15 May 2008 | Nuku Hiva, Marquesas
We left Ua Pou on Saturday, May 3 and sailed 25 miles north to Taiohae Bay on Nuku Hiva, the principal island of the Marquesas. Our sail was fast and boisterous and we arrived mid-afternoon. We were immediately impressed by the beauty of this large bay. but then pretty much every view and anchorage in the Marquesas is a postcard.
There were easily 30 boats in the anchorage but there was still plenty of room. The anchorage didn't seem to be very rolly and Taiohae, being the largest town in the Marquesas had several well stocked stores so we were able to get the ubiquitous baguettes as well as reasonably priced fresh produce and other items we'd run short of.
After a day or two to walk the town and re-stock we motored over to Baie de Taioa, also known as "Daniel's Bay" after the friendly Marquesan man who lived there for over 60 years. (It's also where the original "Survivor" TV series was filmed.)
We'd heard great things about this anchorage from a couple of boats. In addition to being well-protected, there is also the Vaipo waterfall (only the 3rd highest waterfall in the world!) a mere 2+ hour's hike away. We were excited to see the setting for one of our all-time favorite shows (yes, we were quite addicted back when we had a TV) and looking forward to a calm anchorage where the girls could swim and enjoy the beach. (As lovely as Taiohae Bay is, we were told that they currently had a few tiger sharks hanging about and swimming there was NOT recommended. Don't have to tell us twice!)
The anchorage of Daniel's Bay was indeed beautiful but sadly the water was quite murky. As we dinghied to shore we were only a foot from the beach and still could not see the sand beneath us. The girls didn't seem to mind but I have a bit of an aversion to swimming in water with zero visibility. I mean, who knows what's swimming in there with me? In addition, once ashore we were immediately greeted by my old friends the nonos. (I'm still all bumpy from their last attack!) They were flying at our faces and sitting on the brim of John's hat giving him a stare-down. John and I took a quick walk on the beach while the girls got their boogie-board fix and then we all headed back to the safety of our boat.
Later in the day we talked to another cruiser who confirmed our fears that the hike to the waterfall was a hike through nono land. As much as I wanted to see that waterfall I just couldn't bring myself to put my body- and the bodies of the girls- at risk of another insect feeding frenzy. So we passed on the waterfall, didn't swim in the water and wondered if there was any reason to stay. No, there really wasn't.
At this point we were feeling ready to leave the Marquesas for the Tuamotu Archipelago. Our plan was to attend the Saturday morning market on the quay and leave on Sunday. We'd heard good things about this weekly morning market. Besides being an opportunity to purchase fresh fish, produce and French pastries, it's also a well-attended social event for locals and cruisers alike with live music and an outdoor coffee shop. The only downside is that it begins at 4:00 am (!) and if you're not there by 5:00 you've basically missed out on any fish, and most of the produce. John and I discussed how badly we wanted to fill our freezer with fish (quite a bit since we're not catching any) and if we should wake the girls.
As it turned out John went in very early and came back loaded with wahoo steaks, tons of produce and a few pastries. When he came back about 6:30 Sophie and I dinghied in and really enjoyed ourselves drinking our coffee and hot chocolate, visiting with other cruisers and listening to the local musicians. I'm glad we didn't miss it.
Instead of leaving on Sunday we decided to stay another day so the girls and I could go horseback riding and John could attend to some rigging issues with the crews of Blue Plains Drifter, Elusive and Scarlett O'Hara. All the boats except Scarlett O'Hara needed to be tuned, and John on Scarlett O'Hara knows a lot about rigging and was lending his expertise.
All four boats are planning to leave tomorrow (Monday the 12th) for Kauehi Atoll, nearly 500 miles away. This will be our first landfall in the Tuamotos, and we are anxious to begin another multi-day passage, and to visit new places.