Tag Archives: nuku hiva

Nuku Hiva

Quest: 3 Hikes and a Sacred Site

Matt and I were determined to get some exercise traversing across these mountainous ridges.  Our quest was to explore all 4 “known” hikes during our short visit.  Our first hike was to Baie Colette (read about it in the last blog).  A few days later we adventured to a gazebo atop a mountain, a waterfall, and a sacred site called Koeva.

Gazebo Hike

Taiohae anchorage is actually inside a caldera.  Probably one of the coolest anchorages we have been in since not many people can say they parked their boat inside a volcano!  At the southwest side of the caldera, atop a mountainous ridge sits a gazebo with spectacular views of the bay.  The photo shows the gazebo from the half way point in our hike.

Gazebo at top of Hill

Gazebo at top of Hill

It was labeled as a “gentle” hike.  I’m not sure what that means as it seems like an oxy-moron to me.  But we ventured on this quest.  The first 2-2.5 miles were a gradual climb up the hill on a paved road.  But, the last 1-1.5 miles were straight up a dirt, rocky path with lots of switch backs.  It was steep, but worth the view.

Many benches and rock tables were scattered about at the top of the ridge.  The rock tables had really cool carvings showing what the view was in front of you.

Maps carved in stone at top of hill

Maps carved in stone at top of hill

The gazebo faces Baie de Taiohae and gives sweeping views of this beautiful caldera

Taiohae Bay from the gazebo

Taiohae Bay from the gazebo

After cooling off, we decided to stop at the “pebble” beach which is another hike just off the main path for the gazebo.  As it turns out, it was not much of a “pebble” beach but rather a rock beach.  Either way it provided a nice opportunity to dip our feet in the water and cool off from the hot day.  The top photo shows the beach in the lower right corner.

Pebble Beach

Pebble Beach

Results

  • Total Miles:  6.5
  • Total Steps: 16,653
  • Flights Climbed: 55 floors

Waterfall Hike

Most of the cruisers we know make use of a compendium that has a lot of data on each of the archipelagos and islands.  It is crowd sourced and managed by a boat called Soggy Paws. In this document, a cruiser mentions a nice hike to a waterfall.  We gathered our friends on Maple and began a new quest.

It was pretty easy to find even though there is no true trail.  A lot of the directions were similar to “turn right at the banyan tree.”  But we found it or rather we found a waterfall but not exactly what we were expecting.  It certainly was water cascading from the mountain, but it fed the village’s main water supply.  Which meant no swimming, no dipping, and no cooling off.  But it was pretty.

Our waterfall hike ends here

Our waterfall hike ends here

Results

  • Total Miles:  3.5
  • Total Steps: 10,435
  • Flights Climbed: 6 floors

Koeva Hike

We believe Koeva to be a holy spot with some historical or archaeological significance.  Unfortunately, there is very little information on Koeva both locally and online.  The entire site was spread across a grassy area and covered in trees and wildlife.  There were dozens of 1-sided huts with thatched roofs.  Elaborately carved poles held the roof and wall up.

Koeva tiki poles

Koeva tiki poles

Lots of tikis were peppered across the region.  Some were hidden by wildlife while others were in prominent locations.

Tikis spread throughout the site

Tikis spread throughout the site

The huts reminded me of separated areas for families or clans to pray or pay homage to their gods. But honestly, I do not know.

Huts in Koeva

Huts in Koeva

Some of the huts had things inside like an outrigger or tiki

Koeva Site

Koeva Site

There were plenty of beautiful views along the way.

Views along our hikes

Views along our hikes

Results

  • Total Miles:  6
  • Total Steps: 15,821
  • Flights Climbed: 50 floors

Some pretty photos of the black sand beach and Tu Hiva Tiki:

Nuku Hiva

Nuku Hiva

 

Matt & Christine

Tu Hiva Tiki in Nuku Hiva

Legend has it that god made a “big house” represented by the Marquesan islands.  The largest of them is Nuku Hiva which is the top of the framework.  The tallest peak on the island is well over 4,000’.  Nuku Hiva is the 2nd largest island in French Polynesia and the main island in the Marquesas with a total population of 3k people.

