Goat Hunt

Blue Sky's Voyage
George & Michael
Sat 3 Apr 2010 22:10
Hello Friends                    "8:56.6S 140:09.8W"
this is the other half of today's double blog for: we suggest that you read the one about the Hakahui Waterfall first

Goat Hunting
As we were saying... we invited Mahi and Marie back to Blue Sky for a look around. Over the course of a most pleasant hour we leaned that Mahi could play the guitar: here he is playing a song from Ua Pou which sounded like a love song, but may have just been love for the island.
In the course of conversation, there were some discreet mutterings between them in Marquesan and Mahi then asked "would you like to join us for a goat hunt tomorrow, on the mountain?"
"You mean up THERE" we responded, looking aghast at the precipice on the other side of the bay.
"Sure, there's a good path, I'll guide you, and we can all have a BBQ together afterwards."
So as you've already figured out from the title of the blog, we couldn't possibly decline.
At 0530 the next morning, the skipper put the kettle on and woke the sleepy crew. We took plenty of water and little else and picked up Friedl from 'Tumshi' to join us. Mahi was ready for us when we arrived at his home and at 0700, we set off, joined by Marie's cousin Alexander.
This is the view of the mountain with our route indicated (sorry, couldn't remember how to get an arrow on photoshop). The low land to the R of Blue Sky is a promontory between the two bays.
The 'path' didn't exist of course and we climbed up over rocks of varying sizes through the dry scrub. We even started out with Mahi bringing one of his tame goats with us but it lost interest about half way up and we couldn't wait for it to catch up.
Some parts of the path were rather steep...
But we managed and took about an hour and a half to get to the top, aided by a light rain, whipped into a stimulating spray by the gale at the top...
Here is our intrepid guide, pausing for us to catch up. Yes, he is always grinning: he seems to enjoy life.
At the top, we were asked to hang on while Mahi went alone to stalk the goats. understandably the chatter of a lots of boaters would necessitate a very long range sniper rifle to get a clean shot. But not long afterwards, a shot rang out, Alex strode off purposefully to retrieve the kill and the beast was prepared in traditional fashion.
We have a number of photos of the preparation, most of which are a bit graphic for this blog, but if you really want details, email! In this photo, the goat is being strung up to be skinned and gutted. It's surprising what a large proportion of the goat is guts - it must be more than half the weight of the beast.
Since there were 6 of us on the hill, with plenty of spare carrying capacity, they went off to find goat number 2 whilst the rest of us looked at the view from the peaks a little further along the ridge. Blue Sky is the barely visible dot at the back of the bay in the flat water, with bow & stern anchors to keep the bow into the slight swell wrapping around the corner.
You can see what a great anchorage this is - the sea is as rough as it's been since we arrived and this is a sheltered corner.
After the second goat was prepared and we rearranged our packs to carry down the goats, we headed very carefully down the slope, knowing that if we tripped and fell, we were not likely to stop for some time.
The main problem, apart from steepness, was the loose rocks which were a hazard in particular to those leading the way down.
Amazingly we made it back to sea level without unpleasant incident and apart from legs which felt they'd been left in a gym too long, we were fine. After refreshments quickly provided by Marie, we returned to Blue Sky for a rest before our BBQ appointment later that afternoon.
Two other boats joined the party on the beach in front of Mahi and Marie's home and BBQ'd goat and goat stewed in coconut milk were enjoyed by all and followed by three delicious cakes prepared by Angelica on'Tumshi' - all washed down with some liquid refreshment provided by Blue Sky. Conversation and merriment continued until the moon rose high in the clear night sky.
One of the most memorable and special days since we left Plymouth nearly four years ago.

So many stories to tell and so little time to sit at the laptop writing. We've not even reported on Simon's mission to climb all the peaks on the east side of the Baie de Taiohae, but here's a photo of his camp for the night which paints and idyllic picture of sleeping out. We can reveal however that it rained later in the night - ouch!
So a sunset photo to finish - Simon's hammock camp, looking over Baie de Taiohae towards the cliffs we climbed yesterday in the far distance over Simon's head.
That's all for now folks.
We've enjoyed Nuku Hiva now for four weeks, we really must get to another island for some new stories.
Best Wishes
George, Michael and Simon