Wednesday 14th April
At 08.30 on Sunday morning Paul woke Amy and
myself up with lots of shouting as there were dolphins by the side of the boat.
At first we weren't impressed at being woken up but these were no ordinary
dolphins, they were huge, probably around 3 metres long! They were incredible,
we were so mesmerised that we didn't even notice that we were a few miles away
from land and what a sight it was (when we spotted it). The island of Ua Huka
was our first glimpse but we were headed for Nuka Hiva which is around 30 miles
further. Amy sat at the bow and watched the dolphins swimming right under her
feet for over an hour and then we all showered and made ourselves presentable as
it had been a while since we had to make an effort!
Just as we reached the end of Ua Huka we quickly
came upon a sail boat that we'd guesstimate to be 23 ft long. The boat made
radio contact and Paul had a little chat to the gentleman on board. His boat is
called "Emma Gail" and we believe he is single-handed. It was his 35th day at
sea as he'd come straight from Panama. We all gasped when he said the amount of
days he'd been at sea for, we'd been moaning at 17! We've said we'll swing by
and see him or vice versa, I'm sure he has a few stories to tell!
We're now anchored in the very spacious Taiohae
Bay on Nuka Hiva and it's lovely. The islands are very impressive to look at
from the sea with their huge mountains and steep cliffs shooting straight our
from the ocean. It is actually quite a dramatic coastline as the cliffs, needles
and peaks can reach up to 1000m high, the result of waves smashing against the
rock as there are no reefs or lagoons to stop them.
Taiohae is the main centre and it hugs the bay
for nearly 3.5km but behind the waterfront are lush green mountains ridged with
deep valleys draped in luxurious vegetation. Although this is classed as the
town centre there is 1 supermarket, 1 bank, 1 bakery and 3 restaurants! The
guide book says that Taiohae has an enticing atmosphere that's part colonial
port, part stone-age art hub and it couldn't be more true. The people are
incredibly friendly and happy but some do look quite menacing. They're very big
and broad and most are covered in tattoos as in French Polynesia tattoos are
symbols of your identity. They show community or clan membership, social status
and they are also an initiation right when children become young men and women.
The Marquesas' warriors used to tattoo their faces to make themselves look
terrifying to enemies but we haven't seen anyone who is tattooed as much as
First impressions are that the Marquesans are
very friendly, smily people and our first port of call Nuka Hiva is beautiful!