Daniels Bay, Nuku Hiva and Uo Pou.

Zipadedoda of Dart
David H Kerr
Fri 11 Apr 2008 17:08

We are making excellent progress towards our destination, Tairapa Pass on the SW corner of Manihi, and have in fact just started to slow down so we do not arrive too soon (or too late) for the critical time to navigate through the only pass through the reef into this Atoll. We have made an arrangement for a local Pearl fisherman to act as pilot at around 1500 to 1600 local time Friday. More of which tomorrow.


Whilst we were in Nuku Hiva, BWR organised a trip to Taioa Bay, Hatatea. AKA Daniels Bay. This is an incredibly safe and secure anchorage, some 6nm west of Taiohae Bay. It is very hard to find the entrance unless you use radar or have an accurate chart plotter. It is called Daniels Bay, because the previous sole native living in the remnants of the village there was very keen to encourage and support yachts’ visiting Nuku Hiva. His trump card was the fact that not only was his Bay the safest anchorage on Nuku Hiva, it was also the only one that had potable fresh water (there is no potable water in Nuku Hiva), literally on tap in the bay!. Daniel had laid a pipe line from his fresh water source via buoys to the centre of the bay, where a yacht could moor and connect the water directly into the fresh water tanks. There was no charge for this service. All Daniel asked for in return was for the yacht’s crew to ask permission to stay, stop by for a chat and perhaps leave a small gift.  The other attraction was the fact that in the adjacent bay (Hakaui), is the start of a trail which after an arduous 2 hour walk (scramble) takes you to the world’s third highest waterfall. Sadly, Daniel became a victim of his own success. The American version of the Survivors TV series, bought out his lease for the bay and the valley, so he moved to Taiohae, where he passed away a couple of years ago. The water supply is now no more. The good news is that this is an absolutely idyllic spot and one not to be missed by the visiting yacht to the Marquesas. The land on the beach area has now been leased by a young local couple, who have repaired the buildings, and are now cultivating Pampelmousse, Mangos, Breadfruit, Coco nuts (Copra), vegetables and more chickens than you can shake a stick at! They are everywhere. I have never seen “feral" chickens before. Because of this 50% are male. That is Cockerels. So the noise at first light is deafening! They also have a horse. They are a delightful couple and very accommodating. (Allowing access to their fresh water pipe on shore). They were happy to see some 60 yachties prancing around their beach and manicured land. Also happy to sell their produce, at around a quarter of the going rate of the local super markets or even better, to barter with alcohol.


Much to the amusement of said local couple, Tony Diment organised a cricket match. An English (British) team versus the rest, sorry, international team. Before this kicked off, we had a Haka. The sight of 22 grown men shall we say of mature standing, all jumping around like natives making loud grunting noises was all rather silly, but funny. Especially after a few beers. Apparently for the first time ever in BWR history, the British team won!



  BWR Yachts in Daniels Bay


The next morning at 0800, the survivors of the beach party set off for the Water Falls. The other sensible ones had a lay in and a leisurely breakfast, whilst absorbing the beautiful scenery.


We jumped in to the dingy and went around to the next bay.  Behind the beach there is a lagoon, accessed via a very narrow fast flowing stream (outflow of aforementioned waterfall). Here there is a village with several families and a small church. The main activity seemed to be copra production and fishing. They have their own road. One third of a mile long and at least two Toyota Hilux pick up trucks. But the road doesn’t go anywhere!!! Apparently the French administration offered to build them a road out of the valley, but they declined.


  Daniels Bay, Beach and cricket pitch!



On our second night in Daniels Bay, Jennie laid on a fabulous dinner party, for 8!! A large leg of lamb, roast  potatoes and all the trimmings. All washed down with loads of wine. It was a brilliant evening and every one was in great form. All very cosy in our saloon. After two nights of bliss in Daniels Bay, we headed back to Taiohae to meet the rigger, Christophe from Api Yachting in Papeete, who was to carry out a safety check on the rig.


