Hanavave Days

This is the third and last post covering our stay in Hanavave, in the island of Fatu Hiva in the Marquesas.

As already mentioned on the previous post, this is one truly picturesque bay …

1.) Hanavave 32.) Hanavave 3

… and it was a privilege to just be there.

But there was more to do than enjoy the views and walk up to the waterfall.

While there, we were in company of our dear friends from sv Enough and also sv Nogal. One day, we gathered two dinghies and motored 1 mile north along the coast …

3.) Hanavave 3

… and were rewarded with this amazing blowhole:

4.) Hanavave 3

The kids played a lot together, including many hours of boardgames aboard one of the boats:

5.) Hanavave 3

On the meantime, the adults were interested in Hanavave’s quaint little village. There, we attended mass:

6.) Hanavave 3

Traded goods for local fruit:

7.) Hanavave 3

Shared in the joy of the kids as they left school every afternoon:

8.) Hanavave 3

And even found this local artisan carving out a small canoe from the trunk of a large tree:

9.) Hanavave 3

And like this, our days in Hanavave passed one after the other, each one crowned by a spectacular sunset:

10.) Hanavave 3

We were happy:

11.) Hanavave 3

But it was time to keep going. As fantastic as our time in the Marquesas had been, the Tuamotus were beckoning. Moreover, what seemed to be a weather window was materializing, thus confirming it was time to go.

12.) Hanavave 3

And so, one quiet night we readied Pesto, lifted anchor, and departed SW toward the atoll of Hao in the Tuamotus. We watched quietly as the small village and the picturesque bay slowly disappeared behind us, and looked forward to our upcoming destination.

It turns out though that we were about to learn the weather in this region has quite a few tricks, still unknown to us. The passage to Hao, which we thought would be a quiet and easy one, turned out to be very complex, with strong winds and steep seas. We eventually had give up Hao and sought for shelter in the Atoll of Makemo.

As destiny would have it, Makemo ended up being the place for a number of new, great stories. But these belong in other posts.

Thank You for following us along this Journey !!!

Inland from Hanavave

One cool activity we did while in the bay of Hanavave was a hike up the mountain to reach a waterfall:

1.) Hanavave 2

We did this hike together with our friends from sv Enough. Here we are, walking up the village towards the mountain’s footsteps:

2.) Hanavave 2

The Marquesas are very lush islands:
3.) Hanavave 2

And as we kept our hike along the village …

4.) Hanavave 2

… the kids’ attention turned to the greenery around them:

5.) Hanavave 2

We eventually left the paved road and followed a path into the forest:

6.) Hanavave 2

Things were even greener now:

7.) Hanavave 2

The path was sinuous into the woods:

8.) Hanavave 2

But well marked all along the way by these cairns:

9.) Hanavave 2

And we soon made it to the waterfall:

10.) Hanavave 2

Now, none of us were expecting it to be this high, and beautiful !

11.) Hanavave 2

The kids quickly got on swimming mode and jumped in the small lagoon that forms under the waterfall:

12.) Hanavave 2

However, as Adriana and I were going in the water, we saw some stuff crawling at the bottom. Crayfish.

13.) Hanavave 2

Not much after that we saw a big eel – not captured on photos. And not too much after this, an eel bit Raquel’s left foot. We thought she would call it the day, but instead kept on playing with the kids who, by now, were all keeping a safe distance from the water:

14.) Hanavave 2

We eventually packed up and left. On the way back, Geoff (sv Enough) checked this beautiful native tree:

15.) Hanavave 2

While Raquel used this large leaf for sunshade:

16.) Hanavave 2

And I tried a rather direct approach to check if these things were some type of pepper (it wasn’t a successful trial though):

17.) Hanavave 2

We headed back to our floating homes, again crossing the quaint little village of Hanavave, and accomplishing a very cool day !


18.) Hanavave 2

Last and Definitely NOT Least

From Hanamoenoa, in Tahuata, we made a quick, “administrative” stop at Atuona Bay, in the island of Hiva Oa. There we topped up our fuel tanks, completed our supplies, and tried to do whatever internet-stuff that could be done with the ultra-slow bandwidth of the island’s only internet café. But as soon as we were done, we raised anchor again and headed toward our last destination in the Marquesas: the bay of Hanavave, in the island of Fatu Hiva:


We departed Atuona with the first rays of sun:

1.) Hanavave

There was a good breeze blowing, providing for a quite sporty close-reach ride:

2.) Hanavave

It wasn’t properly a comfy ride, but it was very enjoyable and fun. At this point, here I was telling the kids one of my (few) jokes:

3.) Hanavave

That’s one great thing about kids. No matter how short my repertoire is, and I do recycle my jokes a lot, they always reward me with a good laugh:

4.) Hanavave

On the approach to Fatu Hiva, this catamaran, which was coming on the opposite direction, made a point to pass close to us:

5.) Hanavave

We obliged, making for a cool photo opportunity:

6.) Hanavave

It’s funny, when I took these pictures I had a feeling I would one day have the chance to pass them on to the Catamaran’s owner. Well, nearly 1 month and 500 miles later we found ourselves in the same anchorage. The boat’s name is Tika, a lovely Aussie family. And they also took a picture of Pesto on the same occasion. Here it is:

6.a) Hanavave

Coincidence? Nah …

Anyway, back to the main story, we were now quickly approaching Hanavave. This is said to be one of the “world’s most beautiful anchorages” and we were naturally looking forward to it:

7.) Hanavave

I can’t attest the veracity of such title, but one thing is for sure: this is one really beautiful bay !

