Nuku Hiva, At Last

Landfall! We made it! On Saturday at 2:35 pm we dropped anchor in Taioha’e Bay, Nuku Hiva. We were 23 days underway and made 2,985 nautical miles; not a record breaking speed, but below average. We also felt pretty proud of ourselves considering the very light and very heavy conditions we met before reaching the ITCZ.

After arrival, exhaustion hit. However, our fatigue was quickly tempered by a conversation with our new neighbor, Jan. Jan is from Germany, about our age, and has been single-handing his 26 foot sloop for two years. He sailed through Patagonia, and made a 37 day passage from Chile to Nuku Hiva; he also told us about one of our Canadian neighbors who made a 61 day single-handed passage from Panama. I found 23 days to be arduous, not that things were particularly difficult on any given day, but just the mental challenge of being 10 days in and not even halfway done—I can’t begin to imagine 61 days of solitude.

We spent Saturday afternoon enjoying another bottle of bubbly, tidying the boat, relaxing in the cockpit, and enjoying the surrounding vista. I had been having intense pizza cravings for our last few days underway, so I took to the galley and made us a pizza party to enjoy for dinner.

We’re still working on taking a picture that does the beauty of this anchorage justice. The bay is about a mile wide and surrounded by plunging cliffs and jagged lava rocks. The birds are abundant, and while cruising on the paddle board, I saw two, four foot manta rays. The water is 83 degrees and alternates between jade and turquoise, depending on the clouds. We swim a lot and shower outside. Life is a new level of beautiful.

Today, we inflated the dinghy and mounted the outboard with minimal drama. We motored to shore and exhausted ourselves with a 45 minute walk along the completely flat main road. Our legs cramped, we took a few stretch breaks, and anticipate it will take a few more walks to get readjusted to land. We plan to get checked in with the gendarmerie tomorrow, and spend another day or two here before seeing what the other anchorages on the island have to offer.