Originally, we were planning on making our way straight to Ua Poa after leaving the Tuamotus.  However, we were in desperate need of provisions and fuel and needed to arrive in a more populated island.  Thus, our arrival to Nuku Hiva.  After all, we had a wonderful, but long stay away from civilization.  For the past 6 weeks we have been off the grid so to speak.  The Fakarava south pass and Tahanea had zero supplies.  Makemo had several magasins but they were mostly empty waiting for the supply ship (which only arrives every 3 weeks). 

Needing a replenishment of fruits, veggies, bread, eggs, and meats, we arrived at the main island of Nuku Hiva.  Sugar Shack was hungry and in need of diesel and gasoline as we had not refueled since Tahiti in early July (4 months prior).  

There are 5 magasins here, some better stocked than others.  Lots of fresh produce including at the veggie market and magasins.  There is also a fish market and fisherman who sell their daily catch each morning (at 0530).  Lots of options!

We know several cruisers here!  Our friends on Maple showed up 24 hours after we did (remember we left Makemo at the same time, but they have a smaller boat that does not point as well as Sugar Shack).  Our friends on Heart and Soul (Dave and Margaret) welcomed us to the baie.  We had not seen them since Valdivia, Chile.  And our friends on Bella (Matias and Ulreka) whom we have not seen since Curacao over 2 years ago are here.  It is amazing to me how small the cruising community is while sailing the vast open waters.

Hike to Baie Colette

We gathered a group of cruisers for a hike to another baie.  There were 12 of us, but we only knew 7 of them (Maple, Heart and Soul, and Bella).  A gent name Williem from Rambler, a couple from Lila (Graham and Janet) were also with us.

Hiking Crew in Nuku Hiva

Hiking Crew in Nuku Hiva

It was a fairly easy hike up a few hills, but it was hot.  We passed a lovely cemetery that was well manicured.

Cemetery in Nuku Hiva

Cemetery in Nuku Hiva

Breathtaking views along the way of the Taiohae Baie where we are anchored.  We are the boat by itself on the far right.

Baie Colette Hike

Baie Colette Hike

We arrived to a beautiful black sand beach and cool waters.  It was great to cool off in the water.  There was a small tiki under a bougainvillea bush too.

Baie Colette Success

Baie Colette Success

Tu Hiva Tiki

Fort Madison was established in 1813.  In 1842 it received military headquarters, barracks, a warehouse, a powder magazine to add to the seven cannon guns.  The French take over the fort in 1842 but then abandon it in 1859.  The Catholic Missionaries take over and turn it into a school and then a hospital.

Fort Madison in Nuku Hiva

Fort Madison in Nuku Hiva

At the fort, overlooking the baie is the Tiki Tuhiva.  It is known to be the highest contemporary sculpture in the Pacific.  It has an iron structure which is completely covered with shotcrete coated with “keetu” (a reddish volcanic tuff used by Marquesan stone carvers.

The woman tiki is 12 meters high and the warrior is 8 meters tall.  It took six months and six people to erect both statues.  The warrior Tuhiva steps forward to master his future with the ancestral strength inherited from “Woman Tiki” the warden of tradition and knowledge.

Tu Hiva Tiki

Tu Hiva Tiki

Another smaller version of the tiki was found on the Fort grounds as well.

Tu Hiva Tiki

Tu Hiva Tiki

Celebrating Year Wedding Anniversary – 14 years

Matt and I enjoyed a day at the Keikahanui Pearl Resort to celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary.  It was a bit of a splurge for us, but we enjoyed every minute.  We enjoyed a very tasty lunch and several bottles of rose while lounging at their pool and using their wifi.  What a great day!

Lunch on our Anniersary

Lunch on our Anniversary

 

We had so much fun hanging out at the pool, drinking rose and enjoying the beautiful day.

