Hiva-Oa

4/14 Day of Transit:
Sailing from Ua-Pou to Hiva-Oa was fairly uneventful, even though we had to bash upwind the whole way. The sunrise happened on my watch and it is something I now look forward to. Pods of dolphins joined us periodically after we had brighter sunlight to pick-up our spirits as we got closer to our next island. After 17 hours, we arrived.
It was fairly choppy sailing all the way into the Hiva-Oa anchorage in Atuona, but then things immediately calmed down. It’s nice not to be rolling around for a change – especially since getting here was such a slog. This island’s main town seems to be on the more lush, green side, unlike Ua-Pou’s that seemed to be in a desert in Baja.

We walked into town which was about 2 miles…mostly uphill, ugh. It’s not very fun to walk that far when it’s so hot and humid out. Sweat was dripping from every pore. We stopped at a restaurant that was luckily open and had a wonderful lunch. I’m surprised they served us, we looked so nasty! Not many places were open today as it was Good Friday. Most everything will be closed until Tuesday, so our timing wasn’t the best for doing things here. I guess we’ll stay longer in that case. I want to see the Paul Gauguin Museum and we’d like to rent a car to explore the island.

4/15 Day of Decadence
Today we rented a 4×4 truck with good power to get up the many hills on this island, as well as having a great air conditioner. We went into town to the Paul Gauguin Museum, which was really nice, even though the paintings are reproductions. There were Polynesian carvings on tikis and bowls that were also displayed. The architecture was surprisingly creative and unique as well. Let’s call it Polynesian-Modern. It had a sweeping roofline in the center of the building that was very cool. We then drove up a nearby hill to the cemetery where Gauguin was buried in 1903. A tree grows out of the head of his grave, which is kind of unique and beautiful. Jacques Brel’s grave is near Gauguin’s and he was obviously a more popular guy with the islanders. His grave is piled with rocks that each have personalized messages painted on them for Jacques. The cemetery has an enviable view perched on a hill.

We drove through a pine forest at the highest altitude of the island and marveled at the gorgeous scenery of lushness spread out below. It looked much like Nuku-Hiva at its overlooks. Hiva-Oa does also have a dry side of the island, like every other island we’ve visited so far, but it’s not as extensive as Ua-Pou’s. We drove to some distant coves, beaches and villages that all had a small-town feel. They were getting ready for the French election and there were mostly Macron posters posted in the center of the villages, on the community bulletin boards. I only saw one LePen poster. We didn’t do enough homework on what we should see on our driving tour. If we had, we would have stopped at the Smiling Tikis Trail and maybe a historic site with tikis, but we didn’t want to miss our dinner reservation.

We went to the large grocery store and did a lot of shopping for provisions, we visited the hardware store and we went to the Hanakee Lodge for a nice dinner to cap-off a very productive day with the rental truck.

4/16 Day of Maintenance
Today we filled up 4 large Gerry cans with diesel at the Mobil station at the dock. It was a slight hassle to do this because it was hot out and we had to transfer them to the dock in our dock wagon and load and unload them from the dingy onto the boat. The Mobil station store is air conditioned, so we all wanted to go over there to shop and pay for the fuel. We have a resale certificate that allows us to not have to pay taxes on the fuel, so we saved about $35 today.

Later, Marnie and I each took a side of the boat to scrub. We got in the water with scraps of carpet tile that Brent had precut and we used them to scrub algae, seaweed and small barnacles off the boat at the waterline and slightly below. There is a lot of growth on the hull. It was not the easiest thing to apply pressure to the carpet and scrub with no leverage or traction for scrubbing. We’ll have to improve on our scraping tools and floatation devices.

Brent worked on trying to figure out why the alternator isn’t working and he fixed an exhaust hose connection that keeps coming apart when we run the engine for a long time and it gets hot.

Overall, it was a low energy day and we didn’t do much. It kept raining periodically throughout the day and it made us constantly move things under the protection of the dodger.
It’s weird to be subjected to the elements all the time on a boat. If it’s hot out, we’re hot in the boat. If it’s raining, we get wet if we’ve been sitting on the deck or have our hatches open. The open and close the hatches game gets old pretty quickly. On the positive side, the boat gets a nice rinse with all the rain.

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