We decided to do the 70-mile trip to Ua Pou as an overnight passage. The first few hours were nice, but then it turned very squally with 30-knot winds and lots of rain broken up by periods of no wind and motoring. But we made into the harbor without any problems and put the anchor down right as the sun was coming up.
Bella Star, dropped and stopped on the island of Ua Pou. You can kind of see one of the spires in the background, of which there are several. Unfortunately they were generally obscured by clouds on otherwise blue sky days.
We had a nice pizza lunch here. We asked a lady sitting in her truck where the restaurant was. Without hesitation, she kicked her kids out of the truck. Literally kicked them to the curb and loaded us up, and drove us over to the restaurant. After thanking her we sat down and ordered our pizzas, amazed at the generosity of the people on these islands. 10 minutes later, the truck pulls up again. We thought maybe somebody left their sunglasses in the back or something. No, she just wanted to bring us stalks of bananas and a huge box of mangoes. The people here are just amazing. We’ve never felt as welcome in any other country.
So the big event on Ua Pou was the hike across the island with Bravo. This would prove to be a very challenging hike. Maybe our last …
Not even 1/4 way and I was starting to feel pretty wrecked. Not surprising considering that I spent the last month training my gluts by sitting on them while watching movies and 6 seasons of Curb Your Enthusiasm… seriously there was some major vertical climb involved here that had me wishing we owned a helicopter.
After a few wrong turns and Bravo ominously procuring a goat skull for their bow pulpit, we decided what was goat path and what was human path and made our way through the jungle and across several valleys…
… to a tiny village that to our profound disappointment had no place to eat. Oh well, at least we found a truck ride back on the island perimeter dirt road for a mere 6,000 francs. It was either that or die, so it was a bargain.
Next stop Nuku Hiva!
On approach to Nuku Hiva with SV Bravo pulling ahead. Tropical tradewinds and sunshine… 18 knots true, sailing on a broad reach… Hull speed and no equipment breaking in over an hour… This is what it’s all about!
We arrived in Taiohae Bay on Nuku Hiva and were again impressed by the dramatic scenery these islands have to offer.
Just 5 miles around the corner from here is another bay known to sailors as Daniel’s Bay. The bay gets its English name because of Daniel, a Marquesan famous among cruising sailors who used to live at the head of the bay and would welcome visitors. Apparently he was also known to assist with procuring water and fresh fruit. He is mentioned in every guidebook we’ve ever seen on the South Pacific and sailors, anchored there would sign his guest books. Daniel unfortunately passed away several years ago. Adam from Bravo and I went to get tattoos on Taiohae – turns out the artist, Francois, is Daniel’s grandson. He is in possession of the guest book so I got to read the entries for hundreds of yachts that have stopped there since the 1980s.
Once we got to the village, a tattooed Marquesan dude came running out at us quite excitedly and motioned for us to go to his house. This was the first local I’d seen with the face tattoos so that was pretty cool. And he has a big scar on his side that he later told me was from a gunshot wound. He said his cousin (or uncle, I’m not sure) mistook him for a pig during a hunt.
Meet Teiki and his wife Kua, another shining example of the friendliness of the people here. They seem to be pretty happy people too, which shouldn’t be surprising since they live in a quintessential paradise. Teiki had us sit down at his table with them and cut open a coconut for us to drink and gave us some mangos for our hike. They’ve got fruit trees growing coconuts, limes, mangoes, bananas, star fruit, papayas, oranges, pamplemousse, and breadfruit. They sell their fruit crops to a sorbet maker (we think that’s what she was trying to say) in Tahiti. They’ll also sell fruit to visiting sailors fresh off the tree at very reasonable prices. We got more than we could carry and had to make two trips back to the boat! Teiki also provided me some coffee. “Make you strong!”
The trail to the waterfall starts as a truck road through the orchards and turns into a winding path marked by cairns, stone walls, and various foundations from villages hundreds of years in the past.
Nicole at the base of the waterfall. Too bad it was only a trickle this time of year! We heard that after some rains the water is clear and makes for some good swimming at the base. Oh well, the hike alone was worth the trip!
Also when we were at the village some of the locals told us to be careful of leaving our dinghy on the beach around 5pm. Because of the cows of course. The dinghy is the natural enemy of the cow, and in the past they have apparently been gorged and popped by these dinghy-hating cows. #cruiserproblems.
So of course we found a bunch of cows hanging around our dinghy when we got to the end of the trail. Fortunately our dinghy had not been gouged. I suspect this is because it’s so old and beat up with patches all over and fittings falling off that they really didn’t feel that inflicting further damage was necessary.
Well that’s about it for the Marquesas. It’s time to move on to the Tuamotus! It’ll be about a 4 or 5 day passage to get there and we probably won’t have internet access for quite some time, so this might be the last entry for a while.