After what could easily be qualified as a “bumpy” night transit south, against the wind and the waves we find ourselves on the island of Fatu Hiva in French Polynesia. (For our non-sailing friends, it’s called “bashing” when you drive into the wind & waves. It sucks. A lot. This single fact alone actually explains why the entire international cruising community constantly sails to the west; in order to avoid bashing as much as humanly possible.)
We anchored in the Bay of Penises. Now wait one second. Before you get all uppity on me, look, don’t blame me that the Polynesian people came up with overly descriptive names for things, because that’s the freaking original Polynesian name, alright (well, the English translation at least). It’s due to the rock towers that surround the bay. I’m serious, look it up. (Tiff’s note – the name of the town is Hana Vave in Fatu Hiva) For those of you too lazy to look it up, I explain the whole issue (inserting my own obvious bias and providing nice views of the anchorage, but not of the male reproductive system) here:
Having arrived at what arguably could be the most amazingly named place on the entire planet, we spent our two days here:
Firstly, by exploring the village. Being as the total island inhabitants number at about 650 split between two villages, this took about a grand total of 15 minutes. We did however discover some precious little tidbits. Such as, everyone eats coconuts here and I mean everyone.
Also, speaking of chickens and coconuts, you may want to think twice before you buy that “all natural” tropical coconut meat or coconut oil in the grocery store.
Polynesians do have cats and dogs…lots of cats and dogs, but they also keep other interesting animals on leashes.
We also ran into an interesting event going on as we arrived: all the school aged children were leaving. Because of the minimal population, there are only grade schools on the island. Anyone wanting a high school education has to travel by ferry 10 hours or so to Hiva Oa. The nearest college is in Tahiti (again, about 2000 miles away.) So kids who want an education spend a lot of time away from home from the 8th grade on.