Arrival in Hiva Oa

Saw the first isles of the Marquesas in the afternoon, still 50 miles away. Watched the sunset over them. As we got close the wind went very light, and we motored the last 30 miles or so. Tahawas was behind us, but we know they can go faster than us under power. So for a while we ran both of our engines to stay in front of them. Then we spoke with them on the radio and agreed that we would finish together. Very satisfying.

As it was getting dark we cut the engine (and stopped the noisy watermaker) for dinner, so we could enjoy the quiet, and some nice music, and the islands ahead, and a good meal. Then motoring on in the moonlight. The islands seem so much bigger than the little dots on the chart! Very dramatic in the night — I expect they will be awesome in daylight. As we went along the south coast of Hiva Oa suddenly there was an almost overpowering fragrance of shore — of flowers — of exotic South Pacific lands. What a dramatic change from the constant scent of the sea!

We anchored about 11pm outside the little harbor. It is rolly out here, but we don’t care. At dawn we need to move into the harbor and anchor bow and stern so we don’t swing, because the harbor is tiny. Then we all have to be ashore at 8am to take a shuttle into the town (not sure where the town is), to clear at with the gendarmarie.

At anchor it was sweet to have a drink together in the cockpit, the steep hills of Hiva Oa outlined against the moonlit sky, feeling good about what we have accomplished, and enjoying having arrived in this already-seems-special place.

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