Fiu in Adriatic
Marquesa Islands, August 12 - 24, 2004
Thursday, 12 August 2004
Ivo had sneaked out the fishing line again this morning and due to the proximity of the islands we caught 4 bonitos & one yellow fin tuna this morning – released all except one bonito and the yellow fin. The waters here are obviously rich in fish, no doubt about that!
We managed to have good winds the last few hours approaching Fatu Hiva and goosewinged up to the last minute which was really nice.
We must be grateful to both Fiu for her fantastic performance and to Ronnie who really is the helmsman of the year! We arrive in good health and safe after such a fantastically smooth crossing. The two weeks have gone by in a flash and it really seems like just yesterday that we were in Isla Isabela.
We celebrated our arrival with a cold bottle of good white wine and cheese and biscuits followed by fish curry and rice which Ivo had cooked. Then a good long siesta to recover from the emotions and when we woke up Ivo went diving to clean some of the fouling whilst Susan just took it easy and cleared up a little.
There are 2 other French boats in the bay very friendly people who had taken respectively 18 and 19 days for their crossing. They were expecting another boat to arrive, and we told them that we thought we had seen it about 24 hours ago. And true enough it did arrive tonight a tiny little ketch, they arrived just after dark.
We had gone ashore late in the afternoon to get a first flavour for the place - a most extraordinary and spectacular bay surroundings. Bartering is more the order of the day here, no interest in cash but rather exchange of beauty products etc for fruit.
Back on the boat for drinks and dinner. Ivo not feeling too well, perhaps after having spent an hour in the water cleaning the hull again which is exhausting and perhaps also having absorbed some of the toxic anti fouling?..
During the night the wind dropped and in the morning we were turned toward the west and the tide coming down we found ourselves close to shore with 3,7m depth.
Friday August 13, 2004
After a long night’s sleep in calm conditions, we found rainy weather in the morning, no wind so ideal weather to stay onboard and clean the boat. Felt lazy and it is yet another Sunday for us –lovely days calmly drifting by, perhaps it is all a dream and we’ll wake up to reality one day? But not yet. For now we are enjoying every minute of our journey.
We’ll go ashore again in a short while to find the local policeman, Ursule to check in with him and then explore a little more. The French yachties gave us a map to follow to get to the waterfall but we’ll probably do that tomorrow when the weather has improved. We may also walk to the next village – 5-6 km which would do us good.
Spoke with Ken from Music on the radio this morning, they have another 500 miles to go but it is now slow going, with little winds. Heard Takapuna also who are in Nuku Hiva.
Saturday August 14, 2004
We went to the waterfall today – a really fantastic day, another one of our lovely Sundays– a long walk where we followed the map so got lost several times, or rather took the wrong track a couple of times before we eventually found the right one. Then some scrambling up along the river along a tiny little track full of cobwebs and mosquitoes. We eventually after about 1,5hours arrived at the waterfall itself and the pool at the bottom. It was really nice, we went for a swim in the water and had a rest before tackling the return trip. All along the way it was very jungle like with lots of trees, flowers and abandoned fruit trees. We collected a lot of lemons and limes and a few papayas.
The camera stopped working unfortunately but we were able to download all the pictures we had taken that day.
Sunday, August 15, 2004
Today we left Fatu Hiva via a short stop at Omoe, a bay and bigger village about 3 miles further south along the coast. It was a bay with a heavy swell so only Ivo went ashore – had to leave dinghy with stern anchor and on his return had to swim back to the dinghy. Not for me this.
We then left to go to Hiva Oa and the wind came up as we left the coast line so we could sail most of the time at 7-8 knots.
As we hoisted the mainsail we discovered that we had a clandestin and unwelcome stowaway! A rat in the sails. What horror. He must have come onboard in Fatu Hiva, we would have noticed him during the crossing. So in the evening upon arrival in Hiva Oa we had a rat hunt – he was hiding in the sails on deck. Ivo thinks he went overboard, and I think he is still hiding somewhere. We are now keeping all the hatches closed or only open when we can keep an eye on them.
We arrived in Atuona or rather the Tahauku bay later afternoon, around 6pm after a good sail and anchored up in the middle of the bay. Raekved, the Norwegian boat was there as was one of the French boats from Fatu Hiva. Raekved had lost one of their rudders (catamaran) during their crossing and taken 18 days.
Whilst preparing to anchor I hurt a finger quite badly when lifting one of the spinnaker poles out of the way. The release mechanism, released onto my finger but luckily did not break it. Painful though and it will be a few days before I can use my left hand again properly.
