Always the first job once the boat is securely anchored is to register with the Authorities. A walk of about 3 kilometers took me to the town of Atuona. At the Gendamarie I discovered that the time zone here is half hour different not 1 hour which is the usual step in time from one zone to another, and the place was shut until after lunch. At that prompt a visit to an ATM saw me furnished with funds, but I had no idea of the exchange rate, although the Polynesian Franc notes were very colourful and pretty, and I could have lunch myself, a real treat after so long on the boat.
Later formalities were initiated very easily, but I had to post the form the Gendarmes gave me to Papete, Tahiti where I would have to visit to complete things when I got there.
Next a visit to the shops and a real treat in baguettes and french cheese, that would go well with my last bottle of french wine as a celebration of arrival. Ooh and some tins of cold Tahitian beer, one drunk on the spot, perhaps thats why the walk back to the boat seemed so long.
I spent a few days at Atuona, looking around and enjoying land.
A river emptied into the anchorage bay and it rained a lot meaning the water was very muddy but one benefit of this was that all the fresh water killed off the goose barnacles and weed on the hull.
Leaving Hiva Oa it was about full moon I thought to have a pleasant moonlit sail to Fatu Hiva. At about 45 miles away it was just to far to guarantee managing all in daylight. It is one disadvantage of sailing in the tropics 12 hour days and 12 hour nights. As it was it turned out very cloudy.
Arrived in Baie Hanavave or Bay of the Virgins, a truly spectacular anchorage, steep sided and dominated by rock pinnacles and behind a backdrop of steep high mountains.
The island is very unspoilt and the people super friendly. Went to a dinner of traditional fare for cruisers anchored in the bay hosted by a family from the village. Roast pork, roast goat, breadfruit, coconut milk, roasted pink bananas & pamplemousse was amongst the items on offer.
One day a walk took me to a lovely 200 ft waterfall up the valley behind the village where I skinny dipped in the plunge pool, very refreshing. Another walk took me high above the bay looking down on the boats at anchor.
Another night sail took me to Tahuata where I anchored at Baie Hanamoenoa, reckoned by one authority to be one of the 3 most beautiful anchorages in Polynesia. An uninhabited bay with a yellow sand beach back by coconut palms and a backdrop of green hills. Very soft and gentle by Marquesian standards I thought.
From there I thought to visit a bay on the North coast of Hiva Oa, said to be good for ancient Polynesian sites however after all the light winds I had a day of very strong wind with a big breaking swell so it was not to be and halfway there I changed my objective and headed across the 80 miles to Nuku Hiva. A fairly rolly polly night but an early morning arrival in Taiohae bay. I anchored next to Thom’s Vancouver28.