Category: Marquesas

Haahopu Bay … Our Own Private Paradise

I woke up here in Daniel’s Bay this morning to hear my love, Captain Save-A-Hoe tell me that he was off to save the kayak the locals use to get from their boat to shore. They keep it moored to a buoy and it had gotten loose and was headed out to sea. Of course Dan saw it and just had to go rescue it. The locals didn’t know it was gone and probably never will know it had to be rescued but that’s my guy…always out saving the world.

We left Daniel’s Bay a little later to head north around the island of Nuka Hiva. Getting out of the pass at the bay was fun. Large incoming swells in a narrow pass. I had closed all the port lights but the one in the galley. We don’t close that all the time. Well, that turned out to be a mistake. A huge swell slammed into the port side and crashed over the dodger into the cockpit. I went below as soon as I remembered it was open and we had water all over the galley. No, not like we would sink or anything but enough to ruin my morning as I had to clean it all up while we were bouncing around trying to get out of the pass. New rule…all port lights are closed underway. If it turns out to be calm then we’ll open a few up but until we know…they will be closed!!!

Haahopu CollageThe ride after we got out of the pass and turned north along the west side of the island was choppy but not awful. We were headed into the swell which is always uncomfortable but nothing we can’t handle. Our hope was that when we turned east on the north end it would calm down. WRONG! The wind started coming from the NNW instead of the SSW and the swell was on our nose again! After about an hour of motoring into it and getting beat up we turned around and came back to this beautiful little bay we had passed. It’s call Haahopu. (Pronounced Ah ah ō poo. Most of these places have names that are all vowels with a consonant or two thrown in for fun. It’s hilarious to hear Dan try to pronounce these words.)

Anyway, this place is beautiful. We’re on the arid side of the island so there’s not a lot of greenery. It sort of reminds me of México with the brown growth and clear water. There’s a small, tan sandy beach in front of us and to the west side there is a small concrete quay. The water is so clear we can see the bottom at 25’ and we are the only boat here. THIS IS PARADISE! Don’t get me wrong, we love hanging out with our friends but there’s something so peaceful about being the only boat in an anchorage.

We saw the airport when we tried to bash around the island today so we can only assume the quay is where the supply ship drops off their supplies. It’s not big enough for a ship to get in here but we have seen the barges that bring supplies to the more remote villages so we are guessing that’s how supplies are brought into the quay.

As we sit here enjoying our private anchorage Dan is below whipping up a batch of mango margaritas using the fresh mangos we purchased in Daniel’s Bay. The sun is getting long in the tooth and we are enjoying watching a family of three who is camping on the beach. The mom and child are playing in the water while the father appears to be enjoying a nap in a chair under a shade tree.

As it starts to get dark more cars and people descend upon the quay. We’re not sure where they came from or why they are here but there sure are a lot of them. They are all lined up down the dirt road that leads in from the interior of the island.

One young man jumps in the front loader and moves it around to the edge of the water. He lifts the bucket up high and shuts down the machine. There’s a girl sitting on the rocks nearby and we notice him talking to her. Before we know it this guy has climbed up the front loader and into the bucket. He stands there talking to the girl and the next thing we know he leaps into the water. I guess that’s one way of making a high dive platform. Of course I’m holding my breath because I know how shallow it can be near these shores but within a few seconds up pops his head and we can hear his laughter all the way out here at the boat. So I’m guessing this isn’t the first time he’s done this. The girl is giggling as he climbs the rocks and sits next to her. Oh to be young again!

Just before the sun goes down we look out to see a large ship near the entrance of the bay. From the sounds we determine that it is dropping anchor. I, Mrs. Kravitz, turn on the AIS to see who this ship is and what they are doing. It’s the Taporo IV. It’s 292’ long and has a large crane on board. We’re not sure what its cargo is but it’s clear now that this is the reason for all the commotion at the quay.

