How many of us are there?

If someone thinks that crossing the Pacific is something for a select group of people, the image below instead tells a situation reminiscent of Via del Corso in Rome, perhaps on the occasion of an extraordinary event such as the opening of a new commercial attraction. The comparison might seem blasphemous, but the reality is that in a more or less congregated manner, from Panama and Mexico, hundreds and hundreds of sailboats are arriving at the Marquesas Islands, many with entire families, babies included; in some cases, people who have sold their homes to embark on an indefinite journey around the world; in many cases, people like us, who have somehow carved out time to see the world from a different perspective.

Social considerations aside, if all these boats (or almost all) were to choose to land at the main port of Hiva Oa, which can comfortably accommodate a maximum of a dozen boats, chaos would ensue, taking away some of the pleasure of “finally having arrived.” And this is what regularly happens at this time of year when most crews undertake the crossing. The bay of Atuona, the main village of Hiva Oa, turns into a tangle of boats waiting to complete entry formalities into French Polynesia.

Now you may wonder, why all there? Aren’t there other islands in the Marquesas archipelago? First, you should know that only three islands of the Marquesas are equipped to handle entry formalities (that is, they have a “gendarmerie”): Hiva Oa, Ua Pou, and Nuku Hiva. The advantage of Hiva Oa is to be windward of the others, and therefore be the “closest” from a navigational point of view; landing for example in Nuku Hiva and still wanting to visit Hiva Oa would require “going back,” that is, sailing against the wind for more than 20 miles; nothing impossible, but many, including us, prefer to avoid it.

So we decided to arrive at Hiva Oa but to avoid the crowded bay of Atuona, and to land in the more remote and fascinating bay of Hanaiapa, where we hope to find a quieter situation, and from there, with a rental car, go to Atuona to complete entry formalities and then leisurely enjoy the interior of the island, rich in small archaeological sites.

After a month at sea, a bit of life on land has its charm!

Arrived in French Polynesia!


  • Commenter's Avatar
    Marie helene — May 11, 2024 at 2:50 am

    The number of boats is totally creasy 🥹!!!
    Congratulations !!!!
    And after so much days alone on the Ocean , I can imagine the contrast !!! Enjoy

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