8.) Hanavave

We spent approximately one week on this bay, and had a wonderful time. Too much for one post. Stay tuned for the upcoming one.

9.) Hanavave



The weather hadn’t fully settled yet, but we really wanted to keep going, and left the shelter of Hooumi Bay, in Nuku Hiva on a windy afternoon. This time neither the steep sweel, up to 2.5 meters high, nor the wind on our face would prevent us from reaching our intended destination: the Island of Tahuata.

Hanamoenoa MapIt was an 80 mile, overnight passage and believe when I say: it was as long as is gets, sailing under short sails, close hauled against all that sea (as fate had it, this was just a sampler, and we would experience far worse conditions on a later passage to the Tuamotus, but that belongs in another story).

We arrived to Tahuata the next morning, making landfall at the bay of Hanamoenoa, and what an interesting place it is.

1.) Hanamoenoa

Upon arrival, it lacks the dramatic geographic features of other bays in the Marquesas. But that is also what makes it special. Surrounded by hills, instead of the quasi-vertical cliffs which are de-rigueur in the Marquesas, the bay has space for a proper sandy beach.

2.) Hanamoenoa

Moreover, the hills don’t generate the same amount of run off that the steep cliffs do and, as a consequence, Hanamoenoa has a white sandy bottom. And the water is as clear as it gets:

3.) Hanamoenoa

We spent just over a week in Hanamoenoa, savoring the local fruits off the land – provided by a local farmer who owns most of the beach’s waterfront:

4.) Hanamoenoa

Playing with our friends from s/v Sangvind, s/v Enough and s/v Nogal:

5.) Hanamoenoa

And enjoying the sunsets:

6.) Hanamoenoa

7.) Hanamoenoa

But with that water, what we did the most was swim and snorkel:

8.) Hanamoenoa

You know the water is seriously clear when you can see your boat underwater from over 100 ft away:

9.) Hanamoenoa

One day, Adriana and I were swimming towards a reef nearby when I glanced something large swimming by our side. Reluctantly I looked at it and was in awe by this large manta ray coming towards us:

11.) Hanamoenoa

It didn’t mind proximity, to the contrary, seemed to try to get closer to us:

12.) Hanamoenoa

It turns out it was feeding, and Adriana and Mine’s swimming must have been stirring up the plankton in the water. Whatever it was, it kept swimming graciously around us for a long time, making this our best-snorkeling-ever-as-of-yet:

13.) Hanamoenoa

And like this, we had one great day after the other, until the time came to move again, on to a new – and our last – experience in the Marquesas.

14.) Hanamoenoa

Just can’t get Enough

After spending nearly a month on the island of Nuku Hiva, our place of landfall in the Marquesas, it was time to be on the move again and explore the other islands of this beautiful archipelago.

NukuHiva to UaPou Map

We departed one sunny Monday from the bay of Taiohae in Nuku Hiva, and blasted along toward Ua Pou, just 25 miles away to the South.
1.) Pictures Enough 7

One special treat for this passage was the opportunity to sail side by side with our friends from s/v Enough – a rare opportunity to take pictures of our beloved boats under sail. We got caught up with some last-minute-things in Taiohae though, and left some 30 minutes behind Enough. As were would find out, Enough is a fast lady and we struggled to catch up for most of the way.

2.) Pictures Enough 9

It was a great day for sailing and we were having a great ride.

3.) Pictures Enough 4

4.) Pictures Enough 55.) Pictures Enough 6



Geoff eased the sheets, and we finally caught up with Enough. Here she is, sailing beautifully against the backdrop of Ua Pou’s dramatic geography.

6.) Pictures Enough 8

Here she is again, this time a view from her bow:

7.) Pictures Enough 10

They also took pictures of us. Here is Pesto approaching Enough from behind:

8.) Pictures Enough 1

Here she goes with us, towards the horizon:

9.) Pictures Enough 3

And here we are, taking pictures of one another. Cool.

10.) Pictures Enough 11

It turns out, tough, that Ua Pou wasn’t supposed to be. We reached its main harbor – Hakahau – as the sun was settling, only to find out that the small anchorage was already full with other yachts. With little daylight left, we turned at full speed ahead to the next anchorage, Hakahetau, which we reached when night had fallen, thus breaching one of our internal policies of never entering an unknown anchorage at night. Oh well. To complicate matters, the swell was growing in anticipation of the approach of bad weather, and Hakahetau became very rolly during that night. The next day we scouted Ua Pou’s entire West coast.

11.) Pictures Enough 13

Despite its unique beauty, we were to find out, to our dismay, that all available anchorages were too exposed to the upcoming weather. Without options, and not all too happy, we set sail back to Nuku Hiva. This pod of Dolphins came to cheers us up:

12.) Pictures Enough 12

We arrived to Nuku Hiva just as the weather was turning. Upon arrival, we were greeted by a large swell and this beautiful sunset:

13.) Pictures Enough 15

We stayed within the protected harbor of Hooumi, which we were already familiar with, and awaited for better weather to resume our cruise down south of the Marquesas.