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 Hiva Oa - Profile

Location

Atuona, Hiva Oa, is the most convenient Port of Entry into French Polynesia when arriving from The Galapagos Islands.

The famous painter, Paul Gauguin is buried here in the small graveyard above the anchorage.

Position 09°48.47'S, 139°02.0'W (entrance to the bay)

Clearance

Atuona is the Port of Entry.

This is the most common port of entry for boats arriving from the east. No other islands (other than the ports of entry Ua Pou and Nuku Hiva) should be visited before reporting to the officials in Atuona. See Fatu Hiva for reports from cruisers there in 2014.

It is NO LONGER compulsory for all yachts visiting French Polynesia to visit Papeete Customs and Immigration to complete the clearing-in process.

Yachts can now clear in or out of FP with the “gendarmes” offices (French Police) at the ports of entry in the other islands.

The Gendarmerie Nationale in Atuona can deal with Immigration and Customs formalities.

The Gendarmerie in Atuona is located half-a-mile (1 km) uphill. It is reported that the Gendarme may only process yachts during morning hours (until approx. 1100) on working days. They are reported to be friendly and efficient.

For full details on clearance into and out of FP go to French Polynesia Formalities.

Last updated June 2016.

Gendarmerie
Tel:927 361 or 17
Opening hours: 07:30-12:00, 14:00-17:30 (Monday to Friday )

Docking

The small port of Atuona provides good shelter, but can get crowded due to the number of boats checking in and a swell can arise. Boats deploy stern anchors to not only face into the swell, but also to allow more yachts to squeeze in. It is highly recommended you prepare your stern anchor ready to launch in advance, as winds commonly flow into the bay from the north while boats point into the swell from the south.

Yachts should also anchor behind two yellow posts with crosses on land on the starboard side as you enter the harbour (not easily detected). This is to keep yachts clear of the passage supply vessels which enter the harbour.

The depth varies from 2 to 3.5 metres so deep drafted boats may have to anchor outside the breakwater.

If a large southerly swell is predicted, boats at the end of the bay may find themselves in breaking waves.

Yacht Adina who visited French Polynesia in 2014 has written a useful article on stern anchoring - go to www.yachtadina.co.uk/sailingnotes

Getting Ashore
The dinghy can be left at the steps by the main quay (it is best to lift the dinghy onto the quay as there is a lot of surge) or by the ramp in the SE corner of the harbor. The ramp is extremely slippery so it is best to try to land at high water.

Shore Facilities
There is a public telephone in the harbour but other facilities are limited. At the dinghy dock is a tourist information hut run by Sandra from 8am to 11am for the benefit of yachts. She can arrange for laundry to be cleaned, tours to Puamau to see the tikis, airport taxis etc.  Sandra will organise fresh produce if you request it. She offers internet access for 24 hours for 2000 CFP. The fuel station within walking distance also has some limited supplies including fresh baguettes in the morning. There are some outdoor showers and a place for doing hand washing.

Yacht Services
There is a new haulout facility here with a 25 ton trailer lift and boatyard with grass hard standing. Facilities are basic, however it is worth considering for cyclone season and repairs are possible. See Boatyards for details.

Note: The time zone here is -9.5 UTC.

Last updated June 2016.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Sep 01, 2018 07:55 PM

Reported by Bob Carlisle:

Tahouna Bay/Atouna, Hiva Oa, Marquesa Islands, July 2018

WARNING OF TEMPORARY ANCHORING RESTRICTIONS:

Probably not too many are heading that way right now, but when the next Pacific crossing season gets up and running, this is one of the main arrival/check-in ports for the Marquesa Islands and space is going to be restricted.
W
hen we visited in July 2018 there were notices posted stating that due to dredging works programmed for mid-July to late-December, the anchorage would be restricted to an area north of the dinghy dock and presumably you'll need to get your anchor & chain behind that line too? That area's predominantly very shallow and I'd estimate that no more than half a dozen yachts will be able to squeeze in there, of which there seems to be four or five semi-permanent yachts already.

Works hadn't begun when we left in August, so it's reasonable to assume that the works will overrun and these restrictions will continue at least into the early months of 2019 when the Puddle Jumpers begin to arrive in numbers. You can anchor off outside the harbour wall, but in all but very light weather with little south in the winds/seas that's an uncomfortable option at best.

Even with 'normal' restrictions in place you'll be twin anchored if you're inside the harbour wall and be wary of the Aranui cruise/supply ship's arrival if anchored close to the dock on the east side (the red Taporo supply ship invariably seems to be a lot more careful and courteous?) Whilst we were sat comfortably 'behind the line' our anchor wasn't and the Aranui first tripped that when dropping their own anchor, before 'blasting' us sideways a few seconds later with their powerful bow thruster as they docked; no gel-coat was lost, so just an interesting experience.

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