Sailing Hiva Oa and Fatu Hiva

Cameron here. Initially the plan was a five year circumnavigation; I’ve realized we might make it around the world in four years now that Annie had the opportunity to go racing on SV Carmana during the Banderas bay Regatta. Ever since that time, if there’s a boat nearby then the race is on. Annie disconnected our Monitor windvane on our recent passage and she hand steered, trying to gain just a little on Luminesce who was just ahead of us (note from Annie: “We won.”). The four year vs. five year scenario is really a joke because we departed in 2015 and we’re still in the Pacific. Maybe it will be 9 years vs. 10 years……


We spent a busy week in Atuona, Hiva Oa trying to deal with the details of arriving in a new country and cleaning up. Unfortunately the internet was not sufficient to add pictures to the blog or send any videos. Annie was successful in getting a couple photos onto Instagram and Facebook so check those out. We tried to upload the video but haven’t been able to see if that was a success or not. We got checked in, did an island tour, completed some laundry (by hand – …the new normal) and caught up with friends and a bit of work. The anchorage was nice for the first couple of days but then the weather picked up and the swell rolled in. It became almost as rough as our passage so it was time to move on.

After our race with Luminces on the way here, we are now anchored down in the Bay of Virgins on the Island of Fatu Hiva, the southernmost island in the Marquesas. When we first arrived we were one of 11 boats, three days later there are just two of us. This is the way it often goes as vessels travel with the weather windows. We have been sheltered here for the last four days as it’s blown pretty hard. Today is the first of four light days so I expect we’ll only have a day or two with just two of us in this beautiful bay. This bay has black volcanic cliffs topped with fluorescent green vegetation and palm trees. There are small herds of goats bouncing between the vertical cliffs and the lush verdant grasses. Sunset is awesome as all the colors are accentuated. It is the picture of a remote tropical paradise.

a photo can not do this place justice…

Life is not all sunsets and vivid colors. Yesterday I replaced our starter motor after it started to burn up as we entered port. It was still working but its death seemed (and smelled) imminent so I installed our spare. We have borrowed a Sailrite sewing machine from sv Luminesce and Annie started our sail repair yesterday. We’ll tackle and hopefully complete the big tear today. It will be nice to have our genoa back in action. Thanks to Dick Ednie for his good advice and Stephanie Parry for a well fitted out sewing kit!

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We have also jumped back into school after a week vacation. It is great to hear the girls play their instruments again. Isa has serious blisters on her fingers from her time off and then hitting the violin practice hard the last few days. Annie rigged up some finger pads for her.

Tomorrow we’re hoping to head for Tahuata to catch up with some more kid boats and find an anchorage with some clear water to clean the bottom of the boat. We need to be up in Nuka Hiva sometime next week to fill up on propane, otherwise it will be lukewarm soup for us! Our 90 day visa is ticking so we’re also feeling pressure to get to the Tuamotus and start snorkeling.
Hopefully we’ll be able to upload some photos soon!



  1. Richard Ednie says:

    Sounds like a lot of fun and the REAL life of sailing. I have scrubbed the boat bottoms to often as we raced not cruising . There is no end to fixing a sailboat. You can hire out at big bucks after this cruise .
    Thanks for the acknowledgment. Aloha from Spain.

  2. Janis and Fred Blue says:

    So exciting to share this adventure with your family. I really feel dumb about geography not having any idea where you are. lol I’m going to try to educate my self a TINY bit…about all this old brain can handle. Summer temps have arrived here, record highs for May after record lows for April, that is IN. Love A Janis

  3. karen says:

    Can’t wait till we can see your photos and hope you can get some nice restful seas tonight! Much love!

  4. Bruce McKendry says:

    Neat that Skipper Annie “Stirling Moss” Vawter prevailed over Luminesce.
    Did Luminesce know they were in a race?
    (just kidding)
    have a ball snorkeling,

  5. Toya says:

    Hola Familia Vawter! Is fun for me read you, I feel like I travel the world with you familia, have fun and enjoy life is the best. What is the tradicional food there in the Marquesas Islas. Do you have some fish tacos there? Enjoy and Dios los bendiga siempre en su camino. Saludos desde Acambaro, Guanajuato Mexico. Los quiero mucho. Toya

  6. Debi says:

    Can’t wait to see the pictures! So thankful for your loaned sewing kit! God surely does provide… safe sailing. Love to all Aunt Debi

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