Taiohae and D’Anaho Bays

May 13, 2012

I kind of pride myself on having a “feelings” kind of blog. You know, the kind that is more interested in how a place, or thing, or experience made me feel rather than (strictly speaking) a description of the place/thing/experience in question. Which is sort of by way of explaining why I’ve been a little short on blog posts lately.

The problem, in vague terms, is that I have been feeling the same thing over and over again. This whole chapter in my life can be summed up in one short word; WOW. I feel like I’ve been sailing, hiking, and bumming around in an ever increasing state of slack jawed amazement and revelry at the immense cultural and natural beauty. And while this is certainly no regrettable state to be in, it is a little overwhelming and, well, not entirely conducive to introspection.

So I am going to write a little about the details and leave the introspection for later.

Nuku Hiva has been, and this is quite a statement, the best all around island of our visit (for me). While it isn’t as friendly as Ua Pou, or as hauntingly magnificent as  Fatu Hiva, or as polished as Tahuata, it has had kids (lots and lots of kids) and super easy goods and services (woodworking, rappa coco, groceries, laundry, music…). It also has D’Anaho Bay, which I’ll get to.

We sailed to Taiohae on just our jib due to some blow outs. This made for a very slow crossing, but also let us be really amazed by the topography of Nuku Hiva. Entering Taiohae Bay I was swept away by the now expected but still amazing verdant mountains and cliffs dropping directly into deep ocean. These cliffs showed evidence of periodic waterfalls which we later got to see in action. The Bay was well enough protected while still being expansive enough to hold 50+ yachts including the enormous (179′) superyachts Marie and CV-9. We found a good anchor spot nestled in fairly close to the yacht’s quay. The holding is great but there is a crazy “waltz” that has boats moving 360º around their anchor and generally not pointing the same way.

In town we found every type of service including a woodworker named Kevin who not only filled our propane tanks (with butane) but also made a few things for Convivia that I had been wanting since Mexico. Within a few days we had re-provisioned (Vick has since promised that her “permanent” home will require a produce procuring option that doesn’t require a 4am wakeup call), fueled up, and reconnected ourselves with friends and family through expensive internet. We were ready to move on!

After considering our many options the crews of Wondertime and Convivia decided to head up to D’ Anaho Bay for a few days. Anaho is reputed to be the best, most beautiful, flattest anchorage in all of the Marquesas. I am here to tell you that it is all of that. It’s something else too that my travel numbed senses can’t quite put to words. I can say that that other thing is a feely sort of thing; a “I’m really lucky to be here, with these people” kind of feeling. It’s quiet and flat, and the mountains that surrounded us seemed to be alternately cast in warm oranges and cozy slanting fog.

On land we were welcomed to help ourselves to coconuts which I diligently shucked cracked and served to our friends and the family. Afterwards we took a walk down Main Street, a 2 person wide trail edged with banana and coconut palms, fruit trees, vegetable gardens and one of the most amazing flower gardens I’ve seen since California.

After the walk we joined the crew of Khaiulani for a pickup birthday party. Their son was turning 6. Between the three boats we had 6 kids under 8 years old. If you don’t have kids, or haven’t spent much time with them away from other kids let me tell you that this was like stumbling across a diamond the size of your fist on the beach. When we were invited to their gorgeous schooner for a potluck dinner on the following night  we eagerly accepted.

We are back in Taiohae now and all provisioned up for the new best thing (the Tuamotus). On Monday we will make our last stop in the Marquesas to see the waterfall at Daniel’s Bay and then we’ll make our 4 day passage to Kauehi Island. Maybe along the way I will get some of my feelings sorted out and put them into a post.

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