The letter W.

Sitting under the peaks.

14th May 2024

Anaho, Nuku Hiva, Marquises, French Polynesia – Hakahetau, Ua Poa, Marquises, French Polynesia via Taiohae Bay & Daniels Bay, Nuku Hiva, Marquises, French Polynesia

On Ruffian we are surrounded by things beginning with the letter W. Nautically there is the water, waves and warps to name but a few and this has been turbocharged as we have made our way around the Marquises. There has been a some worshipping, white water, watching the weather and a very healthy dose of waterfalls.

Returning to the magnetic chandlery on Nuku Hiva we picked up our wire lowers that had turned up after having components shipped from Australia, a rigger work on them in Tahiti and a pilot fly them into the island. With the lowers came an invitation to the Ascension day celebrations in the cathedral (which is normally off limits to tourists) and were told that we’d be welcomed with open arms as long as we donned a flower in our hair (which Iain struggled with).

Ascension day on Nuku Hiva was clearly a big evert as drums, guitars and a choir singing in Polynesian welcomed all and sundry. Everywhere we looked heads were covered in garlands of flowers fringed by headdresses created by nothing more than verdantly green foliage. The worshipping of the congregation was all performed to a backdrop of the most sublime singing and we watched in wonder at the spectacle all while being welcomed into this Polynesian community.

Leaving the main town in Nuku Hiva we sought out flat water as living life on the roll was proving to be tiresome. The only problem with this flat water was it was hidden behind huge vertical cliff walls which were taking taking all the energy out of the waves that crashed against them. With white water on all sides of us we gingerly eeked our way into the bay and at the last moment, with surging water just meters from us we performed a handbrake turn and glid into the flat water.

In Daniel’s bay not only was there flat water there was also a waterfall within striking distance and along with our intrepid friends from Shimshal II we set out to take the most powerful of power showers. As we trudged through the “Valley of the Kings” we saw clues to old civilisations and Tiki’s still stood guard, through the rainforest we saw our quarry from afar.

A thin white line scared the huge cliff that sat at the end of a canyon that had been carved out over aeons and all that sat between us and it were a mere few miles of fording rivers, scrambling over boulders and clumping our way through mud. As we approached its base our we were deafened by the roar of the cascading water from a ledge that simply disappeared above us into the clouds.

All the time we’d been watching, worshipping and wading under waterfalls we’d also been keeping a constant eye on the weather. Our time in the Marquises was starting to run out and the blue water of the Tuomotus was calling. There was however a problem; the weather. Instead of constant easterly trade winds, cold front after cold front from the southern ocean low pressure systems were disrupting things. Whenever we left, we’d either have too much wind, or not enough, or the right wind and thunderstorms a big swell. The weather for heading offshore just wasn’t right, so instead we made for another island and another waterfall.

Heading to another island was a great test for our rigging. Keeping a beady eye on the cables that hold up the mast they all remained tight and the mast remained true. All the work of the previous weeks, the scary sailing and having to build tension was proving to be worthwhile. Ruffian finally felt properly seaworthy again.

Sitting under 5 huge volcanic plugs on Oa Poa, where the Volcanoes had been worn away by the passing of time, we knew that we’d made the right decision not to head offshore. Instead we headed inshore in search of another waterfall. Where our previous waterfall was unfathomably big this was picture perfect small, where it’s plunge pool was dark and brown this one was bright and blue, but we were about to be given a treat we could never expect.

From the bush emerged a Polynesian decorated with tattoo’s over the entirety of his right side and these tattoo’s were all pointing to the huge machete that was glinting in the dappled sun. The glinting blade was then overshadowed by his beaming smile and the universal language of laughter.

Within moments Charlie had harvested some coconuts, sharpened a stick and was intent on giving us a masterclass in the versatility of the coconut. We found out about how the heart changes from green ones to sprouting ones, how to open them without losing your hand, but none of us had mastered drinking from them without getting completely covered in their sweet yummy nectar.

After spending time in the Marquises worshipping, being in white water, watching the weather and lounging in waterfalls we hope that soon we’ll be changing to the letter T. With the letter T the tremendous Tuamotus which teem with turtles will be within touching distance.

Travelers' Map is loading...
If you see this after your page is loaded completely, leafletJS files are missing.

Author: Iain & Fiona Lewis

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *