FATU HIVA, Pacific Paradise

Most perfect place, we will be back- Fatu Hiva (Bay or Vírgins aka Bay of Penises)

Photo blast in Fatu Hiva. We must be moving too fast or having too much fun to do much talking about it all, we are just doing it all…LOL
The hikes are so rewarding and there are no poisonous or dangerous plants, reptiles or animals to worry about. The altitude we were climbing in made this hike a very “tropical” misty experience.

We spent many days with a new friend Christian, he is a local carver and chef. We fell in love with this tiki and bought it, we’ll not with money but as a trade for an underwater flashlight. He said he needs it to find the lobsters. The next day Kathy hiked up to the farthest home, where Vanessa painted a Tapa, the local artisan makes the tapas all year long, then brings them to Tahiti and other events to sell at the fairs.

The bakery was closed, so Agnes swooped in and took us home. She gave us her baguettes, cold drink, fruit and special cancer cure jam, made from who knows what! She told us her life story (all in French) and was a great pantomime. She gave us a special tour of her garden, showed the vertical way she plants orchids, and explained her citrus grafting technique (in French). So special!!

Goodbye for now magical Fatu Hiva, see you in 6 or 7 months, as that is our plan for the Summer (US Winter). We have a 3 day sail to a SE Tuomotu Island Amanu. All the islands we will be “INSIDE” inner lagoons. Over the next 2 months we will explore the strange Motus or tuomotu: any island or islet in Polynesia, more specifically meaning atoll surrounded by coral reef. Fun new adventure!

Marquesis with Manta Rays, flowers, villagers and more!

Marvelous Mantas!! A group of local manta rays were feeding just outside of Atuona, Hiva Oa, Marquesis. What an awesome experience to have these large, graceful, plankton feeders come gliding right by.

Its safe to snorkle right near their feeding path. These 15′ wide giants would feed ladder style, one on top of the other, to catch the most plankton. Then, they would somersault or do an about-face and return on the same path.

Don’t almost seem to smile and laugh? When they got near us they would just glide right under. So spectacular!!

You can sail from Hiva Oa to the southern most Marquesan island, Fatu Hivu (the beatiful Bay of Virgins). It was named something else, you can guess.

Fatu Hiva! Prettiest place on Earth.

The flora here in Fatu Hiva is breathtaking. Take a look! Since the Marquesa Archepelegos are the most distant from any continent on the globe, the endemic fauna are quite limited. Only 41 or so species of birds here, most are tropicbirds, small bluish doves and some kingfisher.

There is a wide variety of insects, large yellow wasps, but we haven’t been bothered by any in the least bit. The greatest number of species are the butterflies and moths, some only found around these Islands. The rest of the land mammels seen were introduced by the Europeans in the 1800’s. We have seen these domestic wild animals: pig, goat, horse, cow and chickens. Strange that there are no snakes at all really no other endemic mammals.

How do you describe a place you never imagine existed?
This anchorage is
Yosemite + Gillian’s Island + The Garden of Eden

The mountains sore 3000 feet surrounding this bay and are covered with coconut trees and tropical plants. Most of these plants you’ve only seen in your moms potted terrarium. When you go to shore you are welcomed by the locals that only want to cook for you and provide you with the most lush fruit you’ve ever seen. The few paved roads are over grown with flowers, breadfruit, limes, oranges and Pamplemouse.
The weather is as perfect as a late summer day, where you need to keep the sun off but the sunset is quite welcomed with a fresh breeze that keeps the boat cool and fresh.
In the bay we work on the boat and wait for the Mantas to swim by or pick at the Ukulele. We are greeted often with visiting boats from France, Denmark, Canada, Switzerland or other areas that challenge our language skills. There are very few Americans here and somehow that just feels perfect.

Chris, the chef here, invited us to a yummy dinner.

I’m not sure what we are going to see next but all I know is that in all the years of travel and sailing I’ve never been to a more beautiful place…..and what’s better is this is the road less traveled. You just can’t get here any other way.
Oh yeah, Kathy and I celebrated our 12 Anniversary the other day in a bay almost as perfect. We were happily all alone on a beach with a hut, coconut trees and a fire with Hot dogs!!! The most perfect Anniversary we could ever hope for.
What’s next? Who cares…….
….we’re stickin’ around here for a few. (But the Tuomotus are calling)

BTW, trading amongst the locals is alive and well. Maybe even a little black market. PM me if you heading this way next year and you want to know what these folks need or want. 😕

TIKI LAND in the Marquesas, and a few Coconuts!

