We’re still in Fatu Hiva, unable to haul up the anchor and leave this enchanting scenery. We’re gradually getting some boat chores done, mostly cleaning and organizing. We transferred diesel from the rest of our jerry jugs to the main tank. Jack sorted out an additional anchor, line and float in case we need a stern anchor on future islands. I scrubbed the galley and cooked. And so it goes.
We finally left the boat on Sunday to hike to the Vaiee-Nui waterfall. It was a challenging hike, and more so on legs that hadn’t had a workout in many weeks. A young singlehander from San Francisco joined us and we managed to keep up with him so we’re not in such bad shape for old folks.
The ever-changing views of the steep volcanic cliffs had us pointing the camera every which way and bemoaning the fact that you just can’t capture with the lens what it feels like to be surrounded by this otherworldly beauty. Giant blossoms floated down from the trees above us and festooned the trail. The breeze was scented with jasmine and other sweet fragrances. As the path grew steeper through dense woods the way was marked by stone cairns and after a final scramble over slippery rocks we reached the waterfall, a spectacular drop so high we had trouble getting the whole thing in a photo. Tim, our singlehander friend, jumped right into the cold water, then climbed a rock wall opposite the cascade and dove in again and again. We were content to rest on the rocks and dangle our feet.
There’s a funny phenomenon that all sailors experience after many days at sea. Our brains come to think that the constantly rolling and pitching deck is level ground, so that when we go ashore the firm unmoving earth feels like it’s moving. We experience what’s called sailor’s lurch, where we suddenly pitch sideways involuntarily as if compensating for ocean waves. It often makes us look drunk. The hike up the mountain was doubly challenging as we lurched this way and that. Most of the way back down I kept leaning to port as if the whole world were tilted the other way and I was trying to stay upright.
The day after we arrived we plunked down nearly $40 for a few hours of Internet access so we could download six weeks of email and check into facebook and the blog. It’s tempting to keep spending and stay connected but our budget doesn’t allow for that kind of extravagance so we’re back to the offline life, only able to connect briefly each day using our satellite phone as a data modem. We post on the blog by email, which is how you can read this. The cost of connecting via satellite phone precludes us sending more than the occasionally photo so we’ll upload our beautiful pictures as soon as we get to more reasonably priced Internet access.
We’re going to have to leave here soon. Our pantry is still well stocked but we don’t have much fresh food left. There is nothing available here and besides we have no local currency and there’s no bank, so we really do have to move on to Hiva Oa. Maybe tomorrow. Or the day after that.