Saturday, March 28, 2015

Fatu Hiva Waterfall


We did a couple of hour hike out the back of town to this 200 foot waterfall. I know it doesn’t look like it is 200 feet in the picture, but it is pretty impressive straight drop down. Not a place you’d want to water slide off. It was a bit more of a hike than we expected. Definitely off-road.

fatuhiva2IMG_0026 Here’s the detailed toppo map we used to get there – supplied by our local friend Reva. For any cruisers using it, here’s the key. Bottom left is the bridge. The double lines are the concrete road, the single line the trail. The squares are small houses. The squirrely lines are the stream you cross over – just once.Take the concrete road out of town till you hit the bridge on the map. There are a number of cairns on the trail to mark it – most about 30 feet past where you missed the turn.

fatuhiva2IMG_9994 The trail started out wide and lined with hibiscus hedges around coconut and banana groves.


Then the trail deteriorated to a little more like bushwhacking.


Noni fruit along the road. The noni fruit is thought to have medicinal qualities and is grown and exported to make noni juice.


Healthy looking and  friendly local working horse grazing by the roadside.


There are lots of various shapes of copra drying sheds around. The split coconuts are laid with the meat exposed to dry. The roof is on slides and moves to the left to expose the shells to the direct sun and to protect them from rain.

fatuhiva2IMG_0010 Not sure who this tiki is, but Chris thinks it’s a fertility goddess.


We picked up our tapa cloth passport holders at Reva’s house. We gave them 2 of Juliee Veee soccer balls, one for her son and one for the school. I also gave her partner some gloss Epifanes varnish that he wanted for his wood work.

fatuhiva2IMG_0020 He gave me this bone carved necklace that he made in exchange. Really nice people.


We were visited by the local police or security guy yesterday morning. That’s him in the yellow vest on the right. He was pleasant and took our passport numbers down and told us we had to leave and go to Hiva Oa to check in, as the Hiva Oa gerndarme had called him. He said Monday would be OK. So we’re off tomorrow and will see what the gendarmes have to say.


Friday, March 27, 2015

Fatu Hiva Sensory Overload


After being at sea for 3 weeks, Fatu Hiva is quite the sensory overload. Truly majestic green covered (note I didn’t say verdant) volcanic mountains, that go straight down to the dark blue sea. We went ashore our first day and walked up the main concrete drive and were immediately greeted by a group of school kids waiting for class to open back up after lunch.

fatuhivaIMG_9943-001 Chris had a great time practicing French and the kids had a great time practicing English – both with the help of our ‘French for Cruisers’ book. The book has English sentences and saying along with French and French pronunciation. The kids instantly figured out how to use the book and would thumb through it till they could put a question together to ask Chris.

fatuhivaIMG_9947-001 The flowers they are holding were for their teacher.


One of the kid’s mother, Reva, spoke decent English and brought us back to her house after class started. This is her partner Poie showing me the different woods he stores for making carvings. There’s tau, rosewood and a few others. Reva makes tapa cloth from the various trees and plants around. They are all natural color with traditional Marquesan designs that she paints on them. She is making up some passport covers out of tapa that we will pickup today. Carving for men and tapa cloth for women is a major income producer for the locals. Most of it goes off to Tahitii to be sold to tourists. Note to cruisers, there are no banks on Fatu Hiva and dollars are not really useful. Euros are more or less OK.

fatuhivaIMG_9956 Reva and her husband overloaded us with fresh fruits. Here she is retrieving pamplamouse (aka large, juicy grapefruit) from a tree down the street from her house. We were loaded down with them, along with limes, corossol, and passion fruit. All gratis.

fatuhivaIMG_9965-001 Cleaning and gutting a pamplamouse


If you look closely at this rock formation, you can see the mothers arms wrapping around the baby


And now for the story of the Bay of Virgins. Its Marquesan name is Baie Hanavave. The English name is Bay of Virgins. It was originally named by the Spanish as Bahai des Verges, the Bay of Phalli – see picture. The missionaries didn’t see that as a fit name and conveniently added an ‘i’ to get Bahia des Vierges or Bay of Virgins. So the bay holds a little hope for everyone who shows up.

FatuHivaIMG_9989-001  Chris posing on her birthday with the bay’s namesakes


Georgia tucked up against the deep green in Hanavave.


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Fatu Hiva

fatuhivaIMG_9927 Good Morning Fatu Hiva!

We made it into the Hanavave, otherwise known as the Bay of Virgins (more on the name later) just after sunset yesterday. We’d finally thrown in the towel and turned on the motor for the last 50 miles so we could add a knot of boat speed to the wind generated speed and get in before dark. We, unfortunately, were not greeted by beautiful, half-naked Polynesian girls swimming out to the boat. But we enjoyed a great sunset from the Marquesas.

As you can see this is a very small town… the population of the entire island is about 500 or so. Fatu Hiva is the most remote and unspoiled of the Marquesan Islands and Hanavave reportedly one of the most beautiful anchorages. It is definitely classic South Pacific. Right now, we’re enjoying being the only boat in the anchorage.

It is an interesting feeling of accomplishment to have traveled so far (3,000 miles) and be at sea so long (3 weeks), and arrive in a place as exotic looking as this but still end up 1,900 miles from the destination you were originally heading (Easter Island). We’re still working on our navigation skills.

More later.