Tin Tin's Sailing Calendar

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Land Ho!

Itching to make landfall I came on deck an hour early this morning at 5am to join Justin on watch. A glance at the chart plotter confirmed that we were still on a course south of the Marquesas. So we gives the mainsail over and set our course to 310 degrees and headed north towards Fatu Hiva which was 39 miles off.

The moon, almost full was setting rich and golden in the west while the dawn was doing pinks, oranges and deep carminés in the east. It was cloudy ahead, and I didn't expect to catch sight of land for another ten miles or so, but there to my surprise was the massive outline of a huge cliff rising into the cloudbase and over the the east the long outline of a volcanic slope. It was Fatu Hiva!

As the sun rose I could see shadowy indentations of steep gulleys in the island. Approaching land is a slow process of unveiling. At first an outline, then a little broad detail. Slowly colour begins to show in the blue form; a hint of green or brown. Then as the distance lessens, the unknown place begins slowly to become real, until the moment when one sets foot on the new land, feel the solid ground and texture of the beach, smell the vegetation damp and steamy, with a whiff of woodsmoke and roasting goat and the place becomes alive in one's mind, and will for evermore be a living memory.

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