Once around Hiva Oa

After a few weeks in Atuona on the island of Hiva Oa we were feeling the call of the sails again. Because of Corona, we are limited to sailing in the Marquesas archipelago but that is enough to keep us occupied for a long time.

We lifted the anchor, set the sails and let the wind blow us across to the neighbouring island of Tahuata. Just off a palm fringed beach we turned up wind and tacked back to Hiva Oa and the bay at Hanamenu. The entrance to the bay can not be missed as it is next to a huge rocky headland that can be seen from far out at sea.

Bath time in the jungle

We anchored alone in the bay and enjoyed the peace and stars. The next morning we rowed to the beach and found a beautiful fresh water pool fed by a crystal clear and very cold spring. A tropical paradise. We collected some fruit and coconuts and that night enjoyed Rum Hanamenu. Less enjoyable were the hundreds of nono bites we collected all over our bodies.

The next day we sailed on to the bay and village of Hanaiapa. The chart shows a sandy bed to the bay but we found coral twice and had to re-anchor. During the second maneuver we wrapped a rope around the propeller shaft so had to dive with a sharp knife to free it. Definitely a good way to work up a hunger for breakfast.

The village of Hanaiapa was beautiful, spotlessly clean and tidy. The jungle runs seamlessly in to the gardens and fruit was everywhere. Rum Hanaiapa was another variation for our evening drink.

After another day of tacking against the wind, we reached Puamau bay and anchored as close in as possible to avoid the heavy swell. Puamau had been the end stop of our cross island tour a few weeks earlier and we could see the beach where we had cooked lunch during that trip.

The following morning we were just going to lift anchor when we saw the supply ship Aranui 5 entering the bay so decided to keep out of the way and wait for it to anchor.

The Aranui waiting to help us lift our chain

Our anchor chain was well and truly stuck. We could not lift it with the winch nor break it out with the full weight of the boat. We radioed Aranui and asked if one of their lighters could give us a lift to shore where the whole village was waiting for supplies. Their first officer was only too happy to help. On shore we found a diver who agreed to help for a bottle of rum and went off to get his gear. Just as he returned Eduard, the first officer of Aranui, also arrived on board with his diving gear and freed the chain from a fissure in the coral. Unfortunately we had given our rum to the locals so could only offer Eduard tea, biscuits and t-shirts.

Only three hours later than planned, but extremely relieved, we set sail back to Atuona.

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