After an overnight sail we reached Ua Poa, an absolutely beautiful island with tall rock spires rising from the lush green mountains. As we approached land, the serrated landscape looked like a dream or visions from a fairytale.
The island is about 10 miles long and 7 miles wide with countless soaring mountain towers, shrouded in clouds. We anchored outside a village of 250 people, all extremely friendly.
We set out to hike to a waterfall with Gregg & Sujata (Maajhi-Re). We somehow took a wrong turn and ended up at a little house way up the mountainside owned by a German and his Marquesan wife. They called it Manfred's ville and it was an oasis of fruit trees, flowers, chickens, horses, ducks and you name it, located just under a tall stately spire. The couple welcomed us into their home and showed us around.
They invited us for lunch complete with the local moonshine made from bananas and cocoa. Gregg spoke fluent French so there was a lively conversation including politics, philosophy and what was in the news. Gord and I did out best to follow along but my high school French left much to be desired.
He had ingeniously built a water turbine run by old bicycle wheels, PVC pipe, etc. installed in a discarded freezer, powered by water funnelled down from the waterfall. This ran his generator and gave him all the modern conveniences including lights, washing machine, frig, freezer, etc.
When we finally left the woman gave us each a jar of her homemade guava jam and loaded us up with pamplemouse (grapefruits on steroids) and limes.
HIKE TO WATERFALL
The Manfords told us of a water catchments further up the mountain behind their house where they piped their water from. They told us that it was beautiful and worth the extra distance so we decided to check it out.
It felt good to take a dip in the icy water below the little waterfall surrounded by tropical jungle.
We continued on our way until we came to a very spectacular waterfall and Gregg & Gord went for another swim. Wading back out, we encountered a huge fresh water eel, about 5 feet long! Apparently, these are common in the pools of the waterfalls and are revered by the locals.
We had a wet hike back as it was raining and we tromped through mud all the way to town.
Maajhi-Re anchored in Ua Poa under the rainbow
AROUND THE VILLAGE OF HAKAHETAU
The dock seemed to be a community hangout for the kids, who swam and played in the surf pounding into the wall. Here I posed with a couple of the local boys (check out the tattoos!). Angela and Doug visit with Etienne, who welcomes cruisers to the village.
Interesting rock formation in town
Ettiene, mayor and retired school teacher is well known to cruisers the world over.
A group of us (Mag Mel, Solstice and Ascension) went to church. It was a Protestant service and the tiny congregation welcomed us warmly. The ladies were all dressed in their best tropical flowered dresses with black pearl earrings and necklaces and the traditional flowered hair ornaments - and flip-flops, the dress shoe of choice. It is all very exotic.
A few minutes into the service they started to sing and the sound was astounding. Their voices are incredibly strong, amazingly powerful and the harmonizing is unbelievable. We all stared at each other in awe by the beautiful music they made.
After church we were invited to view some local crafts so we all piled in the back of an old pickup truck (that you had to push and pop the clutch to get going) and we traveled up the mountain on a rocky goat trail to a little house. The woman there wove hats and made flowers from tapa cloth she made using bark from breadfruit trees and banyan.
MARQUESAN POT LUCK DINNER
Gord and I along with Mellisa & Ed (Mag Mel) Angela & Doug (Solstice), Gregg & Sujata (Maajhi-Re) were invited to a potluck supper with Etienne and his family and friends at his home. We got to sample all kinds of local dishes including poi, breadfruit, manioc, octopus, wild boar, raw fish dishes and the like. They in turn sampled our Western cuisine. Later Sujata sang some Indian songs and played the guitar. Etienne told us the story of how the Marquesas islands were formed and where the people came from according to folklore.
Etienne, the Marquesan schoolteacher, taught the guys the Pig Dance. In turn, the women learned the Bird Dance.
|Time to move on to Nuku Hiva, so early next morning, we headed out with Solstice, Mag Mel and Maajhi-Re.|