Hiva Oa Marqueses

There is so much to write about: THE Passage including footnotes from Other PPJ’s and Their Passages – Makes it look like our passage was a picnic; and Fun Days and Adventures for Konami Crew. But let’s start with the beautiful and mostly – Land of Paradise.
Hiva Oa is a beautiful, paradise setting very similar to Hawaii in landscape, everything is green and lush. The small village Atuona is about 2 miles away, a very easy walk on the nicely maintained highway if you’re not carrying backpacks and packs of provisions. Giant banyan trees, forests of banana trees, wild Thai chili pepper, loaded down coconut, pamplemousse (giant grapefruit), guauva, and papaya trees grow across the mountainsides down to the roads edge. Lime trees with shiny green leaves loaded with golf-balled limes, breadfruit trees with broad leaves provided shade from the beating sun and heated pavement. Hibiscus, gardenia, and ginger fill the air with euphoric scents, even out to the anchorage when the offshore breeze blows. We would stand in one spot and inhale deeply. Various birds, bugs, animals but no snakes. Rivers and creeks. The mountain ranges are steep, rocky and treacherous and covered in banyan trees. The highest peak is always in the rain clouds – it’s the rainy season now. When the heavy downpours end we can look up at the mountain peak and see 6 or 7 waterfalls dropping nearly 500 feet or more, and it’s a long distance to the peak from the anchorage. That is a lot of water flowing!
The first thing we bought was a baguette and fresh brie cheese. It was so delicious it brought on a voracious appetite for more food, mostly for crispy, crunchy green veggies that we haven’t had for more than 2 weeks during passage. It took a few days to find green veggies and it’s limited in variety. Chinese green beans, seedy cucumbers, eggplant, chives, onions were about it. Prices? Some of it was no more expensive than US prices during off season shopping, about $1.50/pound. But 3 golf ball sized tomatoes cost us $0.95; 1 small carrots (not pounds) was $0.92. I picked up a stalk of celery and didn’t realize we paid a whopping $6.76 for it until we got back. Where was this grown? Looked at the wrapper – Salinas, California! We decided to idolize it first, take pictures and then eat every bit of it including the dirty root. We didn’t feel so badly about the expensive celery when our buddy boat Sababa purchased a pound of grapes for $17.00 !!! . Nice fresh eggs imported from Tahiti is about $4.94. Hunks of fresh caught yellow fin Tuna is $2.50/pound. We feasted on sashimi for a couple of days.
I provisioned well in Mexico, especially for expensive items in FP such as powder milk, booze, rice, Kraft mac & cheese, salami and packaged meat. Coconut milk is SO cheap in Mexico, but trying to be practical about weight, I figured why carry coconut milk across the Pacific when we’re going to the “Land of Coconuts”? I found canned coconut milk imported from Thailand for $1.80 a can. Fresh coconut cream brought in from Tahiti is $12.00/liter. So we’re down to drinking water downed fruit juices from Mexico. There are no fresh fruit juices sold in the store, not even coconut water – only water-sugar- fruit juices that cost $6.00 per liter. WTH.
The anchorage area is crowded in the peak cruising season – April thru’ June. Boats are crowded in with bow and stern anchors, some boats parking on one another’s anchors – a real fiasco when wanting to up anchor and depart. Sharks swim around with the manta rays and a group of spotted rays, too bad the water is so filthy from mountain runoff and boat scum. We try to be very careful about dumping dish soap, and with the composting head, we aren’t adding to the sewage discharge. The dinghy dock is just a concrete platform that is extremely slippery and hazardous when the swell drives the dinghies under the platform – scrapping and gouging it. The first week we were here three dinghies slipped under the platform and popped. The swell is big and at high tide the water washes up over the platform creating a strong backflow. A local had to come down and hang onto me to keep me from being washed out into the anchorage. Getting back into the dinghy is a hyper extension leg stretch with back bending twist trick. On one occasion the dinghy was swept too far from the dock and I was left hanging 5′ below the platform hanging onto just the rope and a concrete post. Fortunately, abled-bodied Capt John leapt forward and grabbed me around the waist pulling me back into the rolling dinghy just as I started to lose my grip (literally too). I nearly cried from fright!
We catch rain water when we remember to set up the system at night. It rains nearly every night, a very cool breeze sweeps down and brings the refreshing rain. The water is clean enough if it hasn’t rain too much to wash down the sediment. We have an external filter to remove sediment and then treat the water with a chlorine solution. The boat is clean, the cushions get washed. We, on the other hand reek! The humidity is stifling, we sweat profusely and even after showering and washing laundry in the mineral rich river runoff, our clothes can’t dry in the humidity so we wear damp clothes all the time. Our clothes will have to be thrown away when we get back. We have grown accustomed to smelling like a horse, the other cruisers smell too, some of them like wild goats. It’s a zoo smell so we all get along and are happy little cruisers with drinks in our hands starting right after lunch.
Cruising life is hard at times. It takes a lot of physical strength and energy just to maintain upright stability on the boat in the rolling swells. The heat and humidity zaps our energy, we walk over 4 miles to get food, wifi is nil, and when we have weak wifi – the fokking (a new word we learned from the Irish cruiser) computer battery dies. The solar is at half output because of the clouds so we fiddle with the solar panels all day, shut down the fans and fridge to conserve power. It takes guts to land the dinghy and with the last few scary incidents we limit our shore excursions. The latest scary story is the shark biting someone’s dinghy oar. (Note to self: don’t fall in the water!) The bank shut off our bank cards for nearly 5 days, thank heavens for my brilliant sister and her tenacity, we now have purchasing power. The diesel is cheap with the duty-free discount – $2.78/gal., otherwise it’s nearly $5.00/gal. We used an agent to check into FP that cost us $260 but with the fuel discount good anywhere in FP and for our 90 day stay, it just about pays for itself.
We’re off to Tahuata, a small island southwest of Hiva Oa where the water is blue and clean, we will see the bottom 35 feet below us. There is a beach, we can swim without lurking sharks and fewer boats. No water or food in the anchorage, some coconut trees on shore. We’re stocked up with fresh fruits from a farm on Hiva Oa, lots of baguettes and 2 large hunks of creamy brie cheese.

