Day 209, Year 1: Arrival in the Marquesas
Date: Sunday, May 14, 2006
Weather: Blue Skies Dotted with Puffy White Clouds
Air Temperature: Hot
Latitude: 10 degrees 28 minutes S
Longitude: 138 degrees 40 minutes W
Location: Hanavave Bay, Fatu Hiva, Marquesas
Miles to Go: 000
Miles to Date: 3,020

We made it . . . and it is beautiful and peaceful here. I’ll go into more detail tomorrow. We have been in the anchorage here at Fatu Hiva since 2:00 this afternoon. Our “landing” was not quite as successful as our passage as we had to try three times before we found a suitable place, and in the process, we dragged our anchor and caught it on the anchor of another boat. But all is well. We got ourselves separated, and settled, and since then we have had constant visitors. We have a dinner invitation from Windcastle, so we’ve got to run. For today’s log, I recorded the day as it went along. Here’s how the day went.

0625: Land Ho! First sighting of Fatu Hiva. All we could see were the sloping sides of the island with a huge cloud sitting on top of it, but it was surely a welcome sight.

0700: Last Fatu Hiva Net radio check-in with Mark as net controller. One of the boats in the fleet, Trisha Jean, saw the ship Manet at daybreak and contacted them on the radio. They reported that Randy’s condition is stable. Very good news indeed. Sheri is motoring toward Nuka Hiva, but has 682 miles to go. We told her that we would monitor her progress. Wind Pony is heading out this morning with crew from Endangered Species to meet her. That rendezvous will probably not happen until Tuesday, so we wished Sheri safe sailing as a single-hander until then. Minda on the boat Caminda II reminded us this morning that it is Mother’s Day. So I guess my Mother’s Day present is the diesel fuel we are using to motor in today. That’s one of the nicest presents I have ever gotten.

0810: We got a phone call. I heard the satellite phone ringing and thought I was hearing things. By the time I got here, the caller had hung up. And then we got worried. Was something wrong? We figured the call had to be from our daughter Heather so we called back. No answer. So we left a message. And then she called back. It had been her that had called and there was nothing wrong. She just wanted to wish me a Happy Mother’s Day! Our son Justin is in Africa right now, so I don’t expect a call from him. But I did receive an e-mail from his yesterday telling me that things are going well and that he is fine. That is Mother’s Day present enough.

0900: Since we are coming into port, I decided it was time to take stock of the provisions. We are down to the last half loaf of bread and the last two pieces of banana bread. We have three tomatoes wrapped in newspaper left as well as onions and potatoes and half a red pepper. That’s it for fresh vegetables. We have five Pilseners left, so we know it is definitely time to be on land once again. The freezer is still full of chicken and beef from Panama and the Galapagos. We rarely eat beef but that was all I could buy there, so that is what we have. The cabinets are still full of canned food, rice, noodles, flour, dried fruit-probably enough food for the next three years, so we aren’t going to starve anytime soon.

1000: Time to clean up. We took showers and washed every last bit of dirty clothing. When I say that, “every last bit”, I think of the recipe for making Vegetarian Lasagne in the Moosewood Cookbook. It says to use “every last noodle” in the final layer. Anyway, we washed the sheets from our bunk at sea and have them hanging out to dry. I do think we are ready to anchor.

1100: As we sail along the coast of Fatu Hiva we are looking at craggy, sharp, deep ravines with low green growth, no trees. In certain light, the saw-tooth terrain looks as if it is swathed in velvets of brown, tan, and every color of green imaginable.

We have traveled 8,232 miles from Boston, Massachusetts to Hanavave Bay, Fatu Hiva Island in the Marquesas. This has taken us 208 days or just about seven months. In the next six months we will travel another 5,000 miles to New Zealand. If we went directly there from here, it would be only 3,000 miles, but we are going to weave through French Polynesia, the Cook Islands, America and Western Samoa, Tonga, and Fiji, before heading south to New Zealand for their summer, our winter. The “Voyage of Windbird” goes on.

1140: We are starting to round the southeast corner of Fatu Hiva. Most people come in by going on the north side, but we wanted to travel around the island to see the coast line. And as we approach this next point, the landscape is changing. The saw-tooth ridges and valleys are giving way to rounded hills and columns that rise up as sheer cliffs.

1245: Motored past Omoa. The white church steeple was the prominent landmark.

1330: We see the anchorage in the Bay of Virgins, Bay of Phalli, or Hanavave Bay-take your pick. It is drop dead gorgeous. We see many boats that we know well, so the passage is over. It was wonderful, but now we are approaching land and life will change. Not a bad thing. Just different. Tomorrow I’ll let you know the details of life here in Hanavave Bay (my choice).

060514 Day 209 Marquesas, Fatu Hiva–Arrival in Marquesas
Day 210, Year 1: Beautiful Fatu Hiva
Day 208, Year 1: Procyon’s Sea Rescue a Success--Day 22