Friday, August 15, 2014

Marquesan Meanderings

Within 24 hours of arriving another two boats had arrived. After 48 a further four boats squeezed into our small anchorage that already had a fair few boats in it. All had recently made a big passage; whether from Canada, Chile, Mexico or like us from Panama, some but by no means all via the Galapagos. It was like pulling the pin on a party time grenade. Evenings on each others boats late into the night revelling in someone new to talk to; bbq fire pits on the beach where we roasted two chickens amongst all kinds of other treats; to a finale night of a drumming competition in the village. Atuona on Hiva Oa was just what the admiral ordered.

The mountain of Temetiu (1213m) towered above us almost permanently ensconced by a veil of cloud. We decided to set the alarm; somewhat a rarity in our current life, and scale it, or at least get as high as possible. After five weeks at sea our legs needed some exercise and they certainly got it.
We timed it perfectly in that the bakery was already open as we walked through town; proper french baguettes; and there were already plenty of people around to frequently ask for directions. Finally finding the start of the track we picked our way up through the paths in the relative coolness of the early morning. The Marquesans easily tell you 'sure you can go up there, there is a trail which they will point out on the hillside, but ask them if they've ever been themselves and it's a different matter. Consequently the track was far from obvious and at times pretty exciting but we made it as far as we could without turning our hands to rock climbing. 

Atuona was a real highlight of our Marquesan meanderings where we found goats cheese, new friends and fun but after a week there we felt we rather ought to see another island. It was a shock to the system as we ventured out of baie Tahauku. There hadn't been any breeze to speak of inside the natural harbour so we hadn't worried about the windows and were fully prepared to have to motor the 10 miles to our next anchorage. It was a wet and wild ride across to Tahuata and the wind continued to gust alarmingly once we were tucked up into our next beautiful bay anchorage.

 Ua Pou was our next island and is characterised by it's dramatic basalt volcanic plugs. We stumbled upon a rehearsal of a traditional dance/ play in an out of the way village where we were the only boat visiting. The actors and musicians appeared to be largely around the 18-30 age group and were putting a lot of sweat and passion into their performances. Our fellow spectators did not appear to take it all so seriously; children were running about getting in the way, one little girl enthusiastic with her newspaper kite and whenever there was fighting or other such excitement in the performance, the 5 or 6 dogs prowling around would join the melee with howls, pouncing and barking. It was a quite unexpected spectacle.

Now we're at our final Marquesan island 'Nuku Hiva'.  Here we've been cracking on with a few jobs (the dinghy is still wending it's merry way towards being a 'sailing dinghy') and enjoying lovely long walks in the  scenic countryside which ranges from Scottish highland style desolate peaks to tropical and temperate rain forest.

We've been enjoying doing the tourist thing whilst in the Marquesas; we saw the graves of both Guaguin and Jacques Brell, searched extensively for the monument to Herman Melville and have walked many miles.  We managed to get to see the third highest waterfall of the world (there's a bit of a drop off after the first two!) such trips are greatly improved by the excitement of finding fruit trees allover the place and several chilli bushes. 

The Marquesas have been beautiful; the people have been friendly and helpful but we have to leave too soon.  Next stop is the Coral Atolls of the Tuamotus before heading onwards to the Society islands.  Plenty to look forward to!


1 comment:

Mike Wagoner said...

Maybe you occasionally tire of posting your adventures for us "land lovers" to read over and over but thank you so much for taking the time to post updates on your great adventures. We so enjoy you taking us along on your journey. Mike & Ruby