Angelic Polynesian voices reverberated in the small concrete church as the devout
congregation sang in harmony on the small island of Fatu Hiva. Most of the catholic mass was sung except for the sermon perse, and this was spoken in the traditional tongue of this land; Marquesean and not French. I joined Gail and Tony of the sailing vessel – Cetacea for the morning of worship prior to our yoga session led by Cara. Tony and Gail certainly know how to throw a party and a few of the other cruisers joined us to celebrate Cara’s birthday the evening before.
My contribution to the fare were some Vietnamese Summer rolls which were greatly appreciated as they’re so different from the local food. We had a great pasta and the others ate some baked fish which Cara and Jacob had bartered for. Later in the day we joined some locals for a traditional BBQ lunch including a red banana poi which is a sweet dish, smoked red bananas, rice, potatoes, salad and Thomas had pork, chicken and Poisson Cru – the Polynesian’s version of cerviece.
The raw fish is marinated in coconut milk rather than lemon juice. They had a beautiful cake as dessert. Thomas was able to learn a lot about the island conversing in French. He translated for me later.
Thomas and I hiked up to a cross, which was poised on the top of a craggy mountain, to take in the spectacular view of the mountain range and the harbour. The bay where Qi was lying has guardians of rock pillars along the side. It was rather deep and it is not unheard of to experience gusts of 60 knot winds tearing through the valley onto the anchorage, although we have been experiencing a lull in the winds. People we had met in Las Perlas, Galapagos and Panama are here and we are meeting lots of lovely other cruisers too. It makes for fun evenings and interesting conversations. We have met some young French sailors who have done some wonderful hikes here so we have plenty of activities on our current agenda.
(two days later) We managed to get in a walk to the local waterfall before the infamous winds returned. Magnus from Norway guided Miko and Yohanna from Finland, and the two of us up to the falls. We passed the ruins of the old village along the way. The village was abandoned when the mosquitoes from the jungle became prominent. Recent rain ensured a sizable flow over the drop of the waterfall and we couldn’t resist a swim in the fresh water. We met Murray and Janet with the super fast catamaran, Gizmo, along the way. They invited us back to their incredible boat for sundowners.
Magnus collected a coconut and a grapefruit along the way to the waterfall and had cheese to accompany a warm loaf of bread. What a guide finding that bush tucker. The scenery was beautiful and the company was great.
We were reluctant to leave the boat in the winds so we decided to head off to the northern side of Hiva Oa where we found Fabio, a Brazilian sailor whose rudder broke crossing the Pacific, building a new rudder of wood and epoxy. He was having difficulty finding suitable materials on this little island. He’d used his floor boards as a rudder to sail the 2700nm to get here.
Hanaiapa Bay has a little village where the inhabitants grow tropical flowers along the road side. The locals offered us some fruit and were friendly. We met up with the crew of Gizmo again and their Australian captain, Paul, invited us to take a ‘fast’ dinghy tour with them to see the waterfall. It was great to catch up with them again. Still many interesting conversations to be had with these delightful people.
We left the anchorage in the late evening to sail over night to Nuka Hiva, the furtherest island to the north-west of the Marquesas group. As we weren’t getting any weather reports other than my big brother, Alec’s updates, we were expecting the same calm winds that sent us into the bay the day before. We were delighted with 20kts apparent from behind which sent us zooming through the night.
Now we are here on Nuka Hiva and we can’t believe that we finally have some internet. We haven’t had any since leaving the Galapagos over a month ago. We will make the most of it for the few days here before heading off to other bays on the island. Then we are off to the atolls of Tuamotus on the way to Tahiti. Loving the beauty of the islands; their ruggedness, greenery and their diversity. Pics of the beautiful places we’ve been below.