Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Rest of the Marquesas

Internet in the South Pacific is very much a hit or miss proposition, with a lot more misses than hits.  As a result, this post covering parts of the Marquesas is out of sequence because though we had the experiences and the photos to prove it, we had no way to upload so many gigabytes of photos until arriving at the Tuamotu atoll called Fakarava.  Here internet is available to those willing to pack up their computer and hike to the home of Stephanie and Aldric who run Fakarava Services.  Buy some of the most delicious juice in the world and you receive free internet sitting on a couch on their front porch.  But before all this, while aboard Moonshadow using our sat phone connection, we were able to post a brief update of our passage from the Marquesas to the Tuamotus .  So things are a bit mixed up, and we’re sorry, but also expect more of this in the months to come.

So we arrived at Hakatea Bay, better known as Daniel’s Bay on Nuku Hiva.  This place was once the site for a season of the TV reality show “Survivor”, but that’s not the reason to visit.  

John remembers this bay on his 1971 visit when Daniel, a descendant from the ancient chief of the valley, lived here.  On that visit Daniel and his family greeted the crew, provided us food, and arranged a game of soccer before guiding us up the valley for a look at the 2000 foot waterfall.

When we dropped the anchore here we found ourselves in some pretty fast company, all part of the 2016 Pacific Puddle Jump, all departing from Mexico at the same time.  Besides that, what all these boats have in common is that they are the result of designers who set out to create fast, save passage-makers that can easily be handled by two.

Cinnabar, Tom and Sylvia's gorgeous Schumacher 52.

Impulsive, Morris and Debbie's Outbound 44 is also a Schumacher design.

Scoots, an Able Apogee 50 designed by Chuck Paine and owned by Eric and Vandy Schrader.

And of course, the Deerfoot 62 Moonshadow by Steve Dashew.  We're particularly fond of her.

But the main reason to come here is the magical valley of immense proportions and grandeur.  John was very happy to find that except a few new structures, the valley has not changed much in the 45 years since his last time here. 

We were able to navigate our dinghy up the bit of deep water that remained over the bar at low tide...

...and follow it up the valley...

...until we found a safe place to tie her for a while.

With cruising buddies Mark and Deanna, a two hour hike took us through dense jungle...

...across the river...

...several times...

...through the ancient ruins of what was once a thriving city...

...until we finally got a glimpse of the very high waterfall.

There were more river crossings...

...and then we began to hear the thunder of the waterfall impacting the riverbed.

The waterfall is too high to see in its entirety.  At the base we could only see the last hundred feet as it continued in its relentless carving of a deep crevasse into the Marquesan hillside.

The pool at its base was cool, but not clear.  Mud from 2000 feet above was carried down to the valley.

It's important not to scream like a girl when entering the cool cool water .

Everywhere you look the proportions seem just out of scale with any normal place.  It is an immense valley with walls that seem to go up forever.

On our way back to Taiohae, our approach showed why this is the most populous village in the Marquesas.  The valley with it's surrounding high ridges is huge.

As the largest village, it gets frequent visits by the inter island ferry/cargo vessels

And frequent visits by these small rubber boats too!

It's fun to come ashore in the big city...

...where they have stores full of food!

Taiohae also has a Friday night happy hour/dinner for cruisers.  We arrived an hour early so visited the Pearl Resort for some refreshments...

...and a chance to take in the view of lovely Taiohae Bay.

Our next stop was Oa Pou with it's strange stone spires jutting into the sky

You can always spot a village by looking for a church spire reaching above the treetops.

You can visit Ua Pou by airplane, but this runway is not for the faint of heart.  This is a one-way airstrip with no option for a go-around when landing.  Then takeoff is a downhill/downwind affair straight out over the ocean.

Ua Pou was our launching point for the voyage to the Tuamotus atolls.

No comments:

Post a Comment