In hope of clear water to swim in, we decide to move on up to Anaho Bay on the NE corner of the island. The weather gods lied to us. 12kts from the E-ESE was the forecast. We came out of the shelter of the bay to be met with 30kts which made it a bit interesting for a while. We ran W to the end of the island, frequently hitting double digits.
We turned N up the W side of the island and were quickly in the lee of the high hills which towered above us. With flat water and no breeze, the engine went on. Once we got to the NW corner and passed the airport, the wind was back in our face with a vengeance. We motor sailed the 10 miles to Anaho Bay. Again, it got a bit bouncy and Lou got on to her normal hobby horse of downhill sailing…..
The views on the N side of the island were terrific. Steep green valleys with the occasional house tucked away in a bay.
Anaho Bay is wonderfully sheltered, beautiful and is the most interesting anchorage we have seen since arriving in the Marquesas. Bay Hanamoenoa at Tahuata may have been Bahamas white sand but it was pretty sterile and it rolled. The snorkelling here is excellent with good coral and a huge range of reef fish. Being surrounded by beach helps even if, as Mia found out, the place is crawling with no-see-ums (locally known as no-nos). She woke this morning looking as if she has chicken pox. We finally saw some lobster and if we have time, will be going to see if we can acquire a few too.
We have also been getting some rain which have been keeping the water buckets nicely topped off.
There is a walk across from Anaho Bay to Hatiheu, the village in the next bay W. It is a bit of a hack up the hill separating the valleys but it doesn’t take long and the view back down to Anaho is spectacular. Note the reef just behind the boats. Skylark is the yacht closest to the reef in the foreground. One comment on the hill on the way up. Be prepared for the constant carpet of ants. Don’t stop, as they will be half way up your leg as soon as you do. And yes, they do bite although thankfully nothing as bad as fire ants. From the edge of the beach to the top of the hill, perhaps a mile away, you will be standing on them, millions of the buggers. There is no relief until you go over the top and start going down, at which point they all disappear. Weird.
Hatiheu Bay is a rated as a good anchorage in its own right but has far more roll than Anaho and therefore is less used. The village was, accordingly to the guide books, a firm favourite of Robert Louis Stevenson when he visited the Marquesas but we saw nothing to mark this. It does have a great collection of tikis standing along the sea front, including the one below, standing guard on the church. These days the village boasts one of the best restaurants in the islands, Chez Yvonne. Sadly it was closed for Sunday. There is a small shop here too.
It also has the largest archaeological site in the Marquesas. There is a very large festival plaza, a temple with a huge sacred banyan tree and a second festival site a little up the hill. We enjoyed wandering around and I was impressed with the scale of the place. It is far bigger than Tohua Koueva, the site on the other side of the island.
For Pratchett fans – Apparently the ancient Polynesian people knew that “The Turtle moves” too………
We took the chance to collect some more fruit as we walked back down from the site. We found some banana, star fruit, bread fruit, cocoa and pomelo. Other than Lou having minor hysterics when she saw the large gecko on the banana stalk she was holding, it was an enjoyable and easy job!
There were more lovely flowers on show all the way back to the village and the smell on the walk was truly exotic. The whole place seems to be in a perpetual state of bloom.
We picked up Mia back in the village who had chosen to pass on the history lesson, having visited the site before. Her pack hammock is a great idea and the kids enjoyed taking the weight of their feet before the hour plus trek back over the hill to the boat.
We will move on in the morning, heading back to Ua Poa. I have enjoyed Nuka Hiva and the views are fantastic but having been without bugs since Panama, it has been unpleasant having to cover up and spray on the repellent again. It is somewhere I would recommend but be prepared for bugs and lots of them. As long as you are, you will enjoy this beautiful island.
Lastly, a plea. Much as I love them all, I am now even more outnumbered. I am feeling a little overwhelmed by girls hair (all still moulting it seems – when does it stop?), endless gossip, deadly serious tips on yogurt making, discussions on girly chick-flicks and how much they each cried, hormones and the rest. I would be grateful for male company at some point. Any takers? PS bring whisky……