Monday, June 11, 2018

Taiohae Bay, Nuku Hiva, Marquesas

This is the capital of the Marquesas group. About 2000 people live here. So there is lots of activity going on all of the time. The day we arrived we were buzzed by a bunch of va'a racers.

We noticed a new tiki on a hill above the village that had not been there when we were here the first time. The gate to go up the hill is guarded by these two crazy looking figures. 

Mike stands behind the entrance, where even the gate is a piece of artwork.

There is a great view of the village from here and the big sweeping brown sandy beach.

There are all kinds of interesting art on top of the hill. I can see a guy smiling in this rock, can you?

An arch of coral stones over this tiki and you can see the entrance of the bay in the background.

Tiki close up under the arch.

The dedication was obviously made sometime after we were here in 2016.

The sacred octopus showing the arms reaching all over the vastness of Polynesia.

This is the big one! Had to have Mike stand under it so you get some perspective of how tall it is.

This is the biggest tiki in the world. Made of plaster and rebar, too big to carve. I am playing one of the drums located at her knees (yes you can tell it is a female tiki because of the boobs and pregnant belly.)

Several foot prints are in this one block of cement by the drums, meaning that this statue is for all generations.

A side view of the tiki with her warrior behind and Mike standing by her knee.

This is one of the legs of the warrior, showing his turtle tattoo and ankle bracelet.

Looking up at his face he has a very intent stare to his eyes and a big pig tusk necklace.

The faces on the warrior's club.

Avatar is anchored behind the trimaran Manakai, our good friends Christian and Norma who we knew back in La Paz, Mexico! And the supply ship Taporo is unloading fuel.

Nuku Hiva carved sign by the community Equipment office. Funny how we saw dolphin on the side with the dolphin and turtles on the side with turtles. It was great fun sailing around this spectacular island, from the NE corner all the way to Taiohae Bay on the South side. The dramatic backdrop of her cliffs, the lighting of her valleys and the energy we felt as we explored some of her ancient secrets, helped us to feel her deep strong pull of mana (energy). This is something to be experienced and felt, which is hard to explain in words or show in photos.

West end of Nuku Hiva to Daniel's Bay

Hakaehu Bay was grey and full of clouds one morning, so we decided to sail on around the West end.

The boobie birds were circling us to see if we stirred up any fish.

The NW corner of Nuku Hiva is the only place on the island, flat enough to put the airport.

We decided to sail past the bay of Haahopu where this canyon comes in, just South of the airport.

As we sail past it opens up and we can see up into the canyon.

Then the sun shines on the green valley floor.

The grey clouds were bringing us some wind, so we sailed South with the jib along the coast.

This squall was off the SW corner and looked a bit ominous.

The clouds were getting lower as we neared that corner of the island by these cliffs.

Not any roads on this side of the island either.

The boobie birds were having a day. Their outline shows the close proximity of the overhead clouds.

They entertained us for quite a while.

As we round the corner to the South side, we see this incredible rock formation.

The hills are aglow with the greenery.

Down there is the big opening to Taiohae Bay, and the capital of the Marquesas island group.

This cliff we were sailing past had the most incredible colors and a grey seam runs right through the red part.

We were seeing many sea caves and a few big blow holes.

The crevasses of the rocks as they drop into the ocean are quite amazing.

This is the next point we will round before turning into Daniel's bay. Called Point Temokomoko, it had a very contrasting white area of rock.

Sea caves.

There are two fingers of Daniel's bay (also called Taioa or Hakatea) and our view is just opening up.

The dramatic cliffs at the head of the bay where you can just see the Vaipo waterfall that descends from a 2000 foot plateau.

The next morning the light was perfect for seeing the waterfall. We made the 2.5 hour walk up there when we first arrived here in 2016. Probably not going to do that again! But wow so beautiful!!

We wanted to go check out some of those sea caves with the dinghy, so we went quite close to the cliffs at the entrance. Here you see a big rock pile at the end of a slide area.

From close up the cliffs are even more impressive. Do you see the lone big pine clinging to the cliff edge?

The anchorage is over in the Hakatea arm of the bay where Daniel and his wife Antoinette were a very cruiser friendly Marquesan couple that lived by that beach. They have both passed on now, but it is still referred to as Daniel's bay, one of the most protected anchorages in the Marquesas.

The sea was too rough to get out to the sea caves so we went back to the boat.  This is the view from the boat of the 1,600 foot tall cliffs by the entrance.