7 thoughts on “Hiva Oa Marqueses

  1. Phil Campagna April 20, 2016 / 7:48 am

    So good to hear your voice. Been wondering how your passage had gone.
    I work at Boeing Portland, Tool Fab. Looks like you had a time just south of the equator? Looking forward to details.
    My boats are Pacific Seacraft 34 and J24 which I race with my wife and two others.
    Thanks for sharing. Stay safe.
    Phil Campagna


    • Diane April 27, 2016 / 4:02 pm

      Thanks Phil and thanks for following! Yes, we were hoping it would smooth out once we were South of the ITCZ, but some of our biggest seas and squalls were near the end of the passage.


  2. Sue Boyle April 20, 2016 / 1:33 pm

    Yay I was so happy to see your blog updated, I check all the time glad you made it safe on your passage,
    take care, be safe and enjoy your adventures.


    • Diane April 27, 2016 / 4:08 pm

      Thanks Sue! Hope all is well back there. Don’t forget to retire soon!


  3. Jerry April 21, 2016 / 10:02 am

    Yes I agree with Sue, I check your blog recently so very glad you are able to continue your journey


    • Diane April 27, 2016 / 4:16 pm

      Thanks Jerry, glad you are following along!


  4. yachtanjuli April 23, 2016 / 4:07 pm

    Your descriptions reminded us so much of our visit – especially the hot, sticky climate! So glad you made it safe. We just pulled into Paradise Village Marina – pretty deluxe. Potable drinking water on the dock, wifi, three swimming pools to choose from and a tiger. Yes, a real, live tiger. Bizarre, but hey, this Mexico! Can’t wait to see your next post. Miss you guys!


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