 20-30m of water, so to ensure we didn't move we put down 4+ times that length of chain. That’s a great deal of chain and time to put down whilst being blown about by the gusts. But the setting was magnificent, watch out for the photos.


Going ashore, Hanavave is a  small village with a tiny shop, post office and mairie (town hall), church and a concrete road to Omoa. I am humbled, even at the ends of the Pacific Ocean, people speak a smattering of English, as we asked about wifi and directions to the waterfall in the mountains! The village is beside a river where the French government are building a hydroelectric supply and following both the building works and the river as our guide we climbed up the valley. There are no signs to this waterfall but fortunately we met a yachting American women who directed us and had even put piles of stones to mark the turning points, how thoughtful, it certainly helped us. And then we asked directions of others along the path too. As we neared the Cascade de Vaiee nui our climb became an energetic scramble over rocks and fallen trees, always up until at last the sound of rushing water opened on to the falls themselves. A vertical lava face some 200’ or more high towered above us, the water crashing into a deep pool and flowing over the boulders downstream. The water was deliciously cool and a perfect drink after a hot climb in high humidity. We rested for a while with the place to ourselves, watching the iridescent and tiny blue green fish and the freshwater crayfish among the rock pools. Our timing was perfect for as we descended again there was a steady stream of walkers on the way up!


On the way back to the boat, we spotted some Manta Rays beneath the dingy, their white horns showing up vividly under the water. There were many of them, some easily 5+’ across their ‘wing span’ gracefully flapping and feeding as the river ran into the sea. Such a wonderful sight and totally impossible to photograph!


We are now in the main town of the island, Omoa. It boasts a concrete landing stage (the port for the island), a breakwater for small boats which is totally awash at high water leading to dingy beaching, a post office, gendarmerie and a mairie as well as a school and infirmary. Not bad for such a small place, going ashore you get the distinct impression they don't get a lot of visitors! But we say hello and they smile and wave. In the late afternoon, we were impressed by the number of all ages playing sports, football, basketball and rounders. But most strange and no doubt the influence of France, come night fall in this place in the middle of a distant ocean, they have street lighting!


Back into town today, looking for wifi, crafts and local sacred sites. Every day is different, and at times you have little idea what you will find.


All our best,


Lynne and Alan