Another shot of the sun gleaming off the cascade of the huge waterfall. Also one of the most beautiful places on earth. (see blog post from April of 2016 for waterfall hike)

The sun lights up a big tree clinging to life from the water in the crevasse. We feel blessed to be able to retrace our steps and come back to this spectacular bay.

Hakaehu Bay and Pua Village

We finally pried ourselves out of Anaho Bay and continued to the West along the North Coast. A lot of Uncharted territory is along this part of the coast. You would think with today's technology no where should be uncharted, but I suppose Nuku Hiva is about as remote as it gets. We however learned about how to make Google satellite photos into charts. So we had downloaded some photos of this area and decided to attempt to sail into Hakaehu Bay near the village of Pua.
We sailed past several bays and headlands along the way and another steep mountainous ridge is ahead of us.

You know you are in the tropics when you see Tropic birds flying by. They have the long skinny white (sometimes red) tail.

This is seriously rugged coast line!

Finally we arrive in Hakaehu bay and it is spectacular! Nice anchorage!

We see a house in there. We were told by some other cruisers that the people who lived there were very friendly.

We notice there is no boat to be seen, but there are horses on the beach! This place is going to be special!!

When we go ashore we realize the horses are drinking the fresh water from a river dumping into the bay.

It is practically a swamp, just behind the beach.

We see a fresh water eel swimming by a coconut. This made me laugh because of the legend of the eel in Polynesia. What? You don't know it? OK quick side trip here: In Ancient days, the Chief's daughter married a commoner and was kicked out of the clan. It turned out the commoner was actually an eel. They lived in poverty all their lives. As the eel was about to die, he told his wife to after he dies, cut off his head and plant it in the ground. He told her he would come back as a plant and provide everything she needed. And so grew up a coconut tree where she planted her husband's head. The tree provides, wood for building and carving, leaves for roofs, coconuts are food, but also the husks can be burned to keep away the mosquitos and the shell can be used as a cup or bowl. And when you remove the husk and look at the nut, it has the face of an eel made by the three holes. And in order to open the nut you have to determine which two are the eyes and hit him square on the top of the head with a hard object and the nut will crack wide open. Then you have juice and coconut meat to drink and eat. And that is the story of how the Coconut Tree came to be the Tree of Life.

Avatar anchored out in the bay from in front of the house.

An ancient road leads inland, right past the house.

Sherman is a Very Big Marquesan man, who lives up to his name. (Sherman Tank).... His wife and daughter were not there because the daughter was having a baby and had to fly to Papeete, so the mom, Maria, went with her. Every few days he rides to the next village where there is a phone and talks to them. She was due any day now. He was a very gracious host and offered us papaya right from his tree.

He also gave us a Custard Apple. We had never seen or heard of one before. But after several days of ripening, we opened it and it was delicious! 

He had several dogs and one cat who were keeping him company. They were adorable!

When I mentioned he rides, it is not a bike, but one of his many horses. 

And we could not believe the horns on this guy!

He suggested we follow the ancient road and look at the ruins and pick up our fruit on the way back to the boat......hmm more cows. They are staring like they have never seen tourists before.

Mike poses by this absolutely huge tree.

Had to get back so you could see how huge it is.

The ruins are everywhere. Big rocks stacked in several ways.

And smaller rocks to fill in the gaps. But incredibly level on the top.

This we believe is a ground oven or a ground storage area where food is wrapped and kept. Or it could be an old well filled in, or just a fire place. Who knows really.

The ancient road passed many walled areas.

You can see one corner here.

I spotted this spiral petroglyph carved into one of the rocks.

These trees were very impressive, like ancient spirits guarding the place.

Another large structure of piled up rocks.

We found the main “car” road going to the village, but we decided to headed back to Sherman's house.

No wonder he has no fishing boat. Why fish when you have all this livestock around. Cows.....

Pigs with piglets!

And this guy was king of the mound.

It is a more modern looking raised rock foundation of a house or something, with a handsome horse hanging out where a house may have been one time.

I wondered if he had jumped up there, but then I see he just took the steps!

More horses and a colt.

Poor guy looked a little ruff around the edges, but the others were quite protective of him, so we didn't get too close.

The ancient road leads us back to Sherman's house and the beach.

With the low setting sun a big shadow is taking over the valley. What a lovely place with lovely people!