A whole day on Fatu Hiva....

For the first time in 20 days we did not have a watch system so, after a great pasta and lentil supper washed down with a very smooth bottle of Sainsbury's Rioja we were all able to look forward to an unbroken night in bed. Well.. Not quite unbroken as it started to rain at about 2am when I went up to raise the cockpit hood.

I provided breakfast of bacon, American pancakes, butter and maple syrup followed by our normal oats and granola washed down with our normal breakfast drinks round of 2 teas (Emily and me), coffee(Paul) and decaffeinated coffee (Justin).

As I have mentioned in earlier posts, I like to get as high as possible when visiting an island. It gives one a very much broader perspective of the surrounding environment and usually a fairly good workout as a bonus. So, Justin and I set off to follow the only road on the island which runs between the two inhabited valleys. The concrete road is the same one we followed yesterday when we walked up to an amazing waterfall with a deep pool at its base and where we had THE most refreshing swim I can remember. The volume of water falling the 100m or so was sufficient to push me right under water when I ventured right under the fall. After the turn off to the waterfall, the road steepened considerably and we found hat the combination of heat, humidity and lack of exercise was leaving us somewhat drained! And we realised we had left our water bottles behind so had no means of quenching our thirst. We kept on going and round the next corner came across a shrine to the Virgin Mary
dug into the hillside from which a spring was issuing crystal clear water. We even found a 2 litre 7Up bottle placed conveniently next to the spring which we cleaned and filled. There was an abundance of mint growing around the spring which gave off a lovely fragrance after we walked over it to fill he bottle. I cast some US coins into the spring to add to the other coins already there as a thank you... We contained up the road which had neatly strummed verges on either side, stopping to chat with the strummer for a while. We got to the end of the concrete (laid in 2016) and continued over the rocky road to the old road construction site on a high shoulder at 480m above sea level. From here and a nearby telecoms tower we we able to look down on the village and the yachts anchored below. The landscape is amazing, so amazing I can't do it justice in my rather inadequate prose so I'll leave you to look at my photos and make you own judgement.

We saw some very distinctive brown, black and white finches, a plant with extraordinary round fruit growing on what looks like a close relative of fireweed. Also found a carpet of yellow, five petaled flowers which were falling like helicopters from the branches of a tree overhanging the road. After a few cheesy biscuits for lunch we headed back to the harbour and the boat to get ready for our evening meal which Paul and Emily had organised with the shopkeeper and her family. Paul and Emily had come ashore already and we're going off to try and trade some items for fruit and a carving of a manta ray, so Justin and I headed back out to Tin Tin to spruce up. Just as we were ready to go back ashore, the heavens opened and the rain kept on falling showing no signs of letting up in time for us to get to our dinner appointment in the dry. Add to that that the outboard was not lighting up so we had to dig out our foul weather jackets and row ashore against a strong offshore wind
dumping buckets on us! We made it to Kati's house and had a great meal of raw tuna in coconut milk, rice, cooked bananas and plantains, green papaya salad and chicken in coconut, all rounded off with some of the giant grapefruit that grows round every house.

A very satisfying and memorable day all in all.

I have included two collages of photos to illustrate the walk.

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