Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Land Ho!

Hiva Oa is in view under the clouds in the west.
What a welcome site: Hiva Oa, Marquesas, French Polynesia! Tom had been scanning the horizon for hours in search of the first site of land on our 20th day at sea. He was excite to see the island of Mohotani, which is uninhabited and charted as a restricted area. It lies about 15 miles southeast of Hiva Oa. You can usually spot land by looking at the clouds as they hover over the land masses.

The 3 Musketeers! No razors used on the crossing.
Our 40" long by 24" girth Yellow Fin Tuna!
Shortly after that, Tom saw Hiva Oa, the location of our anchorage and clearing in office. The sun was settling low in the west so you could only see an outline under the mass of clouds. We were still several hours away as we had less than four knots of wind, but the current was boasting our speed over ground so we continued under sail power. There is a penalty for motoring so we were determined to sail since we could not make landfall before sunset anyway.
This dinghy dock is dangerous!
Hiva Oa is one of two clearance locations in the Marquesas group. Since it is the most eastern, it is where most yachts enter after a 2900+ mile crossing from the Galapagos. Last year this tiny island saw over 700 visiting yachts. The real yachting season for them is April through July. This island rises straight out of the sea with no coral beds or sandy beaches. It is very deep right up to the edge of land until you reach the back of the harbor.

The World ARC "office" just off the dinghy dock.
We sailed right up to the last 24 miles when the wind died. It was in the middle of the night, too.
We continued on toward the finish line with several lookouts as we did not want to hit any fishing nets or small fishing boats, which are rarely lit. We crossed the finish line and went back out to sea to wait for daylight and to make water. Dennis had estimated it would take us 22 days and 14 hours and we were just under 21 days at sea. That was good time since the winds were light and variable all the way.

What to do now? It's always something
Unfortunately, our high pressure pump for the water maker kept kicking off the generator - so no fresh water! That was very disappointing since we all needed showers – badly! It also restricts how much water we can use each day. Dennis and I can live on a tank of water for two weeks, but it is different with five on board. Also, they keep doing their laundry with the fresh water so it is going to be a critical problem at some point. We have been cautioned that the water in the harbor should not be used for drinking. But there is an outdoor fresh water shower.

My new friend, The Fruit Lady!
The produce choice vary by day and from island to island.
The first thing I did even before we checked in was to seek information on a laundry service and get on the list! A very enterprising woman, Marie Jo, seems to have a lock on many services: laundry, which she washes and line dries, then folds it like a true professional; taxi service, tour guide (she leases out her husband Jon and his vehicle for all day tours; and she gives you tips on where to find things like fresh eggs! With 40 some boats arriving into their tiny town of Atuona, there are not enough eggs to reprovision. Of course, I admire her business strategy as a woman business owner! Not only was she efficient, but she understands customer service – something we did not see in the Galapagos.

Marie Jo has the market on
yachty services!
There is very expensive! Two bags of laundry was $6,000 cfp which is about $72 USD! A couple of bags of groceries with no meat and few fresh items were $15,000 cfp or about $182 USD. However, French bread can be had for very little and is available every day! So much for the gluten-free diet! I am on a French bread binge! I will pay, but for now I will enjoy.

A typical meal of goat, pork, breadfruit fries, rice and a
variety of unknown starches and fruits.
Atuona is locate at 090 48’ S and 1390 02’ W. The time zone is 9.5 UT (or Zulu). The region on French Polynesia shares two time zones. The anchorage is located in the northern corner of Taaoa Bay. It is rather rolly with the surge and tides. Stern anchors are a must here! Even the dinghy needs a stern anchor to keep it from beating against the rocks and the rugged cement dingy dock. There are no public restrooms anywhere.

1 comment:

  1. So happy to see the good news from Hiva Oa! I *really* loved your last passage post, Sherry. Brilliant. Really great perspective on what passages are like! I completely undertand the lure of those baguettes... oh and the brie, which is subsidized... and the pate... dangerous! I ganied 10 lbs of brie and baguettes during our 3 months in French Polynesia, but it was worth every bite! Watermaker troubles are no fun, especially with five aboard. Ouch, that's expensive laundry. For what it's worth, we did our laundry with the fresh water tap that's at the Atuona anchorage- "free" being my favorite price. :-)


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