Bay on Nuku Hiva Island
Wow! This place is amazing! We left Taiohae
for a little two day trip west to check out the 3rd highest
waterfall in the world. More on that in a minute. First, let’s rewind to
the last post.
Here’s the landfall shot. Actually
this is once we got a little closer. The original landfall shot looked like a
cloud. We were really happy to see land. I mean, really happy!
Taiohae is a lovely anchorage with many
cruising boats ahead of us. Here’s the skipper suited up to visit the
gendarmerie to handle the formalities of entering a foreign country (it was not
very formal to say the least).
Anne and Peter departed for fancier digs
at the Pearl Resort bungalows before leaving for Tahiti.
There are cruisers here at Taiohae Bay from all over including Turkey, South
Germany, England, New
Virgin Islands and Norway.
About 5 were from the U.S.
The captain of the Red Dragon (a $22 million 150’+ mega sailing yacht
with a main mast 177’ tall!), invited everyone from the 35 or so yachts
in Taiohae Bay to a traditional Marquesan pig roast (puaka) in the village.
When we arrived, rum punches were pressed
into our hands and amazingly crafted lei’s made of beautiful local
flowers were put over our heads. This was followed by a traditional Marquesan
buffet of Poisson Cru (like ceviche but with tuna, coconut milk and vegetables),
the pig, goat, tuna sashimi, other delicacies and a yummy banana dish at the
end of the line. The local band sang traditional songs to drums and ukeleles.
Local dancers then appeared for the Marquesan pig dance. About 10 Marquesan warriors
did an amazing dance that was really not similar to the tourist version you
might get at a hotel in more populated Tahiti.
In French Polynesia,
you have a curious mix of French and Polynesian. The children here speak French
to one another while the adults speak mostly Marquesan. They celebrate Bastille
Day but with a serious competition across all the islands cumulating in a three
week festival in Papeete, Tahiti.
The competition includes traditional dancing, outrigger canoe (pirogues) racing,
and singing. The dancing is only performed by men and is warlike to say the
least. We have heard almost continuous drumming each night as they practice the
dancing. The ancient people were cannibals and had human sacrifices only 150 years
ago. The dancing is basically an effort to look as fearsome as possible. It is effective!
We spent some time reprovisioning in
Taiohae. This means rolling our dock cart to the various markets often to get
their late and when there aren’t any veggies left. We took on fuel, got
propane and also found Leo a French sail maker to repair a torn spinnaker and dinghy
cover. Patrick, another Frenchman, has been trying to fix a problem on one of
our spreaders and we hope he succeeds –he’s taking long enough! We
are now awaiting our mail which should arrive on the weekly supply boat.
For a change of sceneary, we took off for Hakatea Bay. Yesterday, we hiked up to Viapo Falls,
the 3rd highest in the world at over 100 feet. We started in Hakoau Bay
where 6 families live. We waved to a couple in a nice little farm house and
were immediately invited to stop for lunch. Monette and Matius were charming and
offered us some cold limeade with an exquisite flavor. This was accompanied by
fried bananas and a baguette. We threw in some summer sausage and had a little
feast. They spoke very little English, but with our bit of French we did manage
some kind of conversation. After the falls, we stopped by again and left with a
huge stem of bananas, some beads, a bag of citrone (limes) and a jug of limeaid.
Add a little rum to that stuff is heaven on earth after a long day of hiking.
We are returning to Taiohae to see if our
mail has arrived. Once we get the spreader installed, we’re off to Anaho
on the north side of the island. It has been called the prettiest bay in French Polynesia by some cruising guides. When we arrive,
we will search out the huge, sweet pamplemousse (grapefruit) which our new friend
Skip says is the best around.