Hiva Oa, Marquesis, French Polynesia.
We sailed to Hiva Oa on Monday and officially checked into the country of French Polynesia on Tuesday. Since then we have done a ton of boat chores (yes, we have to work at this life) and have made an effort to see this beautiful island. Hiva Oa is the second largest island in the Marquesas Island chain and has about 2,100 people living on it. These islands are Volcanically formed and have rich black soil. The jungle is massively thick and full of healthy green plants than makes it hard to walk through. These islands make me think that this is what Hawaii looked like 150 years ago before we over populated it. Only it’s much more lush here.
Kathy read something somewhere about a short cut path to town. 20 minutes later she was leading five of us up a hill that reminded me of the movie “Romancing the Stone”. I am sure it wasn’t the path we were supposed to be on.

The town is cute and a little more than just basic. 2 restaurants, one bar, an ATM, a few other stores and chickens everywhere…..We rented a car and drove around the Island with cruiser friends. We saw the Ancient Tikis that dated back to 1500 BC and met a man that helped us to some coconuts. Again, the locals are just so happy to spend quality time with us.

What strikes me funny is the lack of a fishing industry. We were so used to pangas everywhere in Mexico but here there are very little commercial fishing. We actually haven’t seen one commercial boat. Most of the fishing we’ve seen are the locals fishing for themselves but not even much of that. The diet here is mostly fruit, coconuts, baguettes and simple foods imported from New Zealand or Tahiti.
Very little fresh fish in the markets.

Tahuata/Hiva Oa, Marquesas

Fun first couple of days, landed here April 7th. We are on a small Island called Tahuata and a village named Hapatoni. The population of the whole island is about 700 and this village we anchored in front of has about 150 people.
We spent Sunday exploring the small village and laying under a common area with the villagers. The locals were very interested in trading for fishing tackle, makeup and even a lighter for all the fruit we could ever want as well as some bone carvings and local artisan crafts. We spend a few hours with Celia (tattoo guy standing with us) and Jil (fisherman on the dock) who both helped us understand how this tribe/village makes it living on Artisan crafts and relates to the French Government. The locals are also hunters and provide their own meat by hunting pigs and goats. (One gun in the village). Another interesting story….
The forests are just so lush and full of fruit. The waters are full of the most colorful fish,go pro pics are coming soon!One snorkel and I saw as many types of fish as I saw in almost two years in Mexico. I will talk about that in later posts.
So many interesting facts here on history it’s hard to describe but the history is thick all the way back to Captain Cook, the Spanish landings and 1590 and the locals killing 30 French explorers in the 1800s. Super fun.
Note! There is not one piece of trash or garbage anywhere in town! Not one bad smell or dilapidated structure. So different than Mexico. The locals are proud, happy and super generous.

Easter Mass last Saturday night was a real treat for us. This Tahuata event starts out in the gardens, where a dozen local Marquesan families mill around, all dressed in white. Many come up and interacted with us. Candles are given out, children are playing, singing (in Marquesan) and casually welcoming all guests. A bonfire ceremony is held and the Catholic Priest leads a prayer (in French)

The women led us into the church chanting and singing in their local language consisting of mainly vowels. We sat intermixed in the wooden pews and enjoyed the mass, agreed it was a very long mass.

The Catholic churches are beautiful as well and seem to be the social center of every village.

Pac Voy-Final Leg-20 days

20 full days at sea.

Land Ho!!!!!
There are no words…..

COUNTDOWN, only 1 left and 157 km till Landfall in Tahuatu, Marquesis, French Polynesia.
Our Pacific Ocean crossing was more than a journey from one place to another. This huge adventure tested our skills, wits, limits, patience, boat, bodies, and friendship. I personally have never been so challenged, but mainly in my kitchen. Daily I was assaulted by my very own ingredients, cookware and utencils. When the butter suddenly slips across the countertop and lands on my barefoot, swearing always occurs. So, I am proud to say I managed quite well, in spite. The galley floor, stove and walls did not however, and, not much cleaning occurs out here on the rockin’ rollin’ Sea Bella.

This experience challenged us in ways we never knew and brought us even closer together (haha quite literally). I feel so blessed to have such a great partner in our dream. Scott is such a competent and skilled Captain of our sailing home and vehicle. He has been so caring to me, as I fumble through meals, sail changes and night watches. As quiet as it was for us from time to time, I am glad we didn’t bring on crew, as that would have interfered with some wholesome closeness. It is with bittersweet emotion that our 21 day passage comes to an end tomorrow evening.