Soon it’s dark and the Taporo’s decks are lit up brightly by their floodlights. We sit in the cockpit and watch as the large crane lifts container after container over the side onto an awaiting barge. As we see the barge start to head toward shore Dan makes a call on the radio to the captain of the Taporo. He lets him know we will turn on all of our navigation and deck lights to make it easier for the barge to see us as they enter the anchorage. The captain thanks him for his assistance.

We watch as the barge delivers load after load to the quay. It turns out they use the forks on the bucket of the front loader to pick up and move these containers that are just slightly larger than a Port-O-Let. They are roughly three meters high and two meters square. There is a lot of movement on the quay as men mill about directing the driver of the front loader as to where to put the goods. Once all of the new supplies are delivered they begin loading the empty containers that came from the previous delivery.

All in all I guess it took approximately two hours for them to complete the delivery. As the barge heads back out to the ship for the final time the captain on board lights up the deck and waves to us as if to thank us for lighting the way. The captain on board the ship flicks his lights on and off a couple of times as well. Within minutes of the last load being dropped the quay empties out and we are back to being the only ones here. Well, except for the camping family.

So, here we sit in our private anchorage and we were treated to a wonderful show as we enjoyed cocktails in the cockpit but now it’s over. I guess it’s time for Dan to get the grill going for the Arracharra tacos we are having tonight. It’s still one of our favorite Mexican meals and he makes the best!

We still want to try to get to Anaho Bay tomorrow which is further north and we plan to leave very early in the morning to get there. We saw it when we rented the car for our island adventure and it’s supposed to be spectacular. The seas, however, will determine our path. If it doesn’t look good we may hang here another day or so then go back to Taiohae Bay to wait for the generator. It should arrive a week from Monday. At least there we can go ashore to enjoy the stores, restaurants etc… But, for now we are enjoying our private bay.

Until Next Time,

Jilly & Dan


Can You Feel The Mana?

Jilly and I have an outgoing spirit with a certain twist that can’t really be explained very easily. It is something that has opened doors for us to see the local cultures a little below the surface. We greet the locals with a smile and a friendly “Bonjour” or “La Orana” and always say, “Merci” or “Maru’uru” when we’ve been served, assisted or in general courtesies. We try to learn the first names of those we regularly meet and greet them by their first names when we see them again. In watching other cruisers around us, it appears that we are just a small percentage of those cruising the islands that do this kind of thing.

Last Saturday evening, we decided to go into town for one of our last dinners for a while. We went to the Moana Nui pizza restaurant. It turns out that the restaurant was decorated for Mother’s Day here in the Marquesas. The restaurant was entirely reserved by locals except for one table for two near what we thought was the back of the restaurant. It actually turned out to be near the front entrance. They brought out the hand written menu and explained it to us. They had prime rib for dinner. Well why not? So we both ordered the prime rib and about fifteen minutes later our food came to the table. As it turns out, they cook it a bit differently here on the island. They slice the rib and then grill it to medium rare perfection. It was HUGE! I mean it covered over half the plate and it was about one and a half inches thick. It has been a long time since I have had prime rib, but I can tell you this, it did not suck.

Feel the Mana with TitlesShortly after we ordered our meal, Kevin of Nuka Hiva Yacht Services, his wife Annabelle and their children entered the restaurant and sat at the table next to us. Once again we got some more insight to the local culture from them. A three piece group of men began singing and playing a keyboard and an electric guitar. Somehow we had stumbled into another cultural event. We were the only white cruisers in the restaurant except for Kevin and he is a transplant from Pasadena in Southern California. He is considered more of a local than anything else.

