Nightmare (Attempted) Trip to Fatu-Hiva

(this post is out of sequence, posted late, apologies)

April – May 2016

Our two months in Nuku Hiva, Marquises Islands were spent between the main bay of Taiohae (which we nicknamed T-Bay) and Anaho Bay, located on the north end of the island. This hadn’t exactly been in keeping with our initial plan of visiting as many of the islands in the Marquises as possible, but, as in all things boat related, plans change.
Both Bob and I had really wanted to visit the island of Fatu-Hiva which is the island furthest east and the first island you pass as you enter the Marquises coming from the east. Sadly, Futu-Hiva does not have a customs office so you are not allowed to stop there, you have to go to Hiva-Oa or Nuku-Hiva, to check in, both are west of Fatu-Hiva. Hiva-Oa being the closest, but as you may recall from my earlier post, we were unable to launch our dinghy in Hiva-Oa so we had to travel on to Nuku-Hiva. The island of Fatu-Hiva is not a comfortable sail in that direction for a shoal draft like Daisy, we would need very favorable wind conditions to make the sail possible (and safe) but we were optimistic of finding the opportunity..

Once Paul and Trish returned to their boat “Babe” from their month in Australia, plans were made to travel around the Marquises islands together. One sunny afternoon we both set off from T-bay for Fatu-Hiva, with the intention of arriving the next morning in good light. The weather looked to be, if not favorable, at least doable! Unfortunately, Daisy does not do well at 45 degrees so when five hours into the journey the wind changed and we hit squall after squall with 35 -37 knot consistent winds, things were not good, we were against wind and current in a raging storm in the dark. We were rolling around and crashing through the waves in the most uncomfortable fashion. Paul and Bob were in constant contact over the VHF, Babe was about two miles ahead of us and Paul had already called to say he and Trish were concerned about the conditions. I stuck it out as best I could because I really wanted to see Fatu-Hiva, but as the conditions deteriorated and we were suddenly engulfed in an enormous wave, I became so anxious I had a panic attack and vomited all over the deck! This was the turning point, Bob immediately made the decision to turn back and Paul agreed without question. We were already five hours into the journey but not even one third of the way to Fatu-Hiva, the most sensible decision was to turn around and return to T-Bay. At this point we were very close to Ua-Pou, Bob and Paul briefly discussed the option of stopping and anchoring there for the night, but Ua-Pou doesn’t have (according to the charts) a safe anchorage to approach in the dark and we had all had enough excitement for one night. Consequently it was just after one in the morning when we both arrived back into T- bay in total darkness. by this time we had come to know the bay well, and having only left that afternoon our anchorage was still open. I stood on the fore deck with the flashlight, lighting the path through all the boats for Bob. Once safely anchored, I quickly fell into bed for a deep exhausted sleep.
The next morning we all agreed to sail around to Anaho Bay to wait for more favorable conditions before heading out again. This was to be Bob’s and my third visit here, a bay which we were both falling in love with. I was more than happy to be going back.

The sail around was lovely with good wind. We passed school after school of Dolphins and even followed a group of Melon head whales out to sea for a while, Paul and Trish thought we had changed our minds and were heading out for Futa-Hiva without them! We simply couldn’t resist following these magnificent creatures. The Melon heads swam with us for about twenty minutes before we turned around and headed into the bay.
During our stay in Anaho, we checked the weather daily for favorable conditions to once again head out to Futa-Hiva, but they didn’t present themselves, at least not favorable enough to tempt us out again. We spent our time snorkeling, enjoying sunset walks along the beach, low tide walks along the reef in the morning watching the sharks and stingrays, we got plenty of jobs completed aboard, and had fun evenings on Babe and Daisy taking turns to do dinner and playing Rumikube.
After a wonderful fun week in the bay, Babe set off once again this time alone for Futa-Hiva, we loved where we were and decided to stay, agreeing to meet up with them in T-bay a week later. I was disappointed not to see Faut-Hiva, but I was so happy at Anaho I really didn’t mind.

We made some new friends on the yacht “Laos” Johnny and Debs, and had two fun cocktail evenings with them. Johnny is the absolute double of Anthony Hopkins, and meeting him was surreal, I met Anthony Hopkins about twenty years ago, and meeting Johnny was like meeting Anthony all over again. Fortunately Johnny’s personality was “Bill Parish” (Meet Joe Black), not “Hannibal Lectur”, (Sleeping with the Lambs).
I really hope we catch up with them again in the Tuomotos, they too are on their way to New Zealand for the end of the year.

This is such a great life for meeting fabulous people from all over…

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