Fatu Hiva ~ Katelyn

IMG_2125.JPGThe last blog was about our Pacific Crossing and coming into Fatu Hiva after twenty-two days at sea. We could see Fatu Hiva one day before we got there, and while we were coming in closer, I could smell the sweet smell of rainforest and salty air. We could see lots of goats on the mountainside and the beautiful town in front of us. It almost reminded me of Colorado.  The looming cliffs and tall trees surrounded our boat and the tiny harbor. Almost immediately after dropping anchor, some manta rays came behind our boat to say hi. My dad and Michael jumped in the water and swam with them and we managed to get a few bad pictures.

Most people say that once you step foot on land after being at sea for so long, you would get the land wobbles. We did not experience anything like that. We hiked for two hours up a steep road. Then when we were coming down, we bumped into our friends Aghavni (Aghavni means “dove” in Armenian). We hiked with them to a waterfall that was barely more than a trickle falling from a cliff. We weren’t disappointed, however, because of the natural pool at the bottom of it. We had lots of fun swimming in it. We hiked back to town and met someone who would sell us fruit. We hadn’t had any fruit since something like day ten, so we desperately needed some. We got some grapefruit that was really good. It was sweeter than the ones in the US and bigger. They were also really hard and green, but they were good. We got tons of bananas and then we walked back to our dinghy. We were exhausted, and the sun had already set once we got back to the boat. 

We spent the next week mostly at the dock. We played soccer with the locals (we were crushed) and volleyball (also crushed). We swam at the dock with all the local kids almost everyday. The local boys especially liked coming on our boat and fishing with Michael. They caught four fish and swam with the manta rays. One day, we ate lunch at one of their houses. They made all sorts of food, including pork, which we found the hair still on the meat when we ate it, (I’m Vegetarian so I was content to just watch them eat it). One of the big sports is hunting in Fatu Hiva. They went out every night with dogs and caught pigs and goats.

On Easter my mom and I went to the local church. My mom loved it and went every Sunday in the French Polynesia. We swung off Aghavni’s boat and into the water on their swing that they made. We also went to the docks and swam with the locals. We left shortly after Easter and set course for Hiva Oa, the place we wish we never went.

Crossing the Pacific ~

After our time in  the Galapagos, we left for French Polynesia. The first sign of life was a huge whale shark that Katelyn spotted first. Then, we saw a huge pod of dolphins, so large you could see them for miles. The next few days we did not see much, but then we started getting bites on our fishing lures.

After some unsuccessful fishing, I made my own lures with epoxy resin and silicone molds. The next day we hooked two fish at a time. They were 2’ long. Kay caught the one she reeled in. The one I reeled in fell off. A couple days later we hooked a marlin, but it got off. Then we caught a mahi big enough for two people. Later we hooked a short bill spearfish, but it slid back in the water before we gaffed it. After that we caught another spearfish and kept it. We filled our freezer. A few days later we hooked two giant yellow fin tuna simultaneously. One got off; the other jam-packed our freezer and filled our tummies. We caught a skipjack and bigeye tuna the next few days and arrived in French Polynesia. As we came in, it was a little rainy and foggy, but it was the coolest island yet.

Isabela ~ Katelyn

After leaving Santa Cruz, we set course for Isabela, the last island in the Galapagos. When we got there, we saw sea lions and penguins almost immediately. The penguins are the only type to live so close to the equator. They are also the smallest type alive and there are only a few thousand left, due to not enough food in the Galapagos. We were boarded by some officials and went into town with them to see Isabela. The first day, we walked on a path that was flooded with water. We saw an octopus crawling on the wooden planks and it got really close to my dad’s feet.  We had to jump over sea lions to get to the end, which was scary since they growled at you whenever you got to close. We saw some marine iguanas swimming and they looked like snakes, waving their tales back and forth, slithering across the top of the water. 

The third day, our family and two people from another boat went on a volcano hike. It was the biggest volcano I had ever seen, and I’ve seen a lot of volcano’s. It was a hard and steep hike, but it was definitely worth it. I wouldn’t know how to describe what it looked like, so its a good thing my mom took lots of pictures. It took almost eight hours, and our legs were like jelly afterwards. Our parents complained about how hard the walk was more than the kids, and we ran down the mountain. 

We also went on another tour called “the tunnels.” We had a forty-five minute boat ride and saw huge manta rays jump out of the water. We also saw some sea lions on the way. The tunnels were really cool, with lots of blue footed boobies, and sharks. We saw some turtles too. After we walked on the tunnels for a little bit, we swam in them. We saw tons of turtles, sharks, and even two eels. It was really cool.

We spent a few days doing very little, just going into town. At night, we would put our hammock right above the water and place a light right by it. Sharks and sea lions would come to eat the small bait fish that were attracted to the light. We even had a pelican or two. Some penguins would come and there was always pufferfish. I was always scared the sea lion would bite me, I was so close. I even got a foot away from a penguin at one point. 

After a few days of this, we stocked up and prepared to cross the Pacific. When we were fully stocked up, we picked up anchor and headed out. Only minutes away from leaving, my dad spotted a spear fish jumping out of the water. I came outside to look, and saw a huge whale shark only five feet from our boat. It was almost as big as our boat, and was swimming at the top of the water.  It was so huge, I thought we were running over a reef. Michael saw it pretty good, but my parents came later and only saw the tail.

Santa Cruz ~ Michael

On the way to Santa Cruse we first spotted dolphins.

We saw tons of them and they were huge. After that we saw brown things in the water. I said they were sea lions but no one believed me. It turned out they where sea lions. Thousands of sea lions and dolphins surrounded our boat.

Once we got there, we thought to see penguins, sea lions, or seals, but there was nothing. We went into town to get groceries and meet our friends. That night we ate at a seafood restaurant that put all of their tables in the middle of the street.

They had a lot of weird fish on the table. We ate a half of a skipjack tuna and a couple slipper lobsters. After that we went to eat a few more times at that place and tried some desserts they served. We also went to some lava tunnels, about 60 meters long each (just short tunnels). We also saw some tortoises. We also saw some volcanic craters. After that we left to the next island not seeing much else.