We see the many cruisers with a take attitude. One that is stopping to get what they need before moving on…somewhat like locusts. Like I have said before, everything on these islands with the exception of the fresh fish and local fresh fruits and vegetables has to be brought to the Islands. And while we also participate in buying resources from the local market we also believe in putting back into the community. When we stop at the Snack Shack or the Tempatutui  restaurants where WiFi is available, we always buy something. One thing I’ve learned in water world is that nothing is free. These businesses have to pay for the WiFi for their guests to use. If you don’t buy anything and use their Internet, are you really a guest or a mooch? We were sitting in the Tempatutui  restaurant sipping a frosty cold beer we bought and were using their WiFi connection. Another solo male cruiser was sitting behind us using the Internet and he had not purchased anything from the restaurant. After about 10 minutes, we lost our Internet connection. No big deal right? A few minutes later, the woman running the restaurant slowly walked by our table and slid us a piece of paper with a new password access for the WiFi. And then a few minutes later the man approached us and asked if we had Internet. We told him that we didn’t think it was working and that we were working on photos and reading saved articles. Perhaps a little white lie, but we knew the moment the woman slid us the new password what was happening. So, I got up and ordered a second round of beer. Jilly walked up to the bar to get her drink and slid the piece of paper with the password on it back to her. The woman got a big smile on her face. As it turns out, she speaks English and overheard what we had told the man. We just smiled back at her and then walked back to our table with our beers.

While sitting on Dazzler in the anchorage, we have been watching the locals canoeing in their single outrigger style canoes most afternoons. While walking around town, I had noticed two distinct canoeing clubs. The last night we were in Taiohae Bay, I was sitting in the cockpit playing my ukulele when one of the paddlers stopped by Dazzler. He had traditional tattoos and wore a choker around his neck that had tusks from a wild pig he had killed. He explained that the pig had killed his favorite dog during the hunt, so he had some of his dogs bones also on his choker. He explained that he and the others have been out practicing for a competition that occurs at the end of June. We enjoyed a nice conversation with him before he had to get back to practicing for the competition. We saw him later that week and he smiled and exchanged hellos with us.

Jilly and I believe that somehow we are giving off some kind of vibe, karma or mana that opens doors and opportunities for us in these small communities. Perhaps it is adventurous curiosity or perhaps we are seen by our actions or its mana. I’m not saying we are the only cruisers that act like this. It just seams to be a rare personality trait that is not viewed in other’s actions.

I know I have mentioned that in the recent past during our hikes to waterfalls and other island ancient grounds, we have both felt the presence of a spirit that has surrounded us. It is a feeling that can’t very easily be explained. And it is one that is best described by the definition of mana.

Mana is described as a:

(noun) prestige, authority, control, power, influence, status, spiritual power, charisma – mana is a supernatural force in a person, place or object. Mana goes hand in hand with tapu, one affecting the other. The more prestigious the event, person or object, the more it is surrounded by tapu and mana. Mana is the enduring, indestructible power of the atua and is inherited at birth, the more senior the descent, the greater the mana. The authority of mana and tapu is inherited and delegated through the senior line from the atua as their human agent to act on revealed will. Since authority is a spiritual gift delegated by the atua, man remains the agent, never the source of mana. This divine choice is confirmed by the elders, initiated by the tohunga under traditional consecratory rites (tohi). Mana gives a person the authority to lead, organise and regulate communal expeditions and activities, to make decisions regarding social and political matters. A person or tribe’s mana can increase from successful ventures or decrease through the lack of success. The tribe give mana to their chief and empower him/her and in turn the mana of an ariki or rangatira spreads to his/her people and their land, water and resources. Almost every activity has a link with the maintenance and enhancement of mana and tapu. Animate and inanimate objects can also have mana as they also derive from the atua and because of their own association with people imbued with mana or because they are used in significant events. There is also an element of stewardship, or kaitiakitanga, associated with the term when it is used in relation to resources, including land and water.

 I know it is easy to get caught up in having to get something fixed that broke on your travels to paradise. Having to order some critical part for your boat. Or, your crew just jumped ship and you’re stuck looking for more crew. Whatever the many reasons it could possibly be, don’t forget to smell the coffee, flowers, peanut butter, crepes or experience the mana. Perhaps by slowing down, looking around or adding a few more items to your daily routine, additional doors may be opened and opportunities could unfold right before your eyes to provide a deeper cultural experience while visiting paradise and feeling the mana of the land, people and natural resources.

Until next time, Maruuru

Captain Dan