Cascade d'Hakahui

Blue Sky's Voyage
George & Michael
Sat 3 Apr 2010 22:07
Hello Friends                    "8:56.6S 140:09.8W"
we have another double blog for today: one for our return trip up to the Hakahui Waterfall and the Hakahui valley and another for our Intrepid Goat Hunting expedition
The Cascade d'Hakahui
[just a fun picture of a tropicbird, caught on the wing under the huge cliffs of the gorge at Hakahui]
We had a very quick dash to see the Hakahui valley before Alex flew back, but too fast to do it justice, so, joined by our friends on 'Tumshi', we have made a return visit and now bring you the full story as promised.
The Hakahui valley is at the SW corner of Nuku Hiva and is the inside edge of the outer rim of the volcanic crater. The landscape is some of the most spectacular we've seen - anywhere. If you look at the landscapes in both this and the Goat Hunt blog, you'll get a feel for the area.
We decided to make our return visit a full day trip complete with picnic. Even the dinghy landing is exceptionally good here - so long as it's not low water springs, you can (just) take the dinghy up a stream and into a sheltered lagoon behind the beach and tie up to a coconut palm. Leave the kill-cord in the engine, lock nothing and leave your stuff in the dinghy - it will all be there when you return.
Eight families live in the valley and take great pride in their husbandry of their home. The path along the stream is an old processional route from centuries ago and is now edged with croton and ornamental plants by the homes.
The whole area is open including the homes, no locks or windows necessary. The gardens are full of the large, sweet grapefruit grown here, mangoes, papaya, bananas etc. etc. Ducks and pigs are reared and there are goats to be hunted too (but that's another blog).
The walk up to the fall is supposed to take two and a half hours and we managed it in one with Alex: this time we took it more gently and enjoyed the views. As you get closer to the waterfall you can't see in properly, so you wonder where the path is headed. This pic gives you some idea of the steepness of the sides: there's a notice about danger from falling rocks, but if  anything larger than a grain of grit fell, you'd be in trouble as it would have achieved terminal velocity by the time it hit you.
Below is the view from the head of the gorge, looking directly up. [the contrast has been much reduced so you see details on the cliffs, but the reality is that you're in a pit looking up at the sky a long way away.]
As it's the dry season in Nuku Hiva at the moment, there was no water in the top part of the fall - the 3rd highest in the world. But by the miracles of the internet, here's a borrowed photo of what it would have looked like on the walk in:
There are pools at the base of the fall (swimming forbidden for safety against falling rocks) so of course we went swimming and enjoyed the cool water, skipper in middle of pic. There are large eels or lungfish in the pools and Simon felt something large against his leg whilst swimming in the inner pool (under the fall, below) and swam out again very quickly...
Oblivious to danger from rocks, we picnicked well by the side of the pool: one rock missed us and fell into the pool as we were eating...
Here's the view out to sunlight again.
There are mango and other fruit trees in the forest (a long way from the homes) along the track so we harvested a few green ones for George to make another batch of mango chutney - one thing lacking in the French groceries here. We were wondering how to persuade them to fall, but Simon shinned up the tree quickly and out on to a rather thin looking branch to knock them down for George to catch.
As we came back to the dinghy, Marie, who lives with Mahi and their son in the home nearest the beach, called to us to ask if we needed any fruit, but tired after our walk, we arranged to come and visit the following morning.
Here's the walk out along Hakahui's "main street"...
The following day we visited Mahi and Marie for coffee and were presented with another fifty or so bananas together with grapefruit and papaya. Just Marquesan hospitality - fortunately we found a few things on Blue Sky to offer in return. We invited them back to have a look at Blue Sky later on and .... but we're getting into the next blog already.
so check out the 'Goat Hunt' blog next.
Best Wishes
George, Michael and Simon