Having arrived at Hiva Oa in the middle of the night, we anchored in the bay
outside of the breakwater. Next morning we were fortunate to find a very
peaceful anchorage inside the breakwater.
We went ashore and each of us had a beautiful, fragrant, fresh flower lei
placed around our neck. We then completed the necessary formalities,
utilizing the agent from Tahiti, that Rally control had organized for us.
The agent dealt with everything thereafter which was rather wonderful
because according to the information we have read on the subject, the
formalities here are something of a nightmare.
We took a taxi to the town where we were able to obtain some local money.
The ATM was not working so we managed to persuade the teller to let us have
some money even though he wanted us to go to the post office for the
Provisioning was horrendously expensive and we spent $200US on $25 worth of
staples. The fruit was disappointing. I hadn't expected to be able to
purchase vegetables but the books that I have been reading did lead me to
believe that there should be ample exotic fruit. Not so. I did manage to
find some oranges, mandarins, apples and grapes in a cooler. At a stall on
the shore of the bay where we are anchored, I bought some bananas, mangos
and avocados. I didn't buy the grapefruit which were $2 each.
The sea bed at our anchorage is littered with huge concrete bales, bound
with chicken wire and in which a number of WARC participants have lost their
anchors although some were subsequently retrieved.
Dick dove for a non WARC anchor which had been abandoned. He spent two hours
searching for it one day and the next day he spent an hour before locating
and salvaging a different one. On his second dive, he had been down for
almost an hour and I becoming anxious regarding his safety called another
WARC boat on the VHF. Just as they had launched their dinghy, Dick's head
appeared above the water but he was so exhausted he found it very difficult
to get back into the rib, finally managing by climbing up, using the
outboard engine for footholds. Having previously cancelled the assistance,
I almost recalled them to help Dick into our rib.
Because of all the diving activity attempting to locate and retrieve the
lost anchors, we have been very busy filling empty bottles for other people,
using our dive compressor.
While cleaning the water line of all the weed and barnacles which we had
acquired over the last few weeks, Bev was more than a little surprised to
see a ray, measuring around one metre across, accompanied by a baby ray,
come right up to our boat. They had obviously been attracted by all the
unwanted growth that was being removed from the hulls.
Wednesday after lunch we left Hiva Oa and sailed to Tahuata just over ten
nautical miles away where we dropped anchor on the north west side of the
island at the beautiful bay of Hamoenoa, with blue, clear water, a white
sandy beach and trees almost to the waterline.
There were quite a lot of WARC boats already in the anchorage and that night
there was a gathering ashore and participants sat around a fire playing
guitars and singing. One guy climbed a coconut palm and threw down a number
of coconuts. Attempting to cut off the tops using a machete without a
handle, balancing one coconut on top of another, with light from a hand-held
torch, the operator chopped off a finger from his left hand. Oisin's shirt
was used to staunch the blood and our cool bag and ice blocks were used, in
an optimistic attempt to preserve the finger. First aid was administered by
a doctor from a WARC boat and the man was taken by boat to Hiva Oa for
treatment. The next day he flew to Papete where better medical assistance
While attempting to rejoin us in the bay the next morning, the boat that had
taken their ailing crewman to Hiva Oa, developed engine trouble. It also now
had no crew to assist the skipper/owner as his two other crew had already
gone off for a couple of weeks, to explore the archipelego on their own.
Rally control once again came to the rescue and Paul stepped in as crew.
Good Friday we departed the bay which was most wonderful for snorkeling. One
person had even seen a shark while spear-fishing grouper.
We made passage to Vaitahu bay which wasn't at first sight very friendly and
we were the only WARC boat that stopped there. Three others looked in while
we were there but decided not to stop. The wind blew down from the hills
into the valley and across the bay causing quite a swell and making landing
look as though it would be a problem. We managed to find an acceptable
anchorage and went ashore, visiting the very attractive large church in the
Moving on from there we made passage to Hapatoni bay where we dropped our
anchor having traveled just over five nautical miles from Hamoenoa bay,
where we had spent the previous two nights. Three other WARC boats kept us
company in the bay that night.
The snorkeling was amazing so next morning Dick and I went for a dive. It
was fantastic. The coral looked like huge fungi piled one on top of another,
resembling huts. The fish were something else, a multitude of different
colours, some iridescent. From tiny fish, blue and yellow to large black
fish with a yellow stripe. We moved through a large shoal of white fish, two
or three times the size of a trout. We saw a couple of octopus and as they
moved they looked like small brown bears scuttling away. This was most
certainly the best dive that Dick and I have had. There were two sharks
around 20metres away but we were unaware of this at the time plus a pod of
dolphins 50 metres off.
When we returned to the boat, Moe and Bev borrowed the equipment and then
went for a dive. Dick and I took the rib ashore and Oisin stayed on the
The local people were very friendly. Most spoke some English. We bought some
grapefruit and lemons from a local woman who, with the assistance of two
teenage girls, picked them from their trees.
Later in the day, while replenishing provisions from my reserve stores, I
found that two of the plastic boxes under the floor in the port hull, had
liquid in them. On investigation, one of the tins of mushrooms had opened
but there was no indication where the excess liquid had come from. I cleaned
the boxes and tins, replacing them in the boxes which were then put back
under the floor. We will have to monitor this and try to identify from where
the liquid could have come.
Easter Sunday we raised the anchor at 6am and set sail for Fatu Hiva, a
passage of around 42nm. As we moved northwards on a close reach, for an
hour, until we left the island behind us, the wind gusted down from the
hills at 37knots.
Once past the island, the wind blew force 5 and 6. Sailing 30º off course to
make any progress, still on a close reach, resorting to the iron sail for
the last hour of the passage, we reached the Bay of Virgins, dropping our
anchor around 3pm.