Sunday, 14 June 2015

8/2015 Exploring the Island of Nuku Hiva

Hi from Clare,        No8  Exploring the Island of Nuku Hiva             Friday 12th June 2015

We last wrote when anchored in Comptroller Bay, Nuku Hiva for three nights. Each day we walked into the nearby village which is the second biggest village on the island with a population of around 300. Nevertheless it is a lovely village as you can see by the photos, very well cared for by the inhabitants. Our British friends Diane and Alan on 'Moonfleet' came with us and so we had good company. It has rained most days since we arrived in the Marquesas. Because the weather is so warm and humid we just accept getting wet rather than donning our wet weather gear. So each day the four of us would set out dry and return some hours later soaking wet and sometimes filthy dirty. We negotiated a particularly muddy and slippery track up a steep hill to view and ancient Titki site from the 13th century. I must say I'm not sure it was worth the climb just to see some rocks and get covered in mosquito bites – but we do these crazy things:)

Walking into the village

Village house

Local school

Replica ancient village for Cultural Festivals

Rare 13th Century Tikis
Ancient explorers

On Tuesday we returned to the main bay and Taiohae township which is the largest on the island with about 2000 inhabitants. It's a pretty quiet existence here with very little night life. After ten years of cruising this is the first major town we have visited that does not have a bar and a television covering of the latest global sporting event. Alcohol is very expensive and without the usual watering hole the cruisers are at a complete loss.

There are no marinas, ship chandlers or riggers/mechanics here which is amazing considering the amount of boats passing through and the repairs needed after travelling 4000 miles from Panama. There is a Yacht Services business run very capably by Kevin that can ship parts in from Tahiti (at great expense). But failing that you just have to make temporary repairs and limp on to Tahiti some 1000 miles further. Fortunately we only needed to source a new battery which has now been installed and all is well.

We did an island tour with six other cruisers on Thursday and thankfully it was a beautiful day without rain. You can see by the photos that the island of Nuku Hiva is a tropical paradise with spectacular topography. The mountains and bays are truly beautiful and the roads are flanked with flowering shrubs and fruit trees. These have been planted by local people who live in the towns but have land allotted to them in the hills for farming. We visited ancient sites where the Marquesan people gathered to celebrate and dance and also to perform human sacrifice to appease the Gods. At these sites the banyan tree (see photo) was considered a sacred tree and was used to place bones in and to bury people in.

Anchored in Taiohae Bay
Island Tourists
Restored Sacred Site
Banyan Tree
Classic Marquesan photo
Local Church

Last night some thirty cruisers went out for Pizza. It was a good nigh at one of the few restaurants in town. We sat on the verandah at a large L shaped table which was terrific until it poured rain and the wind blew it in across the table. Many people scrambled for their coats. I had my back to the rain so I put up my umbrella which worked very well and added to the fun of dinner in the tropics. The Pizza's were very good but unlike the Pizza nights in the Panama where they attracted the cruisers with a $1 beer special, the beers last night were $7 for a 500 ml can. Needless to say, not a lot of beer was drunk. We returned to our dinghy late only to find that someone had helped themselves to petrol from er to our fuel tank. There has been a petrol strike in Tahiti for about a month and supplies are low and it seems that anarchy is not far away. We have a good supply but we will keep our tank low until the strike is over. Andrew is considering fitting the dinghy with a petrol can full of water to assist any more people in “need”.

Today the locals have been competing in a canoe race. We saw them leaving the bay early this morning. It has rained a lot and so it's not the best day for it. Tonight there is a dinner in the local hall and then some traditional dancing. If it is not too wet we will venture over and have a look. The dancers have been practising and so we have been listening to their drums for a few weeks now.

The weather is very windy with the sea swell is big, so we will stay put in this harbour until the weather settles down.

We have booked our flights home arriving in Australia on 2nd August and departing 29th October. It will be very good to see you all then.

Love Candy xx