Nuku Hiva is the largest island of the Marquesas archipelago with Taiohae being the administrative capital so was our first stop for checking in. Kevin from yacht services helped sort us out with lots of things, including finalizing the paperwork for our long stay visa so we could stay longer than the 3 months provided for us non Europeans.
The anchorage here is surrounded by lush green volcanic mountains that after a good rainfall sprout waterfalls from the peaks. We hiked out to Pointe Arquée for great views back to town and along the coast spotting manta rays in the water below us.
The seafront and Main Street for town is a busy area on Saturdays what with it being market day and many of the people from the other villages come into Taiohae for events and socializing. Other than Saturday it’s a quiet clean place with friendly locals who acknowledge you as you walk about town.
While on anchor one day we were entertained by a manta ray who fed close to the boat and then came in beside us to play and do spins showing us his mouth and underside. Very cool.
After resting up from our crossing we decided to circumnavigate Nuku Hiva as we’d heard there were some nice bays and we had plenty of time. We moved around to Baie Hakahaa and the village of Taipivai to enjoy a very calm protected bay for a few days and visit the valley which had lots of fruit trees, waterfalls and the Tikipaeke old archaeological site with its stone tikis. Below is the Valley at Taipivai over the Te A’itua tohua site with some new sculpture designs in the field.
It was a 20 minute hike along the road in the shade to the village of Taipivai where we admired all the fruit trees, turning left after crossing the bridge towards Hatiheu where we eventually found a sign to the Tikipaeke site, telling you it’s another 500m up the hill. Easy!
After a squally night and the waters in the bay turning brown from river run off it was time to move on. There were new waterfalls all throughout the valley from all the rainfall.
On our way out of Baie du Contrôleur we spotted lots of manta rays feeding and were escorted along the East coast by 2 groups of different dolphins; 1 with a rounded nose and the other with a bottle nose with a white marking on it. Had a good sail and arrived into Anaho Bay , which was so picturesque with a nice protected bay, a nice breeze and some hiking opportunities. No electricity here for the half dozen families that live here but there is a church.
On one day we hiked around the beach and over to Hatuatua Bay on the East coast to see the rugged windswept beach with dried coconuts galor. A squall came thru which had us high tailing ourselves out as there was no shelter to be found at this beach. The cliffs around here are impressive.
Decided to hike up the mountain via a horse trail to the town of Hatiheu as we’d heard there were some ancient gathering grounds and petroglyphs. The views at the saddle back to Anaho were impressive.
Hatiheu was a small village that was really clean with a cute church and lots of tiki statues along the beautifully manicured foreshore in town. Also looked like a nice bay.
Further up the hill we found the Meae paepae; a platform where human sacrifices were performed, some petroglyphs and a little further up the hill an amazing view back to Hatiheu and the bay.
A huge Banyan tree at the pae pae, can you see me?
After making our way along the north coast we came around the NW corner to find a beautiful bay with a nice white sand beach; Baie Haahopu. Our buddie Quinn would love it here as there was no one around but a nice big beach and a trail to the top of the hill. The north coast was perfect to bring our lightweight screecher out.
Our last stop on Nuku Hiva was Anse Hakatea also known as Daniel’s bay for a Marquesan that was good to cruisers but has since passed away. His whole family have houses in both the 2 bays here. Michael, Daniel’s nephew looks after Daniel’s house and property in the Eastern bay which is in such a nice location and no wonder the family come over from Taiohae most weekends. Amazing views all around and so protected.
We hiked from the beach in the Eastern Bay thru the small village of Hakaui passing about six houses and lots of fruit trees through the valley, across rivers and along a nice shady trail to the Viapo Falls, which is the largest in French Polynesia at 350m (1100ft).
It took us 2 hours to get there and was a nice hike with amazing scenery, ancient pae pae sites, tikis ending at a pool at the base of the falls. We even spotted a 5ft eel in one of the rivers we crossed with big teeth! 😳
On return we stopped at Teiki & Kua’s house in Hakaui for lunch and they loaded us up with lots of fruit in exchange for a few things they needed that we had. A lot of the Marquesan men have impressive looking tattoos that look good on them but we be thinking not on us.
Time to move on to the Tuamotos after 3 weeks here.