Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hanamenu Bay, Hiva Oa - Marquesas

We had every intentions of waking up and going to the church in town to hear the singing, but then at the last minute, decided to try to make a run for Fatu Hiva, some say the prettiest island in the Marquesas. It's the one that you see on all the pictures and the one I've had in my head since we talked about coming here. A few hours later it was obvious we were just going to be bashing into the waves and we even had gusts of wind up to 38 knots. So we turned around. I was very disappointed. Instead we headed up to one of the anchorages on the north side of Hiva Oa. On our way, we caught a decent size yellow fin tuna to perk up our day.

We pulled into the anchorage where there were two other catamarans. Our guide book had told us there were some abandoned houses on the shore with a little oasis in the back full of fruit trees. The book is about 10 years old so I guess it would be news to the author that new residents have moved in. Some of the other boaters didn't find the folks to be too welcoming but we had the secret...tuna. We made a pretty dicey landing on shore and walked to the house with our tuna in hand. We had another secret too...Jake. Kids always opens doors that adults can't fit through. The other kids offered Jake a piece of their grapefruit (they call them pamplemousse here and they are as big as your head and much sweeter than what we have at home) and the big tall Marquesan that looked in charge started leading us down a path. It took us right by the freshwater pond our guidebook had told us about! And it was just as pretty as they described it too. So Jake swam in the pond with the other kids while I cleaned my feet. The big guy in charge disappeared and then brought back 4 large pamplemousses to Andy. Then he got a machete and chopped off enough bananas to feed a small army. We gathered some mint that was growing by the stream and were on our way. As we reached our boat the guy chased us down with some limes and I found a few fishing hooks in my backpack that I gave to him. He seemed to really enjoy those. We waved "Na na" (good bye in the local language) and he said "Thank you" and off we went.

Later that afternoon another boat pulled in that we had spoken to earlier, a really nice young Danish couple from the Netherlands. They came over to chat for awhile and we ended our night with sushi and rice.

We woke up this morning and I thought we were in the Chattahoochee River. It seems the sand bar that was holding the river water back on shore busted last night while it rained and the whole bay here is brown. We woke up too late to go anywhere (the next island is 60 miles from here) so we decided to go back on shore. The people left yesterday afternoon on a boat so we thought we might be alone. We played in the pond a little more but I was a little weirded out knowing that people lived there...it's kind of like walking into someone's vacation home and using their pool while they're at work during the week...

We're going to leave here tomorrow and head to one of the other islands...not sure which yet. Hopefully it will have internet and I can post our pictures...they're piling up!

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Anonymous said...

Hey Guys! Church would have been good....also giving to others has a point! Maybe you're on to something!? I agree with your thoughts about pushing w/o the people present...but I strongly agree that you guys just have some secrets that cannot be duplicated!!! The 3 crew members are a great beginning! Love you and smooth sailing....Mom

Coyotemoonwatch said...

I was recently reading my sailing journals from 1972 when I went to Hana Menu. A man named Lucien lived there at the time with his family. He owned most of the valley. He really welcomed the few sailboats that came through back then. That freshwater pond was the best water source around back then, and we spent several days carting five-gallon jugs of very fresh water back out to fill our tanks. There were a lot of feral goats and cows in the mountains, and he had just killed one and gave us a 10-pound roast of fresh beef and, of course, piles of fruit from all the fruit trees there that he had planted (he told us). He was one of the few Marquisians we met who was very content in his world. So many others wanted "civilization." So strange now with the internet to be able to google all these places from 40 years ago, when a letter back home would take a month to get there, another month to get back, and if we'd left port already, we'd have to wait another month or two for another cruiser to bring us our mail. The times they are a'changin'. Happy sailing.

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