Fatu Hiva…..

Dear F&F,
July 2, 2009

Yesterday the tender (dinghy) from the 140 foot schooner had only 2 crew members aboard & was zooming by fairly close to Beach House, so in addition to a friendly wave to them, I waved them over to meet us. We met the engineer who is from Holland & deckhand from Baltimore. We introduced ourselves & asked about their travel history, plans & owners of the yacht. There is a crew of 7 for the 2 owners. Husband & wife from the U.K. The crew did not reveal anything about them, but we did get confirmation that everyone aboard is a diver. Now that would be a fun group to have as a \”buddy boat\”! I noticed they had a dinghy full of trash bags. I had not seen a trash deposit place onshore & thought I had to stow mine until the next island or two. They confirmed they knew where to dump trash & they were willing to take my 2 bags. Oh goody! I always prefer to not stow trash a long time up in my laundry area.

This morning Karen, Graham, Mary, David, Scott & I went to shore (in 2 dinghies) & went for a hike. The idea to get a ride around to the other settlement from a local fell through. David & Mary had previously done a big hike high up to get a nice view of the bay & interior parts of the island & it didn\’t look like rain so off we went. These 4 are our age or older but were like mountain goats compared to us. We were huffing & puffing to keep up. I think the UK & New Zealand folk are built of heartier stock than we soft Californians. Even David who still needs to lose a few pounds (in addition to the 30 already lost on the low GI diet) was keeping up a conversation on the steep hills as Scott & I were lagging. Boy, we must be out of shape! Can\’t wait to get back to swimming, snorkeling & diving – my favorite forms of exercise. After nearly 3 hours Scott was being carried along by the group energy, but I looked at my watch & cried \”Uncle\”. The path started to go down the other side & I was not about to go down, then back up, then back down again. Scott snapped into reason and so we bid our hearty friends farewell. We enjoyed a nice time alone returning down the way we\’d come. The goal of the rest of the group was to get a view of Omoa, but we heard later that they never really did, so I was glad we turned around when we did. We had only apples & granola bars & 2 liters of water which was just enough to sustain us on what ended up being a 5 hour hike. The green hills, jagged volcanic cliffs, and stunning view of the bay from on high were wonderful. But enough is enough. I wanted to enjoy it, not endure it.

When Scott & I reached the bottom we bumped into the family from boat \”Elvis the Gecko\” (cute story behind the name…a gecko came home in the boy\’s suitcase from a trip to the Caribbean & was named Elvis & this morphed into a boat…). They are also Scottish (like Mary) although have a home & live in London. The girls are 12 & 6, the boy 9. I gave the 6 year old a fragrant white flower along the path. She smiled & put it behind her ear. The 12 year old said she really loved this trip. She got certified to scuba dive in Antigua (Caribbean) & enjoyed diving with the sharks in the Galapagos as we did. Mom\’s name is Sammy & she is a horse woman. Dad is Martin & this is really his dream/idea. They have owned the boat for 3 years, but have only sailed since April. They will fly back to London for the school year from Tahiti. The captain & cook (only 2 crew for the family of 5) will deliver the boat to New Zealand. So far the family\’s plan is to just cruise the summers. I completely understand the Mom not wanting to home school 3 children. They almost need to take a tutor/teacher as a crew member. And though 66 feet sounds like a big boat, they already have 7 people aboard which with various personalities & moods can be a bit much.

We were glad to see our 4 friends get back safely later in the afternoon & also secretly glad that we turned back when we did as they all got caught in the rain. \”Giselle\” & \”Beach House\” plan to set sail (about 7 hour trip) for Tahuata tomorrow. \”Red Herring II\” (New Zealand couple Graham & Karen) are going to wait a day or 2 as boat \”Independence\” is expected to arrive tomorrow from Galapagos. They are an American couple on a catamaran with 2 boys ages 3 & 6 years old who got delayed leaving due to a part that was not shipped timely from Florida. They have had more breakage underway & Karen feels they need a friendly face to welcome them. Elvis the Gecko\’s kids also befriended the Independence boys but they are leaving at midnight to sail to Hiva Oa. All the boats that made landfall here are not officially checked in to French Polynesia, but if they are part of the E.U. the officials do not seem to care. Whereas we heard stories of some boats being fined $200 for landing here at Fatu Hiva & not going to a port of check in first. Whatever. We did it the kosher way, although it cost us that horrible upwind sail from Hiva Oa back to here. No more upwind sailing! I hope & pray. We should have the wind & sea at our backs from now till Tahiti. I will go put on my patch just in case…

We\’ll see how the wind is tonight & make our final decision about departure in the morning, but after 9 days here we are ready to move on.

Cindy & Scott