Saturday, April 30, 2016

Hakatea or Daniels Bay - Nuka-Hiva

Touted as one of the least rolly anchorages in the Marquesas Island it is also where the hike up to the beautiful waterfall commences. Our friends on Family Circus said they called the walk the Garden of Eden walk so we looked forward to seeing what was instore for us. 

Pesto and Enough came into the bay and in the evening everybody, including Tim and Lindsey from Sababa, came over to Sarita for a few drinks. We enjoyed catching up with everybody and hearing about their passages from Mexico. Katya enjoyed being reunited with her friends on Pesto and Enough.          

At 9am the VHF radio blurted out our boat name: “Sarita, Sarita, this is Sababa” We answered Tim who was calling us to see if we still wanted to go on the hike up to the waterfall. “Sure” we said, wondering if our slight hangover from the previous evening might make this walk a little more difficult than normal but it would probably be the best thing we could do so we packed lots of water, mosquito spray and an assortment of energy bars and off we headed in the dinghy to meet up with Tim and Lindsey. Amber and Katya decided to stay and do their own thing.

The walk first takes you into the small village but to arrive there you have to cross a river which is about waist height but very refreshing. I suppose it is misleading to call it a village as there are only three or four houses. 

The lady that owned the first house we passed came out to greet us and ask us if we wanted some fruit and a meal on our return, unfortunately we did not bring any money but we promised that we would return with some friends in a day or so.

The start of the walk goes through lush fruit orchards of papaya, pampelmousse, bananas, oranges and mangoes, although not in season. The high mountains, covered in luxurious vegetation act as a back drop to the walk which meanders up the valley crossing small refreshing streams, large rivers and muddy bogs. The further you go the narrower the track becomes and the denser the jungle. Remnants of a past civilization are abound: Perfect stone walls, pathways, house platforms. Apparently about 10,000 people once inhabited this valley before the Europeans wiped them out with western diseases and Catholicism.

The path came to an abrupt end at a river. The crossing looked deep and no sign of a path was seen on the other side. We explored up and down the bank but could not see an easy way across. Just as I was about to attempt a crossing I saw something large stirring in the water. Did I really see that? It was a very large eel, probably 5 feet in length and 10 inches across, if we were going to cross here we would have to hope this eel was not aggressive but maybe that is why he is so large. We all crossed safely, the eel hiding under a rock and found the path on the other side which continued on to the waterfall which is 350 mts high and supposed to be the third highest in the world. Tim and I continued on to the base of the waterfall along a difficult path and found the pool at the base of the fall to swim in. After a sticky and hot walk, it was great to have a cooling swim in this wonderful oasis. Quite spectacular.
Tim and Lindsey from Sababa

We walked back along the same path admiring the lush tropical vegetation and wondered why nobody has re inhabited this wonderful place that once so many people lived in. I think this has to go in my diary as one of the most beautiful and satisfying hikes I have done. Well worth the 5 hours.

Going up river for dinner....

The following day the crews of Sarita, Enough and Pesto went for a traditional Marquesan meal of steamed shrimp in coconut milk and rice at one of the local houses. To get to the hosue we had to take our dinghies into another small bay and up the river where we tied up by a coconut tree and then walk a short distance to their house. The wife spoke good English and the heavily tattooed Marquesan husband spoke mainly Marquesan and some French and they were very hospitable. The food was very plentiful and tasty. I had brought along some rum and pineapple juice as I had heard they would be serving fresh coconut juice so we made adapted Pina Coladas and enjoyed the meal and company before heading back down the river in darkness.

Another reason we came to Daniels bay was to complete our overdue sail repairs as we needed a stable and non rolling anchorage so we pulled the main sail down, cut out the torn part of the sail and attached a new panel at the foot of the mainsail. No we hope it works!             

Sail Repairs...

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