Thursday, 6 June 2013
We had the pleasure of a really lovely day-sail on Tuesday - a mere 45 miles from Fatu Hiva northwards to the larger island of Hiva Oa. The sun shone, we had a nice Force 4 close reach and we enjoyed hand-steering all the way. There was no need to run the engine, except to anchor and the solar panels did a sterling job so we could run the watermaker all the way and arrived with nearly full tanks and nearly full batteries.
The anchorage is protected by a large man-made breakwater but this does little to stop the swell surging in to the fairly shallow waters. All the boats are anchored very close to each other with stern anchors out to try to keep up pointing into the waves so it's not the most restful place and at the moment (and for most of the night) it has been raining really hard but when the sun does break through we are rewarded by stunning views of the hills above.
We've done the long walk into town (about 1500 people live here so it's quite large) to check in with the Gendarme, investigate the relatively well-stocked but very expensive supermarket and get some diesel. Obtaining fuel is a slightly convoluted process involving jerry-cans and dinghy (landing ashore in the waves is a challenge) but the island's only petrol station is on the quay and the fuel is very clean. Yesterday Graham helped Peter fill 120 litres into Stormvogel's tanks which were pretty much empty and the process will continue today once the rain lets up. Meanwhile, two big bags of washing have been taken to the laundry and we've found a source of fresh vegetables so it's great to have some crunch back into our meals as we were getting pretty bored of tinned food!
From here the plan is to move across to a sheltered but uninhabited anchorage about 8 miles away where there is apparently good snorkelling and no swell. After that we'll head further north to the biggest island of Nuka Hiva before heading west to the Tuamutos archipelago and on to Tahiti.
Meanwhile, here are a few more photos from Fatu Hiva