The Island of Hiva Oa

Town of Atuona

We arrived in Atuona, Hiva Oa on a rainy Sunday….March 23rd at 8:30am local Marquesan time.  Our crossing took us 22 days and 4 hours and we only motored about 100 hours.  For some boats 100 hours is a lot but because our diesel capacity and of course after making sure we had enough diesel to get us through a week or so just in case there was none on the island, we turned on the “steal sails” only when we our GPS speed was under 2.5 knots.  After we set anchor in the bay, we hung out on the boat all day (all the governmental offices were closed on Sunday) and rested up.

Slow Flight is front and center with 80 feet of chain out. Let’s just saw we usually have at least 100 to 120 feet of chain but there was no room in this anchorage…it was so crowded.

The next morning we made arrangements to meet our agent who we hired as part of the Pacific Puddle Jump to assist us in checking into the country.  Our dinghy landing was quite interesting….there is no beach to speak of and no “dock” either, just a platform with a hole through it to tie your rope around.  Though at high tide it is no problem getting in and out of the dinghy but at low tide it’s a big jump or climb and you have to watch out not to hit your head under the platform while the dinghy swings with the waves.  Did I mention it was still raining?

The Gendarmerie…is essentially like the port captain in the states.
Trevor in line to check in..we take off our shoes apparently the tile is not fun to clean.

After most of the formalities were taken care of next was the bank, internet, and check out the stores (stores are called Magasin) to provision and to check out town.

Trevor at the ATM
No way…cool whip?
It’s true..the French love thoer wine…it is everywhere!
Trying new beverages…this was a sparkly peach beverage…cost $2.50 usd
We bought yellow fin tuna on the side of the road…it ended up to be $2.00 a pond…amazing!
Had to have a celebratory local beer. This is the what is served everywhere.
Internet is SLOW! We heard of the Pearl Resort and for $35 usd/3500 CPF we could have use of thier pool, lunch included, and internet…with noone else utlizing it which helped speed things up…a bit.
My fancy lunch at the Pearl Resort of cocunt prwans and fancy sparkling water….
Ummm pizza!!!! and a good this place : )

Town is about a 45 minute walk from the anchorage and mostly we hitchhiked to town or picked up a “taxi” (locals who drive around to pick up tourists like us for about 200 CFP one way which is about $2usd).

We had some laundry done (sheets, towels only) and paid $36 usd which is about $4/kilo.  It was well worth it to me….I tried to do 1 load (which equates to 1 Home Depot bucket) of laundry for 3 days straight and it got all funky smelling and I couldn’t get it dry for the life of me.

We met another boat and we helped each other get diesel….100 gallons, 5 trips to and from the station with jerry jugs, it was still raining so we had to fashion a cover over the deck fill so that water wouldn’t get into the tanks….Are we having fun yet : )

We needed to leave Atuona to make water because as we are learning, the anchorages all seem to have a stream/river running into the bay which makes for brown water…not good for filters or for any kind of water activity.  We have learned to make water underway.


Paul Gauguin museum…all the paintings were replicas but it was still was cool.
Trevor looking interested
Paul Guaguin’s house…as we were told
My favorite painting at the museum.

North side of the Hiva Oa-Hanamenu Bay

We finally hooked up with our friends on SV Fandango (Captain Ian, Elizabeth and her boyfriend Brad) who we met in La Cruz Mexico on the north side of the Hiva Oa.  It was great to see familiar faces and celebrate our crossing.

On the north side there was actually some sun so I could get some more much needed laundry done.  We had Fandango over for dinner and had fresh yellowfin tuna seared with rice.

We went snorkeling (FINALLY) and saw these beautiful goats roaming the mountain side on our way back to the boats.  GOAT TV we thought.  These goats were half brown and half black with beautiful brown markings around the eyes. Not an hour later we hear a gun shot echo though the valley.  I look to my right (I was in the cockpit) and saw a goat fall about 150 feet off a cliff into the water.  There were 2 guys on the mountain side, 1 with a gun and the other staged to keep the goats in 1 direction, and a third guy in a boat who was acting as a scout.  We watched them for a good hour.  When the rest of the goats got away the boat picked up the guy with the gun and drove by our boat to show us their catch.

These guys were super proud and happy!. We gave them a thumbs up. Some may think it’s not cool but this is the way they do it here. When in Rome : )

North side of the Hiva Oa-Hanaiapa Bay

SV Fandango leading the way, we hopped to another bay about 9 miles.  We headed into “town” to take a peek at what was around.  We traded make up for pomlemouse (basically grapefruit but bigger), and was summoned by a guy named William to come to his “Yacht Club”.  He offered us “lemonade and bananas (the ants on the bananas were so think I was surprised it wasn’t carried away) but we graciously accepted.  William showed us his notebooks of all the cruisers who stopped by his as far back as 2013.  It was IMPRESSIVE!

Our sail in the bay, SV Fandango on the left
Star fruit tree
Brad,Ian, Trevor, and Liz with a bag of pomlemousse (similar to grapefriut)
The entrance to William’s Yacht club..aka his house
Captain Ian, William, and Captain Trevor
All of us looking through Williams books of passing cruisers.


  1. Great news and post. Sounds fun and glad you made it with smiles and appreciation in your hearts for the fun adventures, which is why you’re there. Love you guys. FYI, Allison, Merle, and kids from Kenta Anae are just back and stopped at Heidi’s parents in Tuscon area and are bringing some stuff to us. Theyre heading up the sea for haul out.

    Love you guys and smooth sailing.

  2. So very good to hear from you! Safe crossing! 🙂
    Isn’t a familiar face a gift at times? Warm hearts, a feeling of home/of being somewhat grounded by familiarity.

    Wish we were there; not for the crossing as such, but for good wine and good friends. 🙂
    Well wishes; keep in touch…………….Via con Dios

    Dick and Sue O’Leary
    Vida del Mar/Wisconsin

  3. Finally got to read this. Quite the adventure and it sounds like the islands have been a pleasant (although rainy?) experience so far.

  4. I really enjoy reading your blog. Thanks for the sailing lessons in San Carlos, Mexico. We sailed the month of April in the Sea of Cortez around San Carlos.

    Tim Matheus
    Fort Worth, Texas

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