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Hiva Oa / Atuona
(votes: 1)
Type Anchorage
Country French Polynesia
City Atuona
Available places 15
Max depth 4 m
  • Water
  • WiFi
  • Shower
  • Fuel station
  • Shops
  • Port of entry
Views: 2374

For boats

Atuona, Hiva Oa, is the most popular Port of Entry into French Polynesia when arriving from The Galapagos Islands or Panama. The time zone here is -9.5 UTC.
The small port of Atuona provides good shelter, but can be busy. There is enough room for about 10-15 boats. Drop the anchor at 2-4 meters. You should also anchor behind two yellow posts with crosses on land on the starboard side as you enter the harbor (pass a break water on your starboard first). This is to keep yachts clear of the supply vessels which enter the harbor.
Some boats deploy stern anchors to not face into the swell, but also to allow more yachts to stay there. But most of yachts does not. Anyway prepare your stern anchor ready to launch in advance.
Some boats do a stern anchoring to a pier. It is OK, but you have to leave this place if the ship is coming. So at least two persons should be on the boat all the time. 
If a large southerly swell is predicted, boats at the end of the bay may find themselves in breaking waves.
The swells from the SE quadrant refract off the cliffs on the northwest side of the bay
and come into the anchorage. Staying could be uncomfortable, sometimes even danger. Be ready to leave Taahuku bay on short notice.

Dinghy’s landing
The dinghy can be left at the steps by the main quay 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. Any way, there is not a safe place for landing and leaving the dingy, because of swell and tides. Be careful. There is no possibility to land on the west coast of the bay.
If you want to visit Atuona (about 3km from dinghy landing points) tray to get a drive.

Atuona is the Port of Entry for boats arriving from the east. No other islands (other than the ports of entry at Ua Pou or Nuku Hiva) should be visited before reporting to the officials in Atuona.
Yachts can now clear in or out of FP with the “gendarmes” offices (French Police) which deal with Immigration and Customs formalities.
The Gendarmerie in Atuona is located in the center of village. It is about 3km from the bay. They are friendly and efficient but don’t  speak english. Opening hours: 07:30-12:00, 14:00-17:30 (Monday to Friday )
There is the official source from the Government of France:
French Polynesia is part of the European Union (as an overseas collective of France) but not of the Schengen Area Agreement and has its own visa rules. These rules closely follow those of mainland France with some exceptions that are specific to FP.
UE sailors
All European Union sailors don’t’ need a visa, and the procedure is easy going. You all have to visit Gandarmerie with your passport, a captain have to fill up the customs form, and send a copy to Customs in Papeete (there is a post office, the address is on the form). That’s all, you are allowed to stay on Polynesia for 2 years. Prepare a list with quantity of strong alcohol, wine, beer, cigarettes, cigars, you have on boat (for customs form).
Non EU sailors
You need a “Visa On Arrival” which is good for 90 days. Applying for a 90-day visa does not help with the bond or your check-in process. If you wish to stay longer than 90 days in French Polynesia, you should apply for a “Long Stay Visa”. Anyway all the crew has to visit Gandarmerie personally with the passport.
The French Polynesia Bond.
French Polynesia requires all non-EU visitors to either prove that they have a paid way out of
the country, or pay a bond on arriving in French Polynesia. This bond basically is the guarantee that the French government doesn’t have to pay to fly indigent people home. There are 3 ways to satisfy this requirement:
1. Show an airplane ticket out of the country
2. Pay the bond (roughly the equivalent of an airplane ticket out of the country) – about 2000 USD. The bond is refundable when you leave, with time and paperwork. Even if you have obtained a long stay visa, you must pay a bond.
3. Arrange with an agent to “guarantee” you. Essentially the agent guarantees that THEY
will pay to fly you out of the country, and so you essentially pay for an insurance policy
with the agent – cost about 200USD per person.
All detailed information you will get at Gandarmerie office.

Sandra services and WiFi.
A kind of tourist information and agent services are run by Sandra. You can meet her at Semafor Atuona (when you leave your dinghy turn right and go strait ahead for about 600 meters, at the end a little up). She is there from 8am to 11am for the benefit of yachts. She can arrange for laundry to be cleaned, help with formalities, tours to Puamau to (tikis), transfer to airport, etc.  She offers also internet access for 24 hours for 500 CFP.

The fuel station is located on East part of the bay, easy to find when you leave the dingy. Use your own jerry cans to deliver diesel to boat. If you need thousands of liters you can order a truck with diesel. Ask Sandra.
Duty Free Fuel
A permit for duty-free fuel can be obtained for free if you go in person to the Customs office in Papeete with your departure clearance. Otherwise, if using an agent (compulsory on other islands than Tahiti), you will be charged for this service. Ask the Sandra, she can arrange that.

There are taps at the dinghy landings/ramps in port. The water isn't potable (collected from the rain, usually dirty), but usable for laundry etc. There is potable water next to the petrol station. Ask there. Use the wooden dock closest to the petrol station and the tap is just up from the dock. High tide makes this easier.

The nearest one is on Petrol Station, but the prices are higher than in the village. You can buy there a fresh baguettes in the morning.
In the village is few groceries, the first one opposite to post office, but the biggest one and probably the chipper is on the other side of the village. Follow the main road, when you leave the bank on your left turn right and walk about 5 minutes. The “Magazin” is on the left.

Only Polynesian bottles available. No possibility to refill your bottles.

There is a bank with ATM located on the main road. Next ATM is located at Post Office.

There are trash bins located across from the shower near the dinghy dock. Do not use the bin at the petrol station.

There is an airport on Hiva Oa which has flights 4 times a week to/from Tahiti. Flight
duration is 3:45. Air Tahiti is the carrier, their office is located at the western end of Atuona (near the bank). Open M-F 0800-1200 & 1330-1630.

For crews

There are some outdoor showers and a place for doing hand washing. It located on East part of the bay – see the chart.  
There is some restaurant in the village.
Tikis and other Marquesas souvenirs are available in Artisanat (behind the bank on the right).
The painter Paul Gaugin, lived here, and there is a museum dedicated to him. Both he and the famous singer Jacques Brel are buried in the cemetery on a hill above the bay,
There is an all-day tour available across Hiva Oa by car to the village of Paumau on the north coast where there is an extensive archaeological site with stone terraces, petroglyphs and the world's largest tiki. The roads are dangerous in the rain. You can rent a car – 1 day 12000 CPF (small 4x4 Suzuki).
Places in Atuona worth to see: Cementery, Church, Paul Guagin museum, Artisanat.
There is a lot of shows during July Festival.


no fees for anchoring
rent a car – Suzuki 4x4 – 12000 CPF (2016)

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