Category: Marquesas

Daniel’s Bay, Nuka Hiva

Blog ViewWe arrived here in Daniel’s Bay on the island of Nuka Hiva. Yep, my honey has his own special place down here. It is just four miles from Taiohae Bay where we’ve been for the past week. It’s a nice little bay with rocky cliffs on one side and a semi-white sand beach on the other. So far there are just five boats here. It’s a nice change from where we were surrounded by fifty or sixty other boats in Taiohae Bay. We know all the others here with the exception of one French boat.

They tell us there are sharks here in this bay so no swimming. Ernie on SV Patience was fishing from his dink last night and said he saw four or five sharks chasing the fish he caught. And, he saw a Tiger shark. They are pretty territorial and can be aggressive. It’s okay, I don’t need to swim here. Plus we’ve had quite bit of rain this week which means all the run off from the mountains is making the water a bit murky. I’ll wait until we get to the Tuomotus where the water is crystal clear. If I’m going to be eaten I’d at least like to see it coming.

Apparently a few years ago they filmed an episode of Survivor here. Never watched it so I couldn’t tell ya anything about it. The waterfall here is said to be the 3rd tallest in the world however I can’t confirm that. I doubt we will hike all the way to it as you have to wade, waist deep through a murky pond filled with fresh water eels. They say they don’t bite but will rub against you and may nip at your legs. No thank you! I’ll pass on the eel experience.

I’ve read that you can hike about halfway there and see 60-70% of the falls so we may do that. I really want to see the ancient ruins along the way so we’ll see. SV Nightide and SV Patience are leaving tomorrow for the 4-5 Day trip to the Tuomotus. All of us are getting together for sundowners and nibbles on Nightide this afternoon. Like I’ve said before we really don’t feel like strangers in a strange land here as it seems we have friends around every corner.

Ed & Linda on SV One Fine Day are coming in as well. We’re becoming pretty good friends. I wish we could head to the Tuomotus with them this week but we have to wait for the generator so we’re stuck here for about two weeks. Of course there’s worse places to be stuck I guess.

This afternoon Dan is napping and I’m in the hammock looking for sharks. Hope I get to see a few….from the safety of the boat of course.

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Blog CoconutToday is a new day and we are loving Daniel’s Bay. Yesterday we decided to go on a hike with Ed & Linda to the waterfall for the day. When we were getting ready to leave we saw a black tip shark come out of the water and grab a fish just about twenty feet from the boat. That was amazing as his whole body came out of the water while he chomped down on his prey!

We headed to the beach on the dink and realized we needed to add air to the dinghy wheels so had to head back to the boat. On the way we saw a five foot hammerhead shark swim right along side of the dinghy. OH WOW! THAT WAS AWESOME! My camera was in the waterproof case in Dan’s backpack so I didn’t get a pic but I’m hoping he’ll come back. We saw him again after we reached the boat. We also saw about a half dozen or so black tip sharks. None were very big but it was still awesome to see. Definitely no swimming here! LOL

We made it back to shore and then had to walk a trail that snakes along the bay here to get to the village. The village is absolutely stunning. We’re still amazed as we travel through these places at how manicured the grounds are around these villages. As we arrived in the village we saw a few people harvesting coconuts. They harvest them and then dry them for copra which is used to make coconut oil and other coconut products. It’s their big export here. The guy sitting on the ground was named Teiki. He was a pretty scary looking dude. You can tell he’s lived here his whole life. I’m guessing he’s probably about thirty or so. He is covered in Marquesan tattoos. Even half of his face is tatted up. And his hair is shaved back about halfway on his head. He has some big ol’ muscles too. His two front teeth are ground down to look like fangs and he’s got a strange look in his eyes. Of all the islanders we’ve seen, he looks most like he could be a cannibal. He was super nice but still a little scary. His wife, Kua, was very sweet. She asked if we wanted any fruit and then started taking orders from us. We ordered some mangos, pamplemouse, limes, oranges and we even asked for a coconut. I’m going to make macaroons for us. Yummy! Kau also told us to stop back by their house after our hike and she’d have some ice cold, fresh juices and ice cream for us.

