We spent the last five days on the north side of Nuku Hiva in a bay so picturesque it belongs in a Marquesan tourism brochure. It’s actually accessible only by boat, though, or on foot from neighboring Haitheu Bay. We obviously arrived via the sea after a spectacular sail in which two hours were spent being mesmerized by melon-headed whales swimming and playing at our bow. Not much is known about these whales, except that the eastern side of Nuku Hiva is a resting ground for them, and they have clear white smiles painted on their faces. If we hadn’t read about them, though, and given their small size and resemblance, we would have thought they were dolphins.
There’s not a lot here in Anaho Bay that evidences human settlement, given its challenging accessibility to the general population. There are a few houses, a ‘pension’ with two rooms for guests, a very small church (perhaps 20 x 20 feet), and a coconut plantation. There are no stores, fresh water sources or restaurants.
We’ve been swimming in the tropical aqua colored anchorage so clear that we can see our anchor clearly 30 feet below the surface (and how happy we are to see there is, actually, an anchor there). The way our boat is sitting in the water, we are directly above a coral reef and are greeted every morning by hundreds of fish. We’ve taken walks on the beach and explored tide pools in the black porous volcanic rock at low tide. We’ve snorkeled a lot. We’ve visited with our friends aboard Brittania and Piko, who are also anchored here.
Together with Brittania and Piko. we ventured by foot over the pass between Anaho and Hatiheu Bays, to have lunch at Chez Yvonne in Hatiheu. We had visited Hatiheu on our road trip with our friends from Ceilydh, but from Anaho, it was an hour’s challenging steep climb in the humid sweltering heat and lush jungle forest. The hike, however, was well worth the views.
On our way back, I had trailed the group and missed the sign that showed the turnoff. For more than an hour I walked on the wrong path, lost in the forest – for real. It wasn’t until I got to a 3-pronged fork in the pathway that I realized that this was, for certain, not the way we had come. At that point, I decided to turn around and see if I could find my way back. No one was answering my calls. I was starting to allow myself to think about what I’d need to do to survive for the night in the jungle. But as I made my way back toward the way I had come, I finally heard Michael’s shouts. I wasn’t sure whether to be relieved or angry that no one had waited for me, or turned around to look for me earlier. The experience really freaked me out, but I’m not sure if it was because I was really lost in the forest, or because no one even noticed I was gone for close to an hour. It’s something I’ve been pondering for a couple of days now…
Nonetheless, we picked wild mangoes on the path home until our bags were overflowing. The next day, we decided to have a Mango Party, making as many mango dishes as we could using all this sweet aromatic fruit. Amanda (Brittania) made luscious deserts of mango pie and a spiced tart. I made a curried mango quinoa dish with cucumbers (and a green papaya salad to use up a very green papaya foraged on another hike). Lauren (Piko) had frozen mango ready for smoothies. We shared assorted other dishes and ate like kings.
-Barb, Anaho Bay, Nuku Hiva, Marquesas