Friday, May 20, 2011

CMR: Tahuata, Marquesas, French Polynesia

Tahuata is a small island just south and west of Hiva Oa. It is 5 by 10 miles and roughly crescent shaped with a long tale. It is separated from the much larger Hiva Oa by the narrow (2.5 mile) Canal du Bordelais. The prevailing south-easterly winds funnel through this channel creating stronger seas and a current which can build to 2 or 3 knots depending on conditions.

It is useful to think of Tahuata not as a 2,000 foot island but rather as the top 2,000 feet of a 12,000 foot mountain. The slopes of the island rise dramatically from the ocean in rugged, coconut covered ridges. The scenery is spectacular. Villages are found in the pocket valleys along the coastline with the majority of locals taking shelter on the leeward (west) side. The total population in 2006 was reported as 600 and can mostly be found in Vaitahu and Hapatoni on the western side.

I. Location
A. GPS – 09º55'S 139º05'W

B. Political – Tahuata is an island in the Marquesan chain of French Polynesia. You must check into Polynesia before visiting this island. See Hiva Oa.

C. Distances
Hiva Oa – 8 NM

II. Reporting Boats
- s/v Don Quixote, Toast Conger, 2011

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