Fatu Hiva

As I briefly mentioned in another post, we visited our favorite islands in the Marquesas at least twice as we had two sets of guests and Fatu Hiva was at the top of the list. It is remote and only accessible by boat – no airport and no air service.

Fatu Hiva

The reason is pretty apparent from this Google Earth image – there isn’t a flat spot to be found on the island except where the two towns are located – Bay of Virgins and Omoa. While it may not be geologically accurate, the view in Google Earth suggests to me that we are looking at the crescent shaped remains of a volcano where the western side is missing. There is a high ridge running down the centerline of the crescent suggesting the rim of an old volcano. Elevations along the ridge are as high as 2700 feet made more impressive as the terrain falls sharply to the sea. More about that in later posts when we took a jeep ride from Hana Vave bay to Omoa – it was as good as any thrill ride I have ever been on.

The population on the island is a mere 500 people with most living in Omoa. Most of our time was spent in the Bay of Virgins (Hana Vave Bay) as it is frequently referred to as one of the most beautiful bays in the South Pacific (we agree).

I’ll start with a few pictures of our first approach to Fatu Hiva – the low clouds lent a truly mysterious atmosphere to the place.

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The following sequence was taken as we entered The Bay of Virgins.

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And yes – that is a cell tower. Service, however was intermittent and no internet.

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A nice little blow hole.

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The story goes that the Marquesans named the bay the Bay of Phalanxes for reasons that are obvious from the above photos. With the arrival of the missionaries and their easily offended sensibilities, the name was changed to the bay of Virgins which apparently sounds similar in Marquesan.

Here are some of the locals hanging out. Lots around so it is no surprise that a favorite Marquesan dish is curried goat.

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And a picture of the village and a rock jetty that protects a small area from the considerable surge in the bay.

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And finally, my favorite picture of Iron Lady sitting nicely at anchor in the bay.

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We were most fortunate that most of the cruising community arriving on the trades from the US had already cleared thru the Marquesas on their way to Tahiti so we had the bay to ourselves. There is very little room and the bottom of the bay falls away steeply. Many’s the sailor who has woken up in thousands of feet of water having dragged out of the bay in the dead of night.


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