Monday August 16, 2004
In the morning we re-anchored because it was too shallow where we were – with the tide going out only 2,5m and perhaps even lower so we could not risk leaving the boat. This was an opportunity for us to use also a stern anchor for the first time. A bit of grumbling from Ivo who had hoped we would never have to make that effort of getting the anchor out of its locker, but here it is obviously the only way to anchor as there are now quite a few boats in the bay and they are all anchored with two anchors to reduce swinging space.
We went ashore today to see the town Atuona. We hitch hiked into the town about 4 km and then walked about to see the shops and also went to the cemetery to see Paul Gauguin and Jacques Brel’s graves as they were both buried here.
Local prices are as promised: high. The exchange rate to the local currency …. Is 92 CFO to 1USD.
Came back to the boat with rat poison which I laid out in the hope that if Mr Rat if still onboard will now eat that and die.
Hiva Oa is nice but not as spectacular and wonderful as Fatu Hiva. We’ll sail up to the north coast tomorrow on our way up to Nuku Hiva to see a bit more of the island.
Tuesday August 17, 2004
We should be getting ready to leave to sail up to the North coast, but it is a slow start. Mr Rat has not eaten any of the poison I left out, so is he still onboard? We can’t keep the hatches closed all the time.
The third gas bottle ran out this morning so we are now on the last one. This means we’ll have to look for gas in Nuku Hiva and/or Tahiti.
Raekved left this morning to go to Fatu Hiva and then they’ll sail down toward Tahiti via Tuamoto.
We had an email from Tony’s wife Mary (Holly B). They were 190 miles from Marquesa yesterday morning and hope to arrive sometime tonight. Very slow going for them this time. They did it in 17 days last time, this time it will have taken them 20 days.
We left Atuona or Tahuku bay today at 12 noon. Having to retrieve the second anchor was a fairly cumbersome operation that took probably about 1 hour in total.
Wind is ENE 5 beaufort and we are doing a speed of about 7,5 - 8 knots. We have about 20 miles to go to the NW bay.
We arrived in Hakanen bay on the north side of Hiva Oa at 3pm and decided to stop for a late lunch and a rest before our nightsail over to Nuku Hiva. The bay looks less interesting than described in the books and so we will decide later whether we go ashore or not. we did get there later than expected because the seas were quite rough as we turned the north western most point. We stayed until about 9pm but the bay seemed so spooky – cannibals still living here? – that we felt we should just leave. So we left at 9pm and despite the first impression that there were no wind, once we were free of the island we had a good breeze and sailed along most of the night at about 7knts. We arrived off Nuku Hiva just after dawn, in fact were quite close to the little island Ua Huka just west of Nuku Hiva. Changed course a little and headed for the South eastern bay – Comptroller’s bay – first to have a look before heading in to the main bay of Nuku Hiva (Taiohae bay).
We caught a wahoo about 10 miles offshore early in the morning so were pleased about that.
There were no-one in the Comptroller’s bay and it did not look really very interesting so we turned around and headed further west to Taiohae bay where we found all our kiwi friends who had just arrived – Music & Alexander III the day before and Holly B early that morning.
They were all in good health and happy to be there – a nice big bay with two main anchorages – one in front of Fort Collet with a dinghy dock which is where everyone had stopped.
The good news after all the rumours about the necessity to pay a bond upon arrival in the French Polynesia was that in fact even the Australian and New Zealanders no longer appear have to do so. We did not ask any awkward questions were just pleased to be able to clear in so easily, no cost, no hassle at the Gendarmerie.[Note: upon arrival in Tahiti it turned out that the bond is still in existence which caused us a lot of hassle!].
Put up the awning for the first time in ages, and no Mr Rat in there either. Now looks like he really did jump ship when Ivo went around the deck attacking everything with a big stick!
Wednesday, 18 August 2004
So we cleared in to French Polynesia (see above) and bought a few provisions – bread and milk and some cheese. Everything is very expensive here – even local fruit – about 100 – 150 CFO for one big grapefruit. The exchange rate is 92 CFO to 1 USD.
Bought some Monoi with sandalwood. This is the local body oil usually made with the local white flower called Tiare.
Thursday, 19 August 2004
Julian, TopGun Chris and Carolina invited the yachties in Taiohae Bay to join them for a beach barbecue in the evening. They had caught this monster of a yellowfin tuna and needed as many people as possible to eat barbecued fish. The morning they had arrived in the bay still trailing the carcass of the fish behind a hammerhead shark followed the boat into the bay very interested them..
The barbecue was a successful event, many people turned up including several local people that Chris had met whilst walking around the village.
Friday, 20 August 2004
Sailed across to Daniel’s bay in the afternoon. This bay is also called Taioa bay.