We had to go out toward the beach to pay their uncle, Paul, to allow us to go to the falls. His home isn’t much but the view is amazing! They charge $10 USD per person to hike the trail. The money they collect helps their small community of Hakaui and it was completely worth it. Walking through the village and then the jungle was lovely. We even Blog Waterhad to cross the river a few times. The water was about knee deep but it felt amazing! It was really cold and we were really hot. Along the way we ran across ancient ruins, tikis and other unique things. We never made it to the falls as us old folks just started losing steam. Linda has issues with RA so we decided once we reached the large opening where we could see part of the falls we would go back. Even at that we hiked almost two hours into the jungle.

Blog Waterfall2

~Blog EdBack in the village we stopped at Teiki’s home where his wife, Kau, made us fresh juice. Ed, Linda & I had pamplemouse and Dan had this yummy mango drink that was thick and ice cold. It was like they froze the mango then blended it. Dan & I each had a little ice cream as well. He had coconut and I had banana mango. She makes it fresh. Their home is very traditional Marquesan. The only closed in room is the kitchen and it doesn’t have a door. It just opens to the outside. They have a huge stand alone freezer so they obvioulsy get power. Didn’t see solar panels so I’m thinking it’s hydroelectric power like the other islands. There is a roof that covers the entire place and they sleep in tiny tents on the stone floor outside. They have a large picnic table under roof and they will make dinners for you there for a price. It’s sort of like we did in Fatu Hiva. They had a grill made of half a metal drum and on it they had a pig head boiling in a pot! YUCKY! It is amazing how little these people have yet they are all so happy and smiling. The photo of Ed sitting down is “inside” of their home. I use the word inside but as you can see…inside for them is still outside. Teiki came back to the house while we were there. He and Kau speak pretty good English. He started rearranging his spear guns and I felt a little uneasy. He had four of them and there were four of us…Were they feeding us food to make us more tasty??? Of course I’m joking and they were nothing short of gracious hosts. He even made certain to tell us not to eat the fish in the next anchorage as it has ciguatera. That’s something reef fish get and is common down here. You never eat reef fish in Polynesia without talking to the locals first. Pelagic fish like tuna, wahoo and mahi are always safe and that’s what we like anyway.

Blog D & JOf course we paid for the drinks, fruit and ice cream. We toted a whole slew bang of fruits back to the boat. The mangos here are different than in Florida. They are really sweet and a slightly different texture. I’ve never been a mango fan but these are starting to grow on me. Don’t tell Dan because I told him I would never like them.

Blog with ED & LinLast night we went to Ed & Linda’s boat for sundowners and she ended up making dinner for us as well. We had a really nice time. We do so enjoy hanging out with them. They are really good people and lots of fun!

Today we’ve been working on projects. Dan opened the coconut and got all the meat out and shredded it. I’ve dried it and tomorrow will be making macaroons. Tonight Ed & Linda are coming over here for dinner. Looking forward to another nice evening with them.

We’ll be leaving tomorrow to head north around the island. There’s another bay that is supposed to be the most awesome bay in all of the Marquesas. Well, you know, can’t pass that up.

Until Next Time,

Jilly

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Jammin’ In Nuka Hiva

Here we are 3000, miles from mainland Mexico and in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Most everyone who cruises on a boat has made the comment of why they voyage to other countries to experience the culture of different people and lands. Well, I know I have. There is a difference though between saying it and doing it. I have many fond memories of being invited into the homes of many Mexican friends throughout my travels in Mexico. Their family run businesses and restaurants all have become memorable and their friendships have provided hours of cultural experiences.

Yes, our goal on Dazzler is to immerse ourselves into the culture of the places we travel, the islands we visit and try in our short time period of a 90 day visa to meet the locals.

We are similar to the other boaters in that sense of having a desire to catch up with a few emails upon our arrival. As we look around the cafe that has free internet, we see the masses huddled around there electronic devices trying to squeeze out some sort of internet connection. Well, according to Kevin at Yacht Services in Nuka Hiva, the island internet is provided by satellite only. In other words everyone on the island is trying to use the Internet portal at the same time and the result is like trying to squeeze a 25 pound turkey into a 5 pound oven. As you can guess cutting the turkey into five equal parts and cooking them one piece at a time is going to take a while.

