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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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 place..dating as far back as 2013. It was IMPRESSIVE!