It was actually too rolly for him to get all the way to the top of the mast, but he saw enough to pronounce the rig fit to support sailing with the Genoa only. So once provisioning was completed and we got our laundry returned (after a two days delay…you have been warned about Yacht Services and weekends), we checked out at the local police station and headed out for Oa Pou, some 26nm south of Nuku Hiva.





Oa Pou is stated as having the most striking skyline on the planet with some of the best scenery  in French Polynesia. We have still a lot to see before we can comment on that, but boy is it magnificent! These Basaltic cones rise up to 3,900 feet above sea level and tower over Hakahetau Bay.


We had planned to stay in this bay on the NW corner of the Island, as it was a convenient stepping off point for Manihi. But on closer inspection we felt it was too exposed, and likely to be a rolly anchorage, and the landing area for dingy’s looked quite dangerous with a big swell running. So we headed east for Hakahau Bay in the NE corner. On the way, some 4 nm, we passed the coastal airport. It runs out to sea, and inland has a ramp with an incline of 45 degrees. I bet that makes your ears pop on landing!

Hakahau is in fact the principle harbour for the island, and the anchorage is tucked neatly behind a breakwater, adjacent to the Ferry Dock. There are also good landing points for a dingy.


As we came into the bay, we saw a lone yacht mast. Once into the anchorage we saw that it was Anahi. As we got closer and dropped the hook, Paul and Harriett started waving like mad, then jumped into their dingy and came over for a cup of tea. They filled us in on all the rally gossip and then suggested we go ashore for a Chinese meal in a rather “quaint” restaurant. Needless to say, crew very readily agreed!! They also warned us of the arrival of the Islands supply boat which was due to dock at 1100 the next morning.


Shortly after this and before departing for the restaurant with the three Anahi’s, we watched with interest as the local Gendarmerie launched a Merry Fisher motor boat from a Landrover and trailer off the beach. It took three of them to do this. What could this be for we asked ourselves. For us!! A very nice polite Gendarme, came along side in said Merry Fisher and invited us to visit him after 0700 the next morning in his police station, to register. How could we refuse such a charming invitation…………


We had a brilliant night in a whacky restaurant on the front lawn of a private house. The restaurant is run by Mr Lee from Papeete. Basic Chinese food, loads of it, but very good and great value. It was a BYO so we saved a fortune on the corkage charge. They even provided the corkscrew and glasses.



 Aruni 3 negotiates the harbour, at 0600


The following mooring we had a rude awakening at 0600 as Arunui 3 arrived with its horn blaring at Anahi to get away from his path. Paul managed to get his anchor up and clear the dock just in time. We did not have to move, but he came real close………The way they moor is fascinating. He drops a bow anchor, from the port side then lets out chain and motors against this until he is nearly parallel with the quay. Then stops letting out chain and so swings through 90 degrees. The manoeuvre is completed by small work boats taking a bow and two stern lines ashore and placing them on bollards. These are then winched tight from the ship, thus securing him alongside. Neat!!  Must try it one day……………..



So we were ashore before 0700 to visit the police with our papers, and to get bread and provisions. Along the way we spotted a traditional twin hull war canoe in its thatched hut on the beach.


The charming gendarme pointed out that the Arunui 3 would deposit some 60 first class passengers on shore and that the locals laid on a traditional welcome for them. He virtually insisted we stay to watch this. So we did!



It was interesting to compare this to the same events  we saw in Taiohae. This one had more colourful costumes and was more “professional”. But it lacked commitment and the participants looked bored most of the time. Enjoyable none the less. Just as this finished the heavens opened. So we decided to head back the boat and get on our way to our next destination.


We enjoyed Oa Pou, and were impressed by the friendly folks who seemed to be better off than those in Nuku Hiva. Relative term, but the houses were better built than those in Nuku Hiva, and there were more shops, albeit none of them has a sign up saying what they are!! It would have been nice to have had more time there. But that goes for virtually everywhere we have been on the BWR trip!


 Next up……The Tuamotu’s. See you there!