I'm in Hanavave Bay, also known as Baie de Vierges or Bay of Virgins, on Fatu Hiva. I arrived yesterday after an overnight sail from Taiohae Bay, 125 miles away. The upwind sail was beautiful in parts, hard work in parts and straight out ugly for the last five hours. Most of the sailing was in 12 to 16 knots from the east. As I sailed 8 miles behind Hiva Oa and Tahuata the wind weakened until I sailed out of their wind shadows. As I approached Fatu Hiva, from about 35 miles away the wind started weakening and veering to the south. This left me making little progress on my port tack. When I tacked I was bashing NNE across the east swell as the light wind and steep waves didn't allow me to make a very good angle east. What would be a nice upwind sail in calm waters was difficult sailing in the waves and swell. I tacked back and forth for a while, and finally at 11am, 25 miles away, I turned the engine on so that I could arrive before dark. I started motoring in 8 knots of wind and over the next 5 hours the winds varied from 8 to 20 knots, from the east. The swell was wrapping around Fatu Hiva from both sides merging where I was. I had foolishly sailed into the washing machine area, downwind of many islands. Anyway, after much bashing, Luckness and I arrived in Hahavave. Its a gorgeous bay, pictures will follow. I'm so glad I decided to make the effort to get here, in spite of having to sail against the trades.
There were eight boats in the bay when I first arrived. I found a good spot in 75 feet of water, put a bunch of chain out and ended up in a pretty good spot. This anchorage lives up to all the praise I have heard about it, however at the same time, its fairly small and deep, so anchoring can be tricky. You wouldn't want to arrive here and anchor at night.
Fatu Hiva is the anchorage you would want to arrive in as you were finishing a passage. Its positioned in the SE corner of the Marquesas so all the other islands are downwind from here. However, there is no Gendarme here, so you aren't supposed to arrive here as your first stop. You are supposed to arrive at one of the two approved towns, check in, and after that you are free to move around as you please. Those are the rules anyway. At the moment, seven of the twelve boats are flying their yellow quarantine flags, showing that they have made this their first stop. I have mixed feeling about their being here.
I spent the day doing a few boat chores. I've rid my hull of the gooseneck barnacles. They didn't grow on my bottom paint at all, the paint worked well. However the barnacles did attach on my hull above the paint, at the stern. I've also started to look at a problem with my water maker, the gear oil from the motor is leaking and the motor housing is getting quite hot. I have replacement gear oil but there are no directions in my manual for what to do with it. I'll need internet or a phone call to solve this one. The carb on my outboard also needs to be rebuilt, as its leaking fuel. One of the jokes you hear about cruising is that its "boat maintenance in paradise." There is some truth to that saying.
I'll head to shore tomorrow. At the moment, I'm planning for my next stop to be Hane Moe Noa Bay on Tahuata.
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