Nuku Hiva in detail - Part 1. Oh and Fantastic News! 12:23:88S 143:32:46W

Zipadedoda of Dart
David H Kerr
Thu 10 Apr 2008 18:17

We are on schedule to arrive in Manihi Atoll in Tuamotu’s on Friday afternoon, local time (UTC -10). It is a beautiful starlit night, with a gentle 12knt breeze which whips up to 25knts from time to time as the line squalls come through. We are motor sailing with the engine ticking over at 1000rpm, and the Genoa fully out (only serviceable sail left for now) and managing 6.8kts SOG towards our current waypoint, some 188nm distant.


Today’s magnificent Ab Fab news is that KZ Marine in Auckland, the manufacturers of the Leisure Furl equipment, have pulled out all of the stops and they will be shipping a brand new custom made hydraulic Boom, Vang and all associated fittings on a chartered 747 aircraft to Papeete in Tahiti on 21st April. The very day we are due to arrive in Papeete!! How is that for stunning “can do” service? So a huge thank you to Rick Hackett and all his team in KZ Marine for a wonderful result. Just need to get it through customs and fitted along with the re-built mainsail, running rigging, and Bimini and we will (fingers crossed) be ready to leave with the rest of the fleet from Papeete on the 26th April, for Moorea. This is just such a relief, because we were contemplating having to drop out of the rally due to the damage to the boat and the likely time required to fix it. So to say our spirits have been lifted by this news would be a grotesque understatement!!


So, having given the brief history lesson on the Marquesas in the last blog, herewith some more of what we got up to and saw during our time there. The island tour of Nuku Hiva that we did on the first day was just brilliant. Not just the tour itself. But especially the support from the other Ralliers, who were with us on the day. Thank you guy’s you were great!


We were blessed by the fact that we shared a 4 X 4 with good friends and Richard our guide for the day. If you ever get a chance to visit Nuku Hiva, book an island tour through Rose Corser (everybody knows her) and insist that you get Richard as your guide. He speaks fluent English, is articulate, intelligent, witty and VERY knowledgeable about everything to do with the Marquesas. He made the day trip for us. He will even organise fresh local fruits for you (more of which later), for a bottle of wine!


The trip started from Taiohae Bay, and Richard met us at the quayside at 0830. We soon discovered why most people drive 4 x 4 vehicles. The roads were either concrete or well made dirt roads, but the inclines left you with your heart in your mouth from time to time!


 View of Taiohae Bay looking South


We stopped off on several occasions to take in the views around the island, and to visit local craft shops. These were in fact the artisans homes, with  a small area set aside to display the wonderfully hand crafted goods. These were not your usual tourist toot. There were hand carved wood and leather items, beautiful carvings and jewellery made from carved and polished bones (not human I hope) and mother of pearl.  We did buy a beautiful leather, pearl and mother of pearl necklace for Jennie at one of these stop over’s, and the price was quite reasonable. I only have to sell one of the holiday cottages to pay for it.


As mentioned, these craft shops are the artists homes. So in one of them the children were keen to show us their new pet pig. I believe this one was less than 3 weeks old, but not 100% sure. Whilst Jennie was stroking it Reinhardt from “Blue Raven” said he preferred them with an apple in the mouth, mounted on a stick. That went down well with the girls,,,,,,,,,funny at the time though.




We visited Anaho Bay in the north of the Island and enjoyed a walk in the beautiful surroundings, including a magnificent church and a Copra plantation. This is in fact Coconut palms. They take off the shell and the flesh inside is broken in to chunks and dried, This is then collected by the visiting cargo ship that tramps between Papeete and the islands on a three week cycle. The Copra goes on to be used in the manufacture of oils and cosmetics. Other than craft work, it is really the only form of industry on the Islands that we saw.





Next we trolled around to Hatiheau. The mayor of this beautiful hamlet is Yvonne. She runs a small thatched restaurant opposite the beach, that does the most wonderful sea food lunches. The fresh grilled Lobster looked superb….I had the Pawns which were also great….but the Lobster…..hmmm. The views from just outside of the restaurant as you can see below, are simply breathtaking.


   View from outside Chez Yvonne


The tour returned to Taiohae Bay, where we visited Rose’s museum, shop and new “Yacht Club” which was to be the venue for our “big” Rally party. Richard then organised the previously mentioned fruits, A local fruit that grows in everyone’s garden is call Pampelmousse. It is like a grapefruit, but about 50% larger…and deliciously sweet. Local limes are quite small, and inside the colour of an orange, but have the acidity and taste of a lime. Then there is Breadfruit. These grow on huge trees. They are the size of footballs and are the local staple food. They “make” a potato like meal from it. Can’t say I was overly impressed with this one.  Then there are Mango trees with large green and livid pink skins, Taste just divine! There is another local fruit that is grown for medical reasons. The fruit looks rather like a yellow hand grenade. These are all bought up by the Mormon church (of all people) to make an anti-cancer drug that is dispensed among the cancer sufferers in the church. Finally there are Star fruit......very big too, and also very sweet and of course the ubiquitous Water Melon.


Taiohae is well served for shops, with two “super markets”, a liquor store and craft shops,. There is also one good quality hotel with a fine restaurant with stunning views over the bay and bungalow rooms and mostly French staff. On the quay side there is “Yacht Services”, run by Moaitae, a local “can do” chap. He has internet access (very slow), a laundry and some charts and pilot books and can arrange taxis etc. Useful “Man Friday” but don’t expect too much. Especially on weekends…………Also on the quayside, early in the morning the local fishermen sell there catch. But don’t touch the reef fish as they can be poisonous (Ciguatera). Finally there is the Saturday market. It opens at 0400 and closes promptly at 0600. So shopping here is a sort of sleep walking experience with everything conducted in monosyllabic (pigeon) French, in the dark. Lots of fresh veg and well worth the effort. (No really….)


Now one of the more curious aspects of Marquesasian family life is to do with the way the third (or it might be the fourth) son is raised in the family.  The fact is that they are boys, but they are raised as girls. The “chap” on the left below is in fact one of these. They are very camp, and rarely homosexuals, In fact quite often they are married and have children of their own. Romeo, who is the one on the left as mentioned previously, was the head waiter in the Hinano restaurant in Taiohae. This was the favourite hang out for the Ralliers in the evenings….oh and sometimes at lunch. Romeo took quite a shine to Jennie and used to give her a big beaming smile every time he (she) saw her. Which was fine, because this co-worker gave me a big smile too………………






Well that’s it for now. This is another big file so I just hope Mailasail don’t “bomb” this one.