Monday, April 18, 2011

Arrival in Hiva Oa

After several windless nights, the wind kept blowing about 20 knots during our last night at sea, throwing our calculated time of arrival off. Fortunately, the full moon gave us a nice view as we closed with Hiva Oa, the largest island in the southern group of the Marquesas, just after midnight. The air was filled with the humid fragrance of the island's dense vegetation. We slowly made our way along the coast, hove to for a couple of hours, and entered the small harbor near Atuona just before dawn. A brilliant rainbow shone against the precipitous, emerald-green cliffs across the bay, and a pod of dolphins escorted us for the last mile in, making this landfall truly memorable and picturesque.

There are about 15 other cruising sailboats here, with hailing ports like Melbourne, Australia, Prague, Czechoslovakia, and London, England. The average boat size is at least 45 feet, making the anchorage rather snug. We're anchored bow and stern in only about 8 feet of water. Our passage time was almost exactly 24 days (even though this is the 25th day, we didn't depart until later in the day).

Because we have arrived on a Sunday, we can't officially check in until tomorrow, but our agent had told us we could go ashore. So after a couple of hours of rest, and hoisting our yellow "Q" flag, we inflated the dinghy, paddled to the quay, and wobbled ashore, still swaying with the motion of the sea that has been our life for the last 3 and a half weeks. Everything was closed in town, so we contented ourselves with a stroll around the "neighborhood." The most delightful sights were plants and animals. We spent a half hour watching a flock of goats in their pen. It is good to be back on land!

1 comment:

Mike and Julie Hatcher said...

so glad to hear you made the passage safe and sound. We have been enjoying the posts!! Enjoy the rest of your time there.
Juls and Mike
S/V Slacker