May 15, 2013
As excited as we were, our first steps onto the beautiful island of Fatu Hiva were going to be a difficult task and would have to wait. A large swell was beginning to roll into the anchorage, creating a large breaking wave at the shore. While the dinghy dock was behind a break wall, the incoming waves would break across the channel to the dinghy dock. Timing between swells was crucial, and we weren’t ready to deal with possibly swamping the dinghy. Therefore, we delayed our trip ashore and scrubbed our very dirty hulls instead.
The high winds, swells, and an overflowing river from the shore created quite a strong out flowing current from the bay. Therefore, in order to scrub our hulls, we tied a line from bow to stern along the hull we were scrubbing. This gave us something to hold onto. We also tied a line from stern to stern, so there was something to catch us if we started to drift away. Then we jumped in with full snorkel gear and scouring pads, and scrubbed away.
Colin helped with scrubbing a hull until he was stung by something in the water. Wil and I continued with the cleaning throughout the morning, only stopping for a brief lunch break, before continuing through the afternoon. While I was exhausted, and could barely move my arms or kick my legs anymore, I didn’t want to stop until Wil was ready to stop. Later, I learned that neither one of us was going to be the first to quit. Due to both of our stubborn personalities, we had scrubbed every bit of growth off of our hulls within our first day of arriving from our Pacific crossing. Other cruisers, who had been there days before us, were envious of our already clean hulls. Although, with great beauty, came great sacrifice. Our bodies ached for days to follow!
That day was also a day for boats dragging anchor. The boats that were anchored at the front of the anchorage near the shore were at the receiving end of the bigger swell in shallower water. Also, a torrential downpour of rain had caused the river dam to break, and the outpouring of water wreaked havoc on the boats anchored nearby. One boat had to put out a stern anchor to keep the swell from pushing them ashore. Another boat chaffed through their anchor rhode, leaving their anchor and all their chain on the bottom. At the same time, their engine didn’t start, and if it weren’t for a bunch of cruisers rushing to their aid, the boat would have ended up on the rocks. And finally, another boat dragged anchor so many times, they finally gave up and sailed out to another island. Because of all the dragging, there was one person that refused to leave their boat for 3 days until the swell subsided. We were very thankful for our very deep water spot of 84 feet which we had decided on the day before.
Later that night, the kids were invited to s/v Sueño for a game night, and the adults would enjoy beverages on s/v Flour Girl. However, after a full day of hull scrubbing, our bodies were spent, and all we wanted to do was go to sleep. So the kids could still have fun, s/v Sueño offered to pick up our kids for us, and bring them back when they were done. We were so thankful for that!
It would be the next day when we would finally step foot on solid ground again.