We spotted land just before 5am and around 7am enjoyed a spectacular sunrise. Just before we got to the anchorage, a huge squall passed over us producing enough rain for us to shower and wash all the salt off the boat, it was sure nice to have that fresh water rise.
"Awe Struck" best describes our first impression of the Marquesas. It is so lush and green here, there are pistachios, limes, pamplemouse, papaya, mango, star fruit and bananas growing all over! The fragrance of the islands is incredible too, fresh and sweet. It is very hot! and we're told there are sharks in the bay so we haven't gone swimming but now that we're at anchor we're finally able to open up the port holes and hatches to get some fresh air inside, mercifully, the evenings are cool and breezy and we've been able to catch up on some sleep.
The boats in the anchorage at Atuona are all anchored bow and stern in about 10 feet of water - very squishy! We're so used to having lots of swinging room, but not here! We were finally able to meet some of the people we had been talking to on the radio during our crossing and everyone is so nice! Both girls took turns checking into the PPJ net daily as we were crossing and Jenny actually ran the net for the last week and did a wonderful job.
It's about a 40 minute walk to town and we've been twice and will have to go again tomorrow to finish up some entry paperwork. The night we arrived, we walked into town and celebrated Jocelyn's birthday with a pizza dinner with several friends old and new, in all there were 9 kids and 11 adults and even though we were very tired, we had a wonderful time. Since it was dark by the time we were done and the winding, hilly road back to the anchorage would be unsafe to walk, the owners of the restaurant drove us back. The Marquesan people are very kind and gracious.
We will be traveling to Tahuata tomorrow after we finish up with the Gendarme in town and will be able to meet up with friends from home, Australia, Florida and England, it's really nice to have people you know in places you've never been, cruising is unique for that.