Marquesas Arrival

We’re here! As night fell that squall line dissipated and gave way to our much-needed easterlies. Over the following two days we made good progress and were able to make Fatu Hiva, the southernmost island in the Marquisas archipelago, by late afternoon on November 1st – Sarah’s birthday. We dropped anchor on a bottom of rocks and boulders in calm water and with no wind to speak of other than the light diurnal land and sea breezes blowing in and out of the bay. We were in Baie des Vierges – the Bay of Virgins – which is widely reputed to be one of the most picturesque anchorages in the world. It certainly was, with sheer cliffs of phallic rock structures on two sides giving way to the little town of Hanavave at the apex of the bay, nestled at the base of the cliffs next to a river. Indeed, legend has it that the original name for the bay was ‘Baie des Verges’ which means ‘Bay of Penises’. However, the missionaries weren’t fond of the penises so they slipped in an extra ‘i’ and transformed the penises into virgins, finding those far more preferable.

For us, however, the relief was not so much in the vista as it was from the opportunity to sleep undisturbed for the first time in 12 days. We stayed for two nights and one day, and used that time mainly to clean and tidy, stow sails, run the water maker, change the oil in the engine and cook some good meals. Incidentally, that clicking noise that I mentioned in my last post has stopped following the oil change. I’ve been changing it every 4 months but have now resolved to do it even more frequently. I also couldn’t smell any diesel in the old oil so for now I’m content to follow ‘Brooksie’s First Law’ and do nothing more about it.

On November 3rd at first light we awoke, weighed anchor and were underway for the big island of Hiva Oa, some 45 miles to the NNW, under full sail and enjoying an unexpected NE’ly breeze, force 3.

We are there now, in Tahauku Bay near the town (what seems to us a metropolis) of Atuona. It is November 8th and we are preparing to set sail once again for Nuku Hiva. Charlene joined us two days ago and is settling in well. We’re looking forward to an overnight stop in Tahuata at a bay where there are reportedly an abundance of manta rays, and then on to Nuku Hiva in time for a music festival which takes place on November 10th and 11th. We are also looking forward to seeing our good friend Mark aboard his boat ‘Pilas’, whom we met initially in Colon, spent time with again in the Galapagos Islands and then parted ways with until now. We had a wonderful time two days ago doing a treasure hunt that he and his friend Chris had set up for us by hiding sequential jars with gifts in them along with directions from one to the next. It culminated in a wonderful ramble through dense woodland to a huge rock displaying ancient Polynesian petroglyphs, under which was hidden our final ‘treasure’ – 3 fishing lures. The real treasure of course was the experience itself.


  • Peter Sellar

    Happy Birthday Sarah, you must be close to sitting your fist Mate’s ticket. I would love to have done this when I was a young lad. But then I think of the things I would have missed. We head south to Panama City Beach and will stay until April when hopefully winter has passed. D & J will visit us in February as they head down to the Florida Keys. Had an e-mail from your mum, they seem to be enjoying life in Thailand and she said Thomas and his girlfriend will be visiting them at Christmas. Happy sailing. S&P

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