From the island of Hiva Oa we sailed upwind past Mopotani to the magical island of Fatu Hiva. We arrived in the dark and the tiny bay already had seven yachts at anchor, shelved incredibly steeply and was rocked every few minutes by winds from the mountains. Despite instructions per radio from Mollymawk and light from the other boats, it was extremely hard to anchor but we managed. For the first time in our adventure we sat outside all night at anchor watch.
The following morning we awoke to impossibly beautiful scenery. We were anchored in the legendary Bay of Virgins, surrounded by volcanic crags with palm trees and the church spire at their feet. This island needs a huge sign “you have reached paradise”. We baked chocolate brownies and spent the rest of the day drinking coffee with all our helpers from the previous night. Cafe Artemis was the social middle point of the bay. We also managed to break our flag pole when a gust swung us towards a neighbouring boat.
The next day was Sunday so we took the broken flag pole and went to church. The singing was so beautiful and the rhythm made it impossible not to sway in the pews. An amazing concert. The sermon was in polynesian so we have no idea what it was about but there was lots of smiling and laughing.
After church we took the flag pole to the master carver, Teno to be repaired and, after we saw his beautiful work, ordered a new one as well. We also loaded up with fruit from his garden and carried it back to the dinghy in his wheelbarrow.
In the afternoon we walked up the valley to a hundred meter high waterfall hidden in the jungle. There are no signs and the directions were minimal so we followed our noses along a stream until we found the huge waterfall cascading into a deep cool pool. Naked we jumped in and enjoyed the limitless refreshing water in our private shower.
On Monday we put our bikes together and set off to cycle to the neighbouring village of Omoa. It is only 35 kilometers there and back but this is a volcanic island so you climb more than 600 meters over the pass each way. And the road is extremely steep.
As we left the village we met the preacher from Sunday and told him how we enjoyed the laughs and smiles. He thanked us and filled our rucksacks with bananas. At a bend in the road we looked straight down on to Artemis anchored hundreds of meters below us and then continued up in to the jungle and the pass summit at 613 meters. Here we met Lucian who gave us a grapefruit. We then enjoyed the long roll down to Omoa.
In Omoa we looked at the church and admired the huge waves before finding a snack bar for a ham sandwich. Strengthened by this we set off home. On the way up hill we found Mango trees so filled the rucksacks with fruit. It was getting late and the afternoon sun produced scenes full of colours at every turn. No pictures can ever do the reality justice.
Back at the boat we converted mangos, chilis, grapefruit and limes into chutney and prepared a fruit and rum cocktail. And all with ingredients from the jungle and Teno’s garden. Unbelievable.
On Tuesday we cleaned the bikes and packed them away again. We swam round the boat a few times with dolphins swimming near by and then our new flag pole was delivered by Teno and his wife Karin. The neighbours also came over from Joy, the boat next door and together we enjoyed pizza, chutney on bread and banana bread all washed down with rum punch, wine and beer. Teno and Karin brought us drawings on local cloth made from trees and Karin gave Heidi the flowers from her hair. While we were eating Pierre, another neighbour stopped to give us a few kilograms of goat meat so after the guests left we started preparing goat stew. The bananas Pierre gave us earlier need to be turned in to jam with the fresh lemons we picked.
Two days later, before the sun rose over the mountains we lifted anchor and used the trade winds to sail north, on to our next adventure and away from magical Fatu Hiva.