Fatu Hiva


We had a weather window to get to Fatu Hiva motoring directly into only 5 knots of wind, so we decided to go while we could.  We stopped overnight in Hapatoni on the island of Tahuata before continuing to the Bay of Virgins in Fatu Hiva. 

Hanavave is set in the mouth of a steep-sided valley. The bay is called the Baie des Vierges or the Bay of Virgins.  Originally the bay was named the Baie des Verges which means the Bay of Penises, due to the cone-shaped rocks protruding from the mountains which resembled giant phalluses.  When the missionaries arrived on the island they were outraged and added an ‘I’ to the name which changed it to Baie des Vierges or Bay of Virgins.  This was the number one place I wanted to visit in the Marquesas as it is supposed to be one of the most beautiful anchorages.  I have to say as we came into the bay it was rather underwhelming until we got closer and could actually see the cone shapes.  The bay is steeped in green high mountains and there are often goats grazing around the cone-shaped rocks.

Pretty, but not spectacular.

Much more picturesque once you get in close.

The village is small, but the locals all say bonjour and are very friendly.  By the time Charisma and Distant Star had arrived there were 9 boats in the anchorage.  The anchorage is very deep so you can only fit so many boats where it is shallow enough to anchor.  An English couple said they had been at the anchorage last year with 15 boats and it was a tight fit. Charisma and Distant Star soon made it ashore to have a look around except Makawi who had fallen through a hatch while trying to get the dinghy off the boat and was left bruised and sore.

Photo 1: The village church. Photo 2: The town tiki which greets you as you set foot onshore. Photo 3: View from the breakwater.

Every evening the goats would climb up to the top of the penis shaped rocks. One night two males were head butting and it was quite amazing they both survived, Andrew had hoped that one might land near Utopia and he could have a goat curry.

Waterfall Hike – 1/6/2021

After a couple of days of sailing we decided to have a later start and do the hike at 9 am.  Ashe brought ashore their organic scraps for the pigs that are tethered below the bridge, which Leif, Eden and Klein fed.

The hike meanders through the village before heading up on the main road. Eventually there is a dirt track of the road that leads up into the forest, the hike isn’t too strenuous or too steep. 

Someone had used some old stays from a boat for one steep section of the trail near the waterfall where it is a bit slippery, which is helpful.  We finally reached the waterfall and similar to the one in Daniel’s Bay there wasn’t a lot of water due to the lack of rainfall, but most of the kids went swimming and a couple of the adults.  Mosquito repellent is a necessity here as there are lots of mosquitos near the falls. Kahlil from Distant Star didn’t come on the hike as his mosquito bites had become infected and he wasn’t feeling the best.

Photo 1: The rather dry waterfall. Photo 2: Those who went swimming. You may notice Tristan with his snorkel and mask on in the background, I’m not sure if that was when he was photographing eels or shrimp.

Satellite image of the hike to the waterfall.

We hiked back to the main road and our group split up.  The mums, (Ashe, Alexis, and I) and three of the teens/young adults (Maya, Seth and Max) decided to continue up the steep incline to the crucifix while the rest returned to the boats.  It was a killer hike!!!!  The road is incredibly steep and filled with switchbacks that are so tight that we witnessed a car having to reverse back and forth to make the turns.  We had to frequently stop, especially me, while the teens went ahead.  The climb went on and on and on, with no crucifix in sight. 

Maya with the very placid bull, although Alexis was a little terrified of it.

The view as we begin the climb.

Eventually we saw Seth, Max, and Maya way above us and we asked if they could see the cross which they said yes.  So, we assumed that yes, they were at the cross.  Mmmm need to word the questions more concisely as they could see the cross but were not at it. 

An excavator at the top of the lookout point, I think it is Maya standing on top of it.

By this stage I decided I was done and told Alexis and Ashe to continue up without me, later changing my mind and continuing up.  After arriving at the lookout point, Ashe pointed out the cross below us, right where I had pronounced I was done and for others to continue on without me. “Bloody Hell! We were right there!” The teens thought it was funny at least.

We made it!!!

The view from the top looking down on the bay of Virgins.

We enjoyed the lookout point over the Bay of Virgins before continuing to another mount a little further out with views of the ocean.  The hike back down was long and steep, and our legs were burning by the end.  We didn’t stop at the cross on the way down as we couldn’t find a pathway to it and we were all pretty tired.  The scary thing is that the hike continues from the lookout point to the other village, Omoa and is 17 km one way. (we may have done 6 or 7 km of the walk).  Most people get the ferry back or get a lift.  It is a long hike and definitely one that Julie and family should do next year, not sure Lochlan could do this one Steph.

Seth, Max and Maya at the tip of the mount overlooking the ocean.

Satellite image of the hike to the lookout point.

For the more adventurous here is the hiking map to Omoa.

Volleyball – 2/6/2021

The kids caught up on schoolwork while Andrew, Tristan and I dinghied over to the bay at Omoa.  There was a huge swell in the bay and breaking barrels on the shore.  There is a dinghy dock and while we put out a grapnel at the rear and tied onto the dinghy dock Andrew wasn’t comfortable leaving the dinghy unattended, so we took turns to go and look ashore.  The village has a pretty church, and the locals were all friendly.  Have a look at the picture of the skulls nailed to a tree, I think they are definitely goats and that the bottom jaw has been flipped above the head, Tristan disagreed as there were no horns and thought they were horses.  I think they are too small for horses. 

Photo 1: Another white village church. Photo 2: One of the locals smoking tuna. Photo 3: skulls on a tree, goat or horse or something else?

On our return trip we explored two grottos and several blowholes that dot the rocky cliff faces along the edge of the Bay of Virgins before returning to Utopia.

Our group were invited by the locals to participate in a volleyball game at 2 pm.  The village has a volleyball court permanently set up, although the ground is concrete rather than sand.  Luca organised for the teens to go ashore an hour before the game to practice their volleyball skills and we came in later to watch the game.  Meanwhile the local kids practiced their volleyball and then soccer skills while their parents played.  After practicing as mixed teams, the locals wanted to keep score and then the teens decided to play locals against tourists, although Seth joined the locals to even the teams.  While the locals did win the game, there was less of a gap in the final score and the kids have definitely improved. Fatu Hiva is a beautiful spot, and a favourite anchorage in terms of beauty.  As far as provisioning there were no fresh fruit or veg in the store, but we did get pamplemousse from one local and Alexis did buy bananas and pamplemousse from another.  While we were there, we found the anchorage was calm and not rolly at all.  

Everyone enjoying a game of volleyball.

The kids at play!

Ordinarily you would check in to French Polynesia in Hiva Oa and then visit Fatu Hiva but with Covid-19 the only entry point is in Nuku Hiva, so it means you have to wait for calm weather to avoid beating in to the wind and waves. Hopefully, that will change next year.