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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fatu Hiva

After having left Hiva Oa, our first Marquesan Island, we headed to the southern most island of the island group... Fatu Hiva.  We both were eager to see what has been touted as the most beautiful bay in the world.  Even though it is usually a nasty beat against the wind the day we sailed there was fantastic!  With a constant 15-20 knot wind on the beam all the way it made for the best ride ever.  

The Lonely Planet describes Fatu Hiva as "the island of superlatives: the most remote, the furthest south, the wettest, the lushest and the most authentic."  
When we arrived it lived up to it's reputation.  It was early in the day when we sailed into Hanavave Bay also known as Bay of Virgins or Baie des Vierges.   The phallic skyline of Hanavave Bay caused it to be named Baie des Verges (Bay of Penises). Outraged, the missionaries hastened to add a redeeming 'i' to make the name Baie des Vierges (Bay of Virgins).

As the day went on the light changed and by sunset the valley was drenched in purple light and the surrounding peaks took on a bronze veneer.  Stunning!!

It was also a couple of days before Bastille Day which is embedded in the holiday month of July that is celebrated throughout French Polynesia.  We were one of two boats anchored in the bay and when we rowed ashore in our dinghy we were greeted by the people of the village with little boys eager to help us drag the dinghy up to dry land.  I met some of the local women and they invited us to the evening feasting and traditional dance.  The dance competition was with the only other village on the island from the neighbouring valley.  

In the video you will see some of the traditional dance that we enjoyed.  It was led by the local choreographer, dance master and chef extraordinaire, Ramon.  Ramon was a Mahu - a male who was raised as a woman.  This is a common phenomenon throughout the South Pacific islands.