What is happening in Hiva Oa

Life in Hiva Oa has been quite simple. In the morning we (together with Nigel and Alison from Strummer) would walk to the post office. Do our internet things, do a little bit of shopping, prices are high, so just buying the essentials, which includes fresh French bread and fresh vegetables from the local farm. Then in the afternoon maybe a little boat project here and there, tea with biscuits on Strummer, a bit of cooking and another day spent in paradise.

There were a few boats underway which people with a working shortwave receiver (that excludes me, mine plays only loud, high pitch variations of static) were tracking. That way we knew that Sayonara and B’Sheret about to reach Fatu Hiva, when we lost track of them. No, replies to emails, no sign on the radio. My intention was to sail over to Fatu Hiva and meet them, but with some windy conditions and big seas, an upwind sail just did not sound that inviting. But, I also did not get much work done on the boat (like cleaning the hull, or going up the mast) because the rollers coming into the anchorage had grown to make things slightly uncomfortable. When I peddled back to the boat on Tuesday, Morning Light’s bow was coming out of the water, rising up on the swell and decided I had enough of it. There are plenty of better anchorages around, I am cleared in, more or lest stocked up with water and food, time to go. Leaving that afternoon was going to be too ambitious, but I packed up the dinghy on deck with plans to leave on Wednesday morning early.

Wednesday morning the swell had not gone down in the anchorage and I decided it was time to go. Picking up stern and bow anchor proofed to be quite a struggle, but they all ended up safely on board. The anchorage is well protected against the wind, but as soon as I came around the end of the bay the wind and waves made things quite rough. Had a bit of a struggle to get the main up, but once that was done the sailng was quite ok, close reaching to the south-east to Fatu Hiva. I wasn’t quite sure I could make it during daylight and was going to decide the final destination at noon, when I could still turn west and have an easy sail to the anchorages of Tahuata. Then at 11:30 a sailboat showed up on the horizon, on a course about 180 degrees off mine. We got to within about a mile, and I was trying to see if I could recognize the boat. It wasn’t quite sure, but at some point I thought it could be Sayonara. It was a ketch, wind generator on the mizzen mast, blue canvas, just could not locate the Canadian flag. So I got on the radio calling Sayonara, and sure enough Peter replied asking me where I was. I told him I was on way to Fatu Hiva, and if he would look out the window to the west, he should se me about 1 mile away. Then I decided to turn around and follow Sayonara, which is a 32 foot Cheoy Lee. To go upwind I had the small yankee sail up forward, now going downwind I was not sure I would have enough canvas to keep up with Peter. To speed things up I started hand steering, once I had finished lunch. I was actually catching up on Sayonara and about an hour or so later I passed her. Which was quite fun, sailing two boats close together, I took some pictures from Peter, while he was filiming me. We got in about 4 into the Atuona anchorage.

Friday morning was the Euro 2008 match Holland – France. Went to the hard ware store to buy a bolt to fix the whisker pole, and they had a TV in there. It was already 1-0 when I got there, then I watched until the 2-0 score and went to the post office. Missed 2-1 and 3-1 scores, but did see the final minutes with the fourth Dutch goal. Team looks very good, and lots of compliments from the Marquesans for the Dutch (I was wearing my orange Panama shirt and my orange Dutch hat, if they keep playing this well I might have to get out my orange tie as well!).

Friday morning B’Sheret sailed in from Tahuata, so we now have a good number of boats that were also in Colon in March. Last night we had a get together on board Sayonara, talking stories about our crossings and other sailing experiences. Tonight we are going to have pizza at a restaurant near town.

Maybe early next week I will be leaving from here, going to hop maybe a few more islands in the Marquesas and than on to the Tuamotos (which is a group of low lying atols, where good navigation is going to be quite a bit harder and more important).

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