Today we picked up anchor from Nuku Hiva and sailed south to the island of Ua Pou. The day was perfect for it; steady winds and sunshine. Friends bought fresh tuna before leaving Nuku Hiva so sushi is on the menu for dinner.
Everyone said that if you stay too long in Taiohae your boat hull will be covered in slime and you chain covered in barnacles. We stayed in Taiohae May 7-June 17 and upon raising anchor to head to Ua Pou our chain came up looking like a reef! You couldn’t see the chain for all the barnacle growth.
A few hours after leaving Nuku Hiva we were anchoring in Hakahau Bay and setting a stern anchor for the first time ever to keep the boat pointed into the very large swell. After anchoring we dropped the dinghy to explore the town. Ua Pou is the third largest island in the Marquesas and didn’t fail to impress with its rugged peaks and beautiful valleys.
We only stayed a few days here. There wasn’t room for us behind the break wall to anchor out of the swell. This resulted in us being anchored at the opening of the bay. The swell was so bad our stern anchor couldn’t hold us at all and so Pulsar ended up sideways to some really big swell. It is the most uncomfortable anchoring we had experienced. So we picked up and moved to another anchorage around the corner.
WAY back, in 2020, as we geared up for sailing to French Polynesia, Rachel joined as crew. Then covid-19 created a pandemic and all plans halted. Then, once again, up for almost any adventure, Rachel joined us again and sailed with us from Cabo San Lucas, MX to Taiohae Bay, Nuku Hiva, French Polynesia.
Adventurous, flexible, fun, family, and skilled at navigating our particular brand of crazy, Rachel made for great crew. Today we bid her a fond farewell as she sets off on another adventure sailing to Tahiti. Fair winds!
The word tattoo comes from Polynesia. In Marquesan it is tatu. This amazing part of Marquesan culture was nearly lost after it was banned by Catholic missionaries and outlawed by the state. We were lucky enough to attend a festival in Taiohae dedicated to passing along the beautiful traditions of tattooing, sculpture, painting, and dance as artists and apprentices come to display their work and learn.
The Marquesans proudly and joyfully share their language and traditions with any who are interested. Each tattoo is a personal story of the individual wearing it; as unique as their life. Marquesan tattooing is amazing in its intricacies. A symbol’s meaning can alter subtly depending on its position on the body, location in the tattoo, and it’s relationship to other symbols. It is humbling to be able to wear their symbols and designs and bear the marks of our lives so far.
You can rent the above documentary to learn more.
Our tattoos were designed and tattooed by Moana in Taiohae Bay, Nuku Hiva.
We returned to Taiohae to pick up a part for our generator. Work on a boat is never ending. Thankfully, the part did it’s job and now we have a working generator.
We saw a local festival to celebrate tattooing, dancing, sculpture, and traditional arts. The hikes continue to be amazing and hanging with friends for pizza nights and dumpling nights brings so much laughter.
I caught video of manta rays in the anchorage and sharks at the dock being fed tuna scraps by fishermen.
The final bay on our small circumlocution of Nuku Hiva was Daniels’s Bay. So named for Daniel who lived there for many many years. The story goes, as told by his granddaughter, that Daniel was told cruisers needed fruit and veggies and citrus after a long voyage. So, he planted fruit trees. Every cruiser that shows up is generously given a literal wheelbarrow full of pamplemousse, pomelo, limes, bananas, etc. no charge. Daniel sadly died, but his granddaughter proudly carries on the tradition happily talking at length with cruisers and sending us off with as much as our backpacks will hold. Everyone in the valley is related and together they maintain the beautiful hike to the water fall.
After our hike we ate lunch provided by Tieki and Kua. Grilled tuna with fruit salad and fried breadfruit. Mmmm. A stunning day.
The calmest anchorage at Nuku Hiva, Anaho boasts an easy beach landing, some coral to snorkel, a farm to buy fresh produce from Roger and his family and beautiful hikes. Rachel broke out the silks and we joined Pablo for a beach bonfire.
We hiked over a ridge to the neighboring village of Hatiheu and enjoyed a delicious lunch at Yvonne’s. Graham had coconut goat, Kirsten and I had curried goat, and Rachel had raw tuna and veggies in coconut milk. Everything served with a side of rice, manioc, and breadfruit.
Next we anchored on the center lobe of Controller Bay off the village of Taipivai. Sometimes you can get your dinghy up the mouth of the river to the village. Other times it’s a beach landing. Our beach landing skills were very rusty. We managed to swamp the dinghy coming and going from the beach.
From Taipivai there is an archeological site and a waterfall. We made it to a small archaeological site. Rain remains a constant and we enjoyed the cooling effect it brings. The evening and night was rich with the heavy fragrance of flowers.
The local magasine had warm fruit hand pies and refused to take money for the giant bananas she gave us. The generosity here is humbling.
While the Pacific crossing was good, the Marquesas are better, and we have only seen one island. Our first anchorage was the bay of Taiohae. Check in was smooth and exploration fun. We walked through a park which sits on the old sight of Fort Colette, hiked to Colette Bay and checked out all the small stores called magasines. Taiohae is a beautiful bay where it is lushly green, rains half the time, and started our introduction to the Marquesas off right.