Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Marquesas – North Group

The beach at Ua Pou
Because of the “ticking 90-day clock” (mentioned in my previous post), we decided to only visit two of the four islands in the Northern group of the Marquesas – Ua Pou and Nuka Hiva.  We went directly to the anchorage of Hakahua on Ua Pou from Tahuata – a trip that takes about 13 hours. 

Bananas anyone?
Ua Pou is similar to Fatu Hiva in that it has the high spires and beautiful greenery – but it also has a lovely beach and a nice protected harbor!  One of the downsides of the majority of anchorages in the Marquesas is that they are not very protected, so the ocean swell torments you at all times – making the boat rock forward and back or side to side – not so pleasant!  But at Hakahua, the protection of the large breakwater made things significantly more comfortable than most spots.  

Bella Vita and the Aranui supply ship
While the town was very similar to the other towns we had seen, we were excited to find out that the bi-weekly supply ship (which also carries passengers) was going to be arriving while we were there – which practically the whole town shows up for.  We were very interested to see how this big ship would navigate within the tiny little harbor AND avoid the half dozen sailboats anchored within it.  Suffice it to say that two boats had to move and even then it was a true feat of navigation to finesse the boat up to the dock.  Excellent seamanship Captain!  It was also neat to see all the stuff that the island had prepped on the quay to load onto the ship.  We were happy to find local commerce alive and well!

Ummmmm, baguettes and croissants!

Classic Marquesan market
After leaving Ua Pou we made our way to Nuka Hiva – one of the most populated islands in the Marquesas (2nd only to Hiva Oa).  We wanted to make our way to Daniel’s Bay – where one of the first episodes of the popular reality show “Survivor” was filmed – but first we had to visit the main town to purchase some fresh fruit and vegetables.  Even more important – we needed to do a little laundry and to get a new supply of baguette’s (french bread), which we have become completely addicted to.  But lo and behold, there was a holiday going on and everything was shut down for two days!  No problem – we can wait for baguettes – especially when we might also be able to get some chocolate croissants if we get to the bakery before 7am!  There are some definite advantages to the French “owning” these islands! 

Survivor beach where all that backstabbing took place!
After stocking up and visiting a fellow cruiser in the local hospital (infections here can quickly become life threatening – which this friend learned the hard way), we made our way over to Daniel’s Bay.  While we were excited to see the beach where Survivor took place, we were really there to take the hike up to the renowned waterfall, which was every bit as amazing as it was portrayed to be.  Daniel’s Bay is a lovely place and we really appreciated our 3 wonderful days there before it was time to make the 3-4 day passage to the Tuamotos.  We thoroughly enjoyed our time in the Marquesas and only wish we could have “afforded” to spend more time here. 

Goodbye Marquesas!

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