Location: Fatu Hiva, Baie des Vierges
ARRIVAL TIME: 8 AM
Tuesday: Three weeks at sea, our first time crossing an ocean double-handed, and dawn rising behind Fatu Hiva, silhouetting the island, was a sight for sore eyes. Isabelle had woken at first light, and together we had sat out on the bow, hands curled round cups of tea. We were struck first by the mountains, towering, imposing, the tips shrouded in cloud. We drank it all up in wonder. Gradually Francis and Catherine came to, and all three went to the bow. Coming into Hanavave, wind funnelled into the channel, and we caught sight of the huge phallic rock formations that gave the Bay its original name of “Baie des Verges” (Bay of Dicks), until scandalised missionaries insisted on inserting an extra vowel that changed the meaning to Baie des Vierges, or Virgins’ Bay.
No official welcoming committee was there to greet us, as in our ARC Atlantic Rally experience (see post - click here), but nonetheless we were treated to the warmest of welcomes. Our friends RAFTKIN and PELIZENO were there to cheer us in, and within five minutes Carly, a lovely Canadian Mum from family boat YONDER, dropped over a couple of pomelos and mangoes “because I know what it is like to spend three weeks at sea and how desperate you must be for fresh fruit!” Pomelos are from the grapefruit family, but surprisingly sweet, while the mangoes “are the best I’ve ever tasted” according to our fruit-bat Francis, who is a real connoisseur. As well as the fruit, we had sourdough fresh from the oven and a cafetière of Galapagos coffee on the go, so what with the food, the view, and accumulated sleep deprivation, our senses went into overdrive, giving a hallucenagenic quality to this breakfeast in Paradise. We pinched ourselves in wonder. No, not a dream. La Cigale and crew really had arrived!