Friday, May 02, 2008

Nuku Hiva - Baie de Taiohae

The last of the Mexican potatoes and carrots went on the barbecue today surrounded by the ancient volcanic mountains where Herman Melville jumped a whaling ship! Talk about a place for inspiration!

But I'm getting ahead of myself....after our hike on Fatu Hiva to the waterfall and dealing with French officialdom in Hiva Oa, we spent close to a week at several anchorages on Tahuata and leaving there for a bay on the north end of Hiva Oa, we were hit by a squall in early afternoon and abandoned that idea to go directly to Nuku Hiva. It was another 70 miles so would be an overnight sail but the wind was great and saw us flying on a broad reach all day and as the sun set the wind lightened slightly as dark clouds were forming all around us. We were making such good time, hitting over 7 knots at times, we reefed once, then twice and eventually reduced the headsail to slow us down. As it was we arrived two hours before dawn and hove to awaiting the light to enter the famous Taiohaie Bay. It was as spectacular as expected....guarded by the twin sentinel rocks at the entrance, the long deep bay with towering volcanic mountains all around was worth being up all night to experience!

A neighbouring boat offered to pick up fresh baguettes for us as the bakery usually ran out early. We gratefully accepted and by afternoon were organized and rested enough to go into town and check in with the local constabulary. The young woman was very friendly and joked about trading passports with Linda so she could live in Canada! Banking to policing...probably not that big a transition!

Next day we hiked for a few hours into the valley and found some very old, overgrown ruins. Looked like a ceremonial site where perhaps the dinner victims were sacrificed on the stone altar! Huge banyan trees gave it a majestic air while eroded stone tikis and moai (as in Rapa Nui) were scattered about in the dense foliage and high grass that covered the site. Not sure how old this place was but the trail to it was not clear and we were the only ones wandering around in it. On the walk back we were soaked by heavy rains that can occur here at any time of day or night! But it was warm and its only water!

Tomorrow apparently there is a dance performance at sunset and Saturday morning we will try to catch the fruit and vegetable market that starts at 4AM! They say that by 6AM, everything is gone!

Propane here is replaced by butane but we are told it burns as well, if under less pressure. The warm climate might make that irrelevant. Am also searching for internet access and diesel. It is recommended that the water here be boiled so that might be a problem too. Rumours of a fresh water stream in neighbouring Daniel's Bay will have to be explored!

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