Hiva Oa – Take Two – Pt 2

A continuation of the blog post for our second visit to Hiva Oa.

The site of Me’ae Iipona itself is small in comparison to the larger festival sites we visited in Nuka Hiva but it had a completely different role. It was the holy of holy places, where only the high priests, chieftains and heroes would be allowed to go. It was where the sacrificial alter was as well. The main tiki is the largest in the whole of French Polynesia, standing well over 2m high. It is the only place where we have seen a tiki dog, set to guard over the site.

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John then freaked the girls out when he returned from a wander with two enormous snails. There were screams!

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On our route back, we spotted a huge tiki in a back yard which was obviously being made. We stopped and a man came out, smiled and asked us in to get a better view. We found ourselves in his workshop where he was in the process of making a 3’ tall wooden tiki like the one in the photo. He also had a few beautiful instruments, 8 string ukuleles, which were in the last of the polishing processes. We asked prices but at $500 a dollar a pop they were a bit out of our price range. The stone tiki is being done on commission for the island Town Hall.

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Having driven right to the end of the road (incidentally finding a couple of wild pomolo trees and loading up with fruit), we turned back and made our way to the village of Hanaapa which has the best anchorage on the N side of the island. There was little there other than a few beautifully maintained houses, with gardens so colourful. Hannah was satisfied when she found a baby goat and spent most of her time feeding it through the wire fence.

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We had one more stroke of luck when we found another roadside banana tree in rough land. John and Lou liberated its load and we halved them between us.

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Our last couple of days at Atuana were busy. We managed to book our New Zealand flights for 12 Nov with a return on 23 Feb to Apataki. Lou, Julia and the kids made good use of the local luxury hotel with swimming pool as a special treat to do this. Not so bad a view too. Thoroughly recommended. They do two deals for cruisers.

1.  $10 entry, buy drinks and stay the day with free internet and pool.

2. $35 entry, choice of main courses for lunch, free pool and internet. Kids are $20 ahead. E and H both got adult mains (no kid’s portions here) which were priced at more than the entry fee so a good deal for them. E’s eyes were out on stalks when she saw the size of her steak.

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We also met up with a great crowd of Irish on their rather large Oyster 66 called Elvis Magic, newly arrived from the Galapagos. The kids made a new friend, a wee lad called Jonny, who, being the only kid on the boat and having not seen another child for a three weeks, was as desperate as our two to play. They were a really nice bunch but sadly in a rush to get to Bora Bora in a couple of weeks time.

Having restocked, refueled and said our goodbyes to a number of people we had made friends with in the bay whilst we had been hauled out over a month before, we headed out and SE towards Faku Hiva, the last island we plan to visit in the group before we jump to the Toamotus. We look forward to catching up with Sid, our French ex copper, who helped recover some of our photos on the broken computer, on route to work in Vanuatu in a years time.

We have enjoyed Hiva Oa on both our visits. The second time around, not having to deal with fixing Skylark was less stressful and more fun. Exploring the island by land was well worth doing and we got to see the amazing diversity of the island. With good and friendly locals, some expat French and a small (nearly) permanent boating community, it is an interesting mix of cultures – all getting along. All this place is missing is a  beach on the S side of the island but then we did have Hanamoenoa Bay just 5 miles away when we needed it!

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