The islands offer many different activities if you have a reasonable budget and an adventurous heart. Hikes to waterfalls, island tours or rental car road trips open up many adventures.

One of the things that Jilly and I have observed is that many of the yacht traveling crowds are sitting around with their noses buried in their electronic devices at those earlier mentioned WiFi spots. Buried to the point that they seem to be oblivious to things happening around them. And in some cases missing the culture happening all around them. We attempt to keep a watchful eye out for situational awareness. Constantly scanning what is happening around us for two reasons. The first is for our safety and the second is for cultural opportunities.

Just a few days ago was one of these days. We needed to go ashore to take the rental car keys back to the office. As it turned out Kevin, at Yacht Services, had called us on the radio and asked if we could return the car keys on Monday. Well, you know me, flexibility is my middle name. They call me Gumby Dammit. Ha ha ha. So, we decided to go into the snack shack at the petite quay (dingy dock) to send a few emails. While there, we saw the same group of boaters huddled around their electronic devices with their noses about two inches away as they stared into the screens waiting for the spinning wheel of death to stop turning and provide a message to the user of, “Message Sent!”

While at the snack shack, we noticed what looked like a family BBQ. They were cooking up fish and breadfruit on a grill made from a barrel that was cut in half and had wrought iron legs welded onto the bottom. One of the family members was walking toward his vehicle with one of the boaters and he asked me if I wanted a ride to buy some beer. It was Sunday and only one store was opened till noon. The snack shack didn’t sell beer, so I said, “Why Not!”

The man’s name was Henry and as it would happen he is the owner of the little restaurant. More about Henry later. He drove us to a little store that sold a few items including beer. For those of you wanting to know what beer costs in the Marquesas, Well it is $22.50 per six pack of 16 ounce cans of Hinano beer. Good thing the alcohol content is 5% by volume. Needless to say, everything on the island with few exceptions is brought here by boat or plane. I offered to provide Henry with a few dollars for fuel and he refused. On the way back to the restaurant, Henry asked that we don’t leave more than one beer in the open on the table at a time. I’m guessing it’s not in accordance with his restaurant license.

Once back at the restaurant I grabbed a couple of glasses from the counter and poured the beer into the glasses. While enjoying the first sips of Hinano beer, an older local man named Paul, a friend of Henry’s family, took a guitar from his vehicle and started playing and singing. He was facing away from the crowded restaurant and his collection of traditional island songs was amazing. Jilly and I sat listening and sipping our beer, until Henry asked me if I play. I told him that I played an Ukulele. Paul heard that, put down his guitar and returned with a 10 string Marquesan Ukulele and handed it to me. That was all it took. The next thing I knew, I was strumming his Ukulele as he played his guitar and we were jammin’. Gemma a Spanish woman from another boat soon joined us Paul handed her his guitar and went to his vehicle and returned with another 10 string Ukulele. She had an incredible voice. We were now a trio jamming together. What an experience. After several songs, Paul excused himself to go eat with Henry and his family. I took a short break also.

After many of Henry’s family and other friends had finished eating, several of the men including Paul returned to the instruments and started playing again. The local island music was incredible. I went back out to Dazzler to get my Ukulele and was once again invited to participate with them. We jammed for a few hours playing their traditional songs. We accompanied the music with broken communication and laughter. Music is truly it’s own language that spans the globe, cultures, languages and can be done without conventional speaking.

This day was one of my best experiences in the Marquesas hands down. Oh, and while all this was happening, many of those sitting at the tables had their heads buried in their electronic devices and completely missed what was happening around them.

Back to Henry, We are not sure, but it would seam as if Henry may be one of the island elders or at the very least one of the leaders. This we only guess from how the family members and community members interact with him. Many mornings around 0700 hours, many of the locals arrive at the Snack Shack and drink a morning beverage while speaking with each other in what sounds like old Marquesas dialect. They stay about an hour and then depart for their daily business.

Until next time, keep your head and eyes up. Who knows what opportunities may present themselves to you?

Manuya, (Cheers)

Dan and Jilly