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Hiva Oa: Finally land and what an amazing land

Hanamenu drone
Written by Renato Matiolli

After 21 days at sea, Atuona Bay at Hiva Oa island was finally our safe port. The anchorage was deep and rolly, but it was a good transition after sailing for so long. The village is quite far from the bay, but it was good that we got our legs moving a bit.

Atuona Bay

As soon as we arrived we went to town to write to our families, eat out and source fresh food. The fruits and veggies are beautiful and the majority is locally sourced. The soil seems amazing and every house here has a vegetable garden and fruit trees.

The village is small, but it has a few cools sites to see, such as the Tohua Pepeu. This is an area used for Art Fetivals which has a few Tikis and a handcraft shop next to it. The locals from Marquesas are known to be skillful craftsmen. They are also extremely welcoming and every person has a super cool huge tattoo on their body.

Tiki 3 Tiki 2

Tiki 1

One of the main things to do here is hiking. I don’t really get the whole hiking idea as an exercise or a hobby. I do understand the point of hiking to see an amazing waterfall or to get from a beach to another. But hike just for the sake of hiking, I don’t get it. Having said that, Caio is very persuasive and off we went. We walked for hours and got nowhere. Then we came back. I guess I am more of a water person.


Hiva Oa has some steep mountains. Atuona bay is on the south side of the island, an area which gets lots of rain. It has this thick dark green vegetation, nice waterfalls but the water at the anchorage is a bit murky.

South side

The north side of the island get a lot less rain due to the high mountains. It has a much drier climate and a lot less trees and fresh water. On the other hand the water is crystal clear and great for diving.

North side

Dry land

After a few days in Atuona, Caio and Isis left the boat to visit by plane some other parts of Polynesia. The rest of us decided to sail to the north side of the island to see how it was.

Sailing to Hanamenu

We went to a bay called Hanamenu. This is my type of place! This is what I am talking about.

Hanamenu bay

North side of Hanamenu

To start with, there was no one with us on the anchorage and no roads lead to this place. So the only access is actually by boat or a 12 hours hike.

North side of Hanamenu 2

Feijao also loved this place. When he saw the beach with no one he we went mental. He jumped in the dinghy and barked non-stop asking for a ride. He is such a character.

Feijão Hanamenu 2

Feijão Hanamenu 1

The water is crystal clear and has very good diving and snorkeling. We saw dolphins on the way and mobula rays and sharks on the anchorage. After diving our initial impression was that there is a lot more life here than in the Caribbean. They are not only more in quantity, but also in variety. We loved this area. I even reckon that with the right swell here, it’s even possible to surf.

Crew going diving

Hanamenu dive 1

Hanamenu dive 2

Hanamenu dive 5

Hanamenu yellow fish 1 Hanamenu yellow fish 1

Hanamenu dive 6

Hanamenu dive 3

It also has a very short hike to the top of the mountain. Where we could see our anchorage and check the sunset.

Hanamenu sunset

I wish we had stayed even longer here. But it’s quite possible we will be back at some point.


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Renato Matiolli

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