Saturday, 21 August 2004
Spent the day getting water – new method of transporting by filling up the dinghy, and washing all our clothes on the beach using the available fresh water. Paid 1000 CFO to obtain unlimited fresh water, according to the guy there (Michel), this is the only place on the island wherer we can obtain source water versus river water.
Also bought 25+ grapefruits, with a few lemons and papayas thrown in, from Michel. This guy is not very sociable, when Alexander III tried the next day to obtain water whilst he was gone, although they did leave a note and 1000 CFO, he got angry when he came back and saw them filling their jerry cans, and told them to leave. So they only managed to get about 70 litres of water.
Michel went snorkeling around the bay later that afternoon so Ivo joined him to see what the corals looked like and what fish there might be. There were only a few and they were obviously afraid so Ivo did not manage to spearfish any. Also Ciguatera is prevalent here, not many of the bay fish are edible.
Several turtles and manta rays in the bay but of course it is illegal to fish them.
Sunday, 22 August 2004
8.30am and we (Music, Alexander III & Fiu crew plus "toothless Chris") all leave for the waterfalls. We go around to the other smaller bay and land on the beach there in front of Daniel's house. Daniel used to live where Michel now lives, in what is called Daniel's bay, but after the television series "Survivor" was filmed here and many promises made and subsequently not kept at that time to upgrade and improve the infrastructure if not at least restore everything to the same condition as before the filming, Daniel moved out and into the other less accessible bay.
Daniel is an elderly man with many visitors books with signatures and comments from all the yachties who over the years have come to this bay. He is a very kind man and would have liked us to stay and chat. He did show us how to prepare bread fruit and how to easily cut through coconut husk. It was an overcast and rainy day and so we were in a hurry to get to the waterfall in case the weather deteriorated further.
We walked along a path taking us past several small houses and gardens and a chapel. Everything was quite pretty and neat. We were surprised to see so many (maybe 10) dwellings, they are well hidden from the shore.
Antonia, a girl who had just joined Holly B had been to the waterfall several times and therefore knew the way. Up we went along an ancient stone paved track, Antonia told us that the Nuku Hiva queen (in those days) was carried up this track up to the waterfall. We went past ruins of other dwellings and crossed the river a few times, getting more and more soaked. After the first crossing we no longer bothered to take off our shoes and socks but just waded through.
So here we are 12 of us trekking up this overgrown path through the jungle and across slippery boulders and wading knee deep across the river, most of us either falling at least once or knocking ourselves out but butting into falling branches at head height.
But the trip was well worth it. Once we get to the waterfall, considered to be one of the longest (highest?) in the world, we get into the water for a swim and manage to swim right up to the fall. Ivo and a few others swim under the waterfall but with some difficulty because the spray is so powerful you can't breathe close by it.
We have a quick rest and a snack and then walk back down to the shore. By now it is pouring down but who cares, we are soaking wet anyway from swimming in our underwear.
When we get back to the boats, Holly B is about ready to lift anchor and head off for Tuamotos. They leave the bay at sundown and we next hear from them only in Tahiti.
Monday, 23 August 2004
From Daniel’s Bay back to Taiohae so that Ivo could access the internet and send the More article (after the usual painful process of completing it over the past 5 days..).
We met up with Dominique & Pierre from Takapuna in the internet café where we had a chat and Ivo helped them download an FTP file for their Sailmail subscription. Wew invited them over for happy hour same evening and had a good time chatting about our respective sailing adventures. Pierre has been sailing since he was 9 years old. We told them about Mr Rat and Pierre then told us his experience of twice having had a rat onboard. One stayed for a week and created absolute havoc onboard, eating through everything. In particular there was a certain amount of struggle between himself and the rat over his watch wrist strap which the rat every night chewed a piece off. Some pieces of cloth and a sail where the rat had tunnelled through turned into lace of sorts, so many holes were there in the fabric. He at last managed to corner the rat and with a friend hold it while they sprayed it to death with the foam from a fire extinguisher.
We think our Mr Rat has left us, or else he is locked away in the genoa 4 sailbag in the sail locker and when we next open it we may also have a lacy sail.
Tuesday, 24 August 2004
After some final preparations, Ivo back again at the internet cafe, we eventually sailed from Nuku Hiva later morning. We had intended to go around to a bay on the north of the island, but decided against it because of contrary winds and instead sailed across to Ua Pou which would be on our way to Tuamoto anyway. We arrived just before dark at Hakahetau the northwestern most bay which we had hoped would be sheltered, but really was not very comfortable.
In the evening we heard that there was a warning for low in the south which would generate a southerly swell and sure enough we did see this arrive the next day when we headed for the Tuamotos.