9:54.47S 139:06.29W Baie Hanamoenoa on Tahuata south of Hiva Oa.

Tue 2 Aug 2016 20:57

9:54.47S 139:06.29W Baie Hanamoenoa on Tahuata south of Hiva Oa.

I must just tell you about Chris, an Englishman who has lived for many years in Bali but when we met him had lived in for 13 months in Baie Taahuku where we were anchored on Hiva Oa. His lovely 50ft yacht is a Columbia 50 called Segacious, which he used to keep at San Diego Yacht Club. She was built in the 60’s and has been a mean racer in her day, winning many long distance challenges.

When Zoonie was sitting out the earthquakes in Bahia, Segacious was bracing herself for the resultant tsunami slowly on its way to this bay. He had only one other yacht for company and neither had working engines, so the local fishermen towed them into what they thought was the safest part of the bay.

The water started to recede out of the harbour making a frightening roaring sound. Both men had been ordered off their boats for their own safety and could only watch from the shore as the first of ten one metre waves rounded the harbour end. The other boat bottomed 4 times but mercifully was undamaged. The waves moved very slowly, which must have been eerie, and the whole experience was over in four or so hours.

Locals dashed to the bay from around the island because langoustine, having had their watery home taken from them, rushed over the beach and started climbing the trees. They provided a very welcome source of food for the locals.

Chris also told us about the prejudice the local a had had when he started his boatyard here. Insular locals, jealous of his enterprising ideas, would park their vehicles across the gates so the yard could not be used. Complaints were received in the planning offices that he was building infront of land designated for other uses.

A local woman insists on grazing her aggressive white horse on a long tether so yard users have often been attacked and injured, including Chris. She says it’s a stud horse which is a laugh, it’s the meanest, mankiest, most mangy mount you could imagine.

Even the government has not encouraged him with the many excessive taxes he had to pay to import gear including the hoist and its tow vehicle from abroad. But he stuck it out bless him. When the locals saw the first few boats being carefully lifted and towed to the yard they backed off, respecting his success, but the manky horse still terrorizes the place.

We watched as our French friends’ cat was carefully raised, the back end hoisted high to overcome the angle made between the steepness of the slip and the water, and then moved slowly to its resting place so the couple can fly home.

We had an email from Torsten the next day saying we must visit Tahuata, the island we had passed to our right when we came in to Hiva Oa. We had seen yachts in two small anchorages and thought how sheltered they must be from the Trades and swell.

It took only two hours in a moderate sea to arrive at the most beautiful bay with crystal clear water and a white sandy bottom. The world sailing couple Eric and Sue Hiscock of Wanderer fame reckoned this is one of the three most beautiful anchorages in Polynesia.

Torsten pointed to excellent anchoring in a line between him and the shore. We let out plenty of chain because of the strong downdrafts from the valleys and joined them both for coffee and beer.

Previously I had busied myself, mincing Rob’s coconut flesh through my herb grinder, adding a little water and sugar and cooking it to prevent fermentation. Then using garlic, potato, white cabbage and limes from Ecuador, swiss chard and tomatoes from Nuku Hiva and lemongrass and Thai Green Curry sauce from the Coop in Oakham I put together a tuna curry and with their friends Silke and Mathias we had a lovely evening together on Zoonie.

We had snorkelled one side of the bay and seen fish and a pacific green turtle but were disappointed to not see and rays as Mathias had earlier.

The next day we dined on Infinity. Hille’s red cabbage with wine, berries and spices was lovely and everyone else had beef ragout made from jars of home preserved beef. The wine, beer, whisky and rum flowed on this our last social with our dear friends.

Their two boats left the next morning, returning to Atuone to collect their laundry and then continue to Fatu Hiva, but not before the always generous Torsten installed lots of software on our Samsung so was can access free charts of the entire world and overlay google earth onto them for pin point accuracy.


Later we rowed ashore and met Stephen, a young Marquesan who is living a solitary life in his hut behind the beach, planting various plants including palms. Notices politely asked visitors to stay on the beach and respect his property but they were not always effective as we learned later.

We snorkelled the other side of the bay for an hour in the afternoon holding hands all the while as the swell was quite strong. Ryan and Tasha were coming aboard for sundowners after they had completed some time-lapse photography of the sunset to include their cat Cheeky Monkey as were Swiss Andrew and Natalie with Irish Dominic from Juliane.

We watched their progress, Tasha doing her press ups while the camera clicked, and then they were joined by Stephen who also came aboard. I asked if he ever felt vulnerable living here by himself?

In a quiet voice he told of the visiting yacht sailors who would ignore the notices, unknowingly trample his young plants, pick his fruit without asking and throw rubbish like beer cans into the pristine bay. He would politely ask them not to and be met with threats and abuse. So he summoned help from the village and when he and his friends, standing along the beach outnumbered the ‘visitors’ they left. Good riddance I say.

We looked at the weather and the words ‘rough sea’ put us off leaving today for Tahiti, so we will probably go tomorrow.