Hiva Oa is the largest Iles in the Marquesas and Atuona is the largest town on Hiva Oa.
We arrived at the crowded anchorage where there was a constant surge and backwash, making the anchorage very uncomfortable.
The town is about 1 mile from the anchorage and the way to get to town is by walking or by hitch hiking. It is easy to get a ride with a local in the back of their truck and that is the preferred method of transportation. (left -KT, Chris & Gord).
On the way to town, there is a path into the jungle that brings you to Felix's house (left). There you can buy any fruit in season. Felix climbs up and picks it right there. Couldn't ask for fresher produce! We got pamplemouse, limes, avocados and bananas. Gord investigates the inside of some fruit that we are unfamiliar with. Although Felix makes the motions to weigh Chris' fruit, he charges whatever his mood determines and ended up throwing in all kinds of extras for the price.
We walked up the hill to the cemetery, where there was a great view of the harbour. We visited Paul Gauguin's grave, the French artist who lived in Atuona.
Left is a view of the anchorage from the road to town. With a population of 1,500, Atuona has a few shops, a hospital, a post office, a bank and gendarmine. However, they are only open during the week from 8am - 11am, then again from 1pm - 2pm. There are long line-ups for the post office and the bank. When your turn comes and it's closing time, too bad...come again the next day. Canadian ATM cards do not work at the bank, nor do many credit cards. Atuona had 2 grocery stores, also only open from 8 to 11am & 2 to 4pm, not open weekends. No fruit, no vegetables, no meat (except sometimes frozen chicken wings or legs), most canned goods (though French labels) at 3 to 4 times Canadian prices. A litre of milk in a pop bottle for $7. If the supply ship hasn't come, the shelves are bare. However, you can get delicious fresh baguettes really cheap if you get in line early enough!
And everyone has a TV. There is a TV in every store, office, and home. The restaurant in Atuona is a casual open air place where you walk up to a counter to order and sit down at old wooden tables with the locals. We had chow mien there.
We ended up having to endure the rolly, uncomfortable anchorage at Atuona much longer than we planned, as we waited for the arrival of the new windlass motor that brother Bruce had arranged to have shipped to us via Fed Ex.
After numerous delays, we decided to sail to Tahuata, a small island 20 miles from Hiva Oa and wait there where the anchorage was better protected.