04 May 2015 | Daniel's Bay, Nuku Hiva, Marquesas, French Polynesia
Sheer mountain pinnacles rise 1600 feet from the sea, to pierce the clouds. Verdant green valleys lie on either side of each pinnacle offering a dramatic contrast to the burnt umber pinnacles. At the base is a calm bay where Centime rests at anchor.
Today we hike to the world’s third longest waterfall. We start in our dingy past small rock outcrops to a rougher side bay with two to three foot waves. Dennis navigates like a daredevil through the waves and up a fast moving side river as I hang on. We beach the boat, with me half drenched, and meet seven cruiser friends: Mark, Eileen, Andy, Paul, Ben, Pedro and Javier. There is a pretty wooden home here and a lush Marquesan plantation, thick with fruit trees and flowering bushes. A couple is drying coconuts and Jasmine for the market.
TaEeKey, the 30-something husband calls himself “a warrior” because he hunts wild boar. He reminds me of the late and wonderful Robin Williams doing a stand up routine, as he tries to communicate in broken French, English, Marquesan and hilarious charades. We laugh, hug in French style and ask about the waterfall. He agrees to guide us.
We spend the next three hours trekking through a winding jungle path. Before the falls there is a vast field, thick with green bushes and yellow flowers, higher than my waist. Someone remarks that it’s like the poppy field in the Wizard of Oz. Everyone stops at the falls for lunch and for TaEeKey’s sweet grapefruits. Then TaEeKey and I continue on, clambering over rocks, to get to the pool where the falls hit the water. I dive into the cold water and swim to where it pours over my head. Such fun!
When we arrive back TaEeKey shows us his plantation complete with two semi wild horses, a donkey and cow, a fast flowing river and a hundred or more fruit trees. There are grapefruit, papayas, breadfruits, bananas, coconuts, lemons, oranges, jasmine and flowers of every color. We swim in the cool river, and then greet his wife. She roasts us a nut that tastes like chestnuts – delicious. It is true paradise.