06-04-2018 – Omoa, Fatu Hiva, French Polynesia

We’ve (finally) arrived in the Marquesas! Hooray! Our trip took almost 2 exactly months (actually 57 days if you count from when we left Las Perlas, or 60 days if you count from when we left Panama City). That’s much longer than the other boats in the “fleet” It’s just that Lungta prefers to take her good time about getting anywhere. 🙂
The days at sea all turn into a blur, since each one looks quite a bit like the previous one. Of course, some days have more clouds than others, some present different wildlife sightings, some have slower winds while others are faster, etc. But the elements of each day were substantially the same. No one moment felt especially special or different, and yet the overall experience gels together to produce a unique even on our lives. Somehow life itself seemed to slow down and become more basic. Watching the sun set or the moon rise was among the highlights of each day. We read, ate (two or) three meals, brushed our teeth and napped eah day. We read about places in French Polynesia we wanted to visit, watched episodes of “Cosmos” (the updated series with Neil de Grasse Tyson), repaired torn sails, and talked together. We all learned things about ourselves, some of them good, some opportunities for growth. 🙂
We arrived at the island of Fatu Hiva yesterday evening. We first went to the bay that is known far and wide, called Hanavave. It is lined with tall rock spires and the story goes that it was originally named by the French the Bay of Penises: Baie Verges. But the powers that be were shocked and chose to add one ‘i’ to make it Baie Vierges, the Bay of Virgins. Don’t know if this is true, but it makes a repeatable story. 🙂 We were surprised to see more than a dozen boats in this narrow anchorage which is very deep in the center and only suitable for anchoring around the edges. We poked our nose into several corners, but couldn’t find a place that felt safe. We’ve heard a number of times about winds that come down through the valley strong enough to cause a boat to drag on its anchor, and didn’t want that to be us! So, after exploring the areas of the bay that were unoccupied, we decided to leave and find another spot.
We spent our first night in French Polynesia anchored at the town of Omoa, 3 miles south of Hanavave. (But many of you probably already know this by checking our tracking page, forecast.predictwind.com/display/tracking/Lungta 🙂 ) We saw a great sunset along the way, which included a brilliant green flash. Our anchor dropped at 6:30, and after a joyful champagne toast and a quick spaghetti dinner, we all crashed in our bunks with no worries about having to get up for a nighttime shift. Although there are reports that this anchorage is a bit rolly, we found that it was delightful after 8 weeks at sea. 🙂 It’s open to a spectacular view of the sunset, but has high cliffs which shelter us from the constant presence of the trade winds. The hills are covered with greenery, including coconut palms that we believe are tended as part of someone’s garden. The small town is nestled in a bowl at the bottom of a few valleys, which form a wrinkle in the cliff-lined shore. Our fir st day here, we moved slowly – kinda like this way of living! – we spent a few hours cleaning the bottom of the boat, which had accumulated quite a few barnacles (including gooseneck barnacles, which reminded Kathy of a flock of white butterflies that had landed on the hull and then somehow got stuck). We then took an exploratory trip into town, to find out if our land legs still worked. Fortunately they do! We found a little grocery shop, and bought some basics – sugar, flour, eggs, milk, soy sauce, sweetened condensed milk. Wow – it’s going to be a challenge moving all the Spanish we’ve slowly learned over the last 7 years to a folder for storage, while we work on making coherent sentences (mostly questions!) in French. The woman at the store was patient with us, and we expect that we will encounter many people in the islands with that same sense of “what’s the hurry?”
We are thinking of returning to Hanavave tomorrow, but our plans are pretty fluid right now. We’ll let you more as it develops. For now, it’s time to get another good night’s sleep!

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