We were happy to see Wandering Dream when we reached the little harbour at Nuku Hiva. What’s more Steve wasn’t leaving for once, well at least not until the next day, so we managed to finally catch up over some pizza and beers and get the low-down on the island.
The next day we wandered around town. The first stop for most people is the little cafe on the dock, which offers up internet, unlimited coffee, and free bananas. It’s a great place to relax, meet fellow sailors and listen to the local musicians singing and playing the ukulele. You have to be careful or before you notice several hours have passed by – our excuse was we were waiting for a break in the rain showers.
We eventually left only to find our outboard wasn’t working, and of course we didn’t have the oars with us, so we begged a lift with some lovely people that we’d met on a water taxi in the Galapagos – thanks guys!
Later we rowed back to town for sunset drinks at the fancy hotel around the bay. It’s a bit of a trek so by the time we got there the sun had set (grrr!) but we’re joined by another couple from the boat Pallaren. After a few expensive beers and big laughs we decided to head to the pizza joint again. There wasn’t really many options in this little town, but the pizzas and burgers here were ok and the wine was good and cheap! A bit of a rarity in these parts. To end a perfect evening we got another tow back 🙂
Next day we headed to Kevin’s Yacht Services, it’s next door to the cafe and usually has a queue of people outside. He knows the people who can help you fix your yacht (but not your electric outboard engine – doh!) and also has laundry, a book swap and all the essentials. You can also book a car from here to tour the island or a local charity dance – so we signed up.
The lovely people on Sofia took pity on us this time and offered us a lift to shore to see the dancing and we joined a group of sailors for a fun-filled night. The food just kept coming until we couldn’t eat another bean and then the performance began. The local dance troupe mainly consisted of children along with a few other young folks. We were in awe the whole time as they drummed, sang and danced their little hearts out. So talented and obviously having a ball! I had a great view in front row, which of course made me an easy target when it was time to drag a grown-up onto the floor. So I went up and showed them how it was done – ahem!
After that it was time for the ‘Mask competition’, these people go all out for the mask competition, so I’m glad now that I didn’t compete. Each competitor had to walk around the stage and drum up some votes. Our vote went to ‘Cousin It’!For the next two days it rained. We were pretty much boat-bound except a few supermarket runs for the essentials. Each trip to the grocery store we were followed by a local dog who was after our bread. We would have given him the dog-end except that it’s Simon’s favourite bit and fresh bread is a bit of a luxury after so long at sea. So walking back Simon would have the dog-end and the dog would get the next bit which meant that we had to start buying an extra baguette!
Apart from that we did some boat chores, relaxed a little and even managed to find the time to watch a film. Not sure when we last did that!
We were also pleased when a fellow boat arrived in the harbour. They’d just made the crossing from Galapagos and were missing a rudder so we were pretty impressed when they made it calmly into the anchorage. It’s good to see them safe and sound. It seems unlikely that a boat would loose a rudder but we’ve heard of at least two other cases which is strange, although there have been some big swells out there.
Finally the weather let up a bit and we hired a car to tour the island – a big 4×4 which as we found out was definitely needed.
First stop was the ‘Baie du Controleur’ for some amazing vistas.
This part of the island was very green, lush and hilly making for some very exciting driving. On each hairpin bend was a group of wild or tethered horses to make things more interesting.
Or a wild hog to entertain us!
We thought we’d taken the wrong road as the concrete turned to rubble, turned to mud and then turned into a stream but we persevered and were finally spat out the other side of the island. We took in yet more postcard views.
Then it was time to find Yvonne’s restaurant at Hakaenui Bay for a much needed lunch of fish and the local speciality, goat curry. After that we sought out a bit of culture as we explored a tiki site and hunted down some petroglyphs.
There was also some pretty crazy trees here. Quiet a magical place 🙂
We were also told that the other side of the island shouldn’t be missed so we headed off there. First we came across a flat plateau with yet more horses and then we started climbing. Up and up with more and more stops to take photos until eventually we ended up in the clouds, quite literarily. After loosing the road at several places we decided we were pushing our luck and turned about to head home before darkness.
The next day we dropped the car back and took Interlude to the next bay down. You can’t reach Daniel’s by car which makes it pretty special. The thin entrance to the bay is described as ‘exciting’ but as the swell picked up and pushed us unceremoniously through the gap some other words sprang to mind! Once in the bay it was peaceful and relatively calm except from the odd wind gust to keep us on our toes. And it was stunning with a capital ’S’. High mountains of green surrounded the bay and with only a handful of other boats it was perfect for a bit of lounging in the cockpit over dinner.
The next day we rose early as we were desperate to visit the waterfall, the 3rd highest in the world! But this required a huge hike. And we were also keen to leave for the Tuamotus while we had a good weather window which was closing in fast.
So we hop-footed it up there. I sent Simon first to ward of the numerous spiders that had formed their webs across the trail overnight. What a hero!
The trail is quite hard going and requires you to wade through stream after stream, sometimes up to waist-height.
Pretty intrepid but a pure delight too. We passed by some local home-steads where the people called out to try and sell us fruit.
After a while it began to rain which was quite refreshing at first and then we were just wet from head-to-tail. The trail wound its way through an amazing forest, and goes up and up until you are in the middle of no-where, in fact we didn’t see a single soul.
Eventually the waterfall came into view and we headed towards it. There was a sign that warned about falling rocks and looking up we could see why, the steep-sided mountains were looming above us. But having come this far we decided to continue. We’d heard that you can’t see the full height of the waterfall until you’re at the base. So we made it to the little lake at the bottom and stepped in. Well actually Simon slipped and did a belly-flop scaring the local wildlife which jumped and hopped and skipped in all directions.
Once in we swam across to the other side and climbed behind the rock to see the waterfall. It was pretty impressive, tall and heaps of water cascading down. There again there’s been plenty of rain to feed it! Simon tried to swim underneath it but the current was so strong, just to be there in the spray was amazing!
After that we hop-footed it back to the boat as time was of the essence and the Tuamotus were beckoning.