What? How can a bay be both full of virgins and penises? Well, let me tell you. The original name for this bay is Baie de Penis because there are several towering rock formations that, well frankly, look like penises. But when the missionaries came, they did not like the name and renamed it to “Baie des Vierges” which is translated to “Bay of Virgins.” The Marquesan name for this bay is “Hanavave.”
So, how did we get here? Let me start with the bad news — we lost the drone. Yep, it is only 6-months old with less than 8 flights recorded and it was lost. Matt was flying it while Wayne and I were on the boat. He said it hit a tree, or limb, or wire and then went down in the tall, brown, grass. Keep in mind that it is fancy and has sensors all around it that are supposed to beep and notify you when you are close to an obstacle. He got no warnings.
He searched for it on his own for an hour before coming to get Wayne and I. The mountainside is dirt, rock, and tons of bushes with 1-2” stickers that stab you and stick to your skin and clothing. Matt and I climbed up the mountain, hands and knees in some places, through the grass, over the rocks, hanging on trees and rummaging through the brush. We had a general GPS location from the app, but it has a 15-20’ radius.
After searching and searching and searching — nothing. We finally gave up because it was getting dark and we were bloody, scratched, and worn out. The last photo taken from drone shows the camera upside down, by a rock and in some grass. The problem is that the entire mountain looks just like this shot. The middle shot is the culprit that caused the fall and the top pic is the map we downloaded with wifi.
We found some internet and were able to download the map vs the generic terrain. Using the LAT/LONG with the handheld Garmin GPS we were able to pin point a better location.
We had hoped to leave at 0500 the next morning for Fatu Hiva, but plans changed. After much discussion, we decided to get up early and go look for it again. Matt and I dressed in long pants (yes, we have some on the boat), and regular shoes. We were armed with a machete and the handheld GPS with the LAT/LONG of the last known location. This time we decided to go up a different section of the mountain. BIG MISTAKE this was much harder. The rocks we grabbed to pull ourselves up the mountain were falling away and would not hold our weight. At one point, I was dangling from a tree root with no foot hold. Ugh
Success – We Found It!
Our 6 hours of searching, paid off. We got lucky and found our drone! She was upside down and scratched up, but she is home. I did not bring my phone as I needed my hands to climb up the mountain – so no photos. Exhausted, hurt, and yet elated, we headed back to the boat, pulled up anchor and headed to Fatu Hiva.
We think this twig was the culprit of taking down the drone.
We left Baie de Vaitahu around 0845 and arrived super-fast at around 1430. Our friends on Maple left the same bay at 0600 and had arrived about 20 minutes before us. It took us awhile to find a good anchor spot, but we finally stuck it good on the 5th try.
- Total miles: 4nm
- Moving Time: 6:01
- Max Speed: 6kt
- Average Speed: 7.1kt
Fatu Hiva is famous for the Bay of Virgins simply because it is truly a stunning bay. Bright, green valley’s lay between the huge penis pillars (that is so strange to write). It has quickly become one of my favorite bays in French Polynesia. Very peaceful, strong breezes, blue water, friendly people, and breathtaking views.
And it’s fun to say I stayed in the Bay of Penises even though Matt and Wayne say they stayed in the Bay of Virgins.
The village is called Hanavave and is the main village of Fatu Hiva. It consists of a church, magasin, primary school, post office, Le Mairie (mayor’s office), and a gorgeous waterfall that flows into the river feeding the bay.
Several local women make tapa cloth which is a cultural tradition. They take bark from banian trees and beat and knead it for days until it becomes soft and supple like cotton. It is used to make clothing, costumes and artwork. They paint historical stories and Marquesan designs on the tapa.
INSERT PHOTO OF TAPA MAKING
Stay tuned for more adventures in Bay of Virgins…