Celebrating 14 years together

Celebrating 14 years together

A funny picture of a young boy carrying his chickens around town.

A boy and his chickens

A boy and his chickens

We have been busy here.  

  • Refueled boat (both diesel and gasoline)
  • Filled both dive tanks
  • Topped up propane tanks
  • Did several loads of laundry
  • Water tanks topped off
  • Provisioned the boat
  • Fixed our jib sail
Sail repair

Sail repair

Drone Shots:

Matt took some great shots of the Tu Hiva Tiki with the drone

Tu Hiva Tiki

Tu Hiva Tiki

Aerial photo of the anchorage and the tiki.

Nuku Hiva Anchorage

Nuku Hiva Anchorage

Sugar Shack siting by herself being unsociable.

Sugar Shack in Nuku Hiva

Sugar Shack in Nuku Hiva

 

Nuku Hiva

The Mountainous Islands of Marquesas

What a change of scenery!  It was so nice to wake up to tall, sweeping mountains against a brilliant blue sky.  Of course, I was still partially asleep being we just set the hook 4 hours earlier.  The mountain sides are not particularly green and lush in Baie Taiohae, but they are pretty.  Welcome to the Marquesas.

Most cruising boats plan to arrive to this archipelago when traveling from Panama and Galapagos.  It is a direct route with typically good winds allowing for an 18-30 day passage.  Number of days depends on the boats, sail trim, and wind obviously.  The cruisers we know that have made this passage tended to complete it in 25-28 days.  The exception was Barry with Adventures of an Old Sea Dog who took over 70 days as a single handler. 

Most of our cruisers friends stopped at the Marquesas first.  We, however, have never been here before.  As you might recall, we arrived in the Gambiers when entering French Polynesia.  So, these beautiful and majestic islands are all new to us!

The Marquesas Archipelago

There are five major islands, but a total of 15 that make up the Marquesas archipelago. The major islands include Nuka Hiva, Hiva Oa, Ua Pu, Fatu Hiva, and Ua Huka.  The first settlement was in AD 900-1,000 by Polynesians.  It wasn’t until 1526 that it was later “discovered by the Spanish.  Today, over 9,400 inhabitants populate the Marquesas islands.

Marquesas Archipelago

Marquesas Archipelago

The Marquesas suffered a great population decline from endemic diseases carried by Western explorers.  The indigenous people suffered high rates of mortality as they had no immunity to the new diseases.  The population was reduced from 78k inhabitants to about 20k by the middle of the nineteenth century.  By the turn of the 20th century, the population was further reduced to just over 4k.  By 1926, it was a measly 2300 inhabitants. Shortly thereafter, the population took a turn and slowly increased to 8,500 in 2002 and finally to 9,400 in 2017.

In contrast to the other Polynesian islands, the Marquesas are all volcanic and high islands (except Motu One).  With steep volcanic mountains that plunge straight into the ocean.  They are also very dry islands, unlike its sister Polynesian islands that are lush and flowing with tropical vegetation.  View of Baie Taiohae the morning after we arrived.

Mountains of Nuku Hiva

Mountains of Nuku Hiva

The Marquesas’ islands are not surrounded by a protective fringing reef which is another difference between the archipelagos.  Coral is only found in one place in the Marquesas.  Coral is at the top of the island Fatu Huku, a rather strange location. 

Different from the Tuamotus

These islands suffer from frequent drought conditions because of their prevailing easterly winds that spawn from the Humbolt Current.  This has led to historical fluctuations in water supply, which have played a crucial role in the sustainability of human populations in certain sections of the various islands throughout the archipelago.

The islands range in age.  Fatu Hiva is the youngest island at 1.3 million years old and Eiao is the oldest island at 6 million years old. 

The Marquesas islands also known as Henua Enana, land of men has created a race of strong people of immense pride and fascinating culture.  The islands are full of natural wonders including 305 meter (1000’) waterfalls that cascade down volcanic cliffs and towering mountains.