At the end of our last post we had just beaten the dark and anchored off the island of Hiva Oa. That night, for the first time in nearly two months, we could once again sleep next to each other and at the same time. It was rolly outside the breakwater but I slept well and Heidi less so.
In the morning we looked out at huge, jungle covered mountains that rise in to the the clouds and the houses that are dotted around the bay. Everywhere there are sailing boats at anchor, all trapped by the Corona virus. It appears that we have really arrived in the South Pacific.
Various neighbours dinghied over to welcome us and bring us fruit. We later learned that the local population had presented every yacht with a box of fruit the previous evening to thank the sailors for their solidarity during the Corona lockdown period.
We were especially happy when Sylvie and Marc came out to see us. Our friends from Panama had heard on the radio that Artemis had arrived from Ecuador with two people on board so suspected it was us. Luckily, at exactly that time the authorities called (in French) and asked us to meet them on the dock. Sylvie and Marc became taxi, translator and advisor all rolled in to one.
The Gendarmerie were assisted by a local volunteer from the rescue service and a german/english/french speaking sailor. No one knew of our emails to the government but no one seemed surprised. Passports and papers were inspected and we were instructed to stay in the immediate area of the dock until our situation had been clarified.
The ferry dock is also the petrol station and “end of the road” so from our cockpit we can watch and hear polynesian life happening around us. A big difference to the vast ocean that has been our view for the last seven weeks.
Yesterday we had seen the supply ship/ferry leave as we entered. The ferry dock and area in front of it are perfectly protected behind the breakwater but forbidden to yachts. We were however invited to moor stern to at the dock as the ship would not be back for two weeks. With southern winds and high swell promised in the coming days, this was too good to miss so we moved immediately.
The area we can move in is not so big but a lot bigger than Artemis so we went for a walk, visited the supermarket which marks the end of our area and enjoyed non-moving land. I just wanted an ice cream but Heidi bought potatoes, eggs and onions for an amazing lunch.
The border is closed. We can not enter the country or be officially here but we are attached to land and surrounded by helpful people. Life is much better than it could be.