Sunday, May 30, 2010

Controleur and Daniels (Taioa) Bays

[May 24]

We had a great day in Controller bay. We got up early, to hunt out another archeological site, and after a quick stop to listen to the singing from the church, found our way up the hill to the site. It wasn't very big, but had some of the best tikis we have seen yet. During our ice cream stop in the village, we were offered free mangoes from the trees in the park, and we learned that a local carver lived 'just up the road'. After knocking down a few mangoes, the boys headed back to the boat and the gals checked out the hunky outrigger men on the beach. The races were definitely on island time, and we lingered in hopes of watching the action, but all-too-soon, the boys were back at the beach, and ready to ferry us across the river toward the road to the carver. Once the local kids swimming near by, saw what they were trying to do, they laughed at us, and swam our dinghy across the river, with us ladies able to keep our feet dry. If only we had a parasol! Luckily we had a few Canada pencils, to thank them for their efforts.

We walked for an almost eternity in search of the carvers home. Clearly, this was not 'just up the road'. Although eventually a passer-by took pity on us, and we hopped in their truck for the final push. What we found was extraordinary. He had a dedicated room of his home with carvings, including tikis, bowls, drums, figurines, etc. They were beautiful, and exactly what we had been hoping to find. Decisions were difficult, but we eventually decided on our purchases, and walked away very pleased with the results of our efforts. Luckily, we caught a lift in the school teacher's small car for the ride back to the dinghy. All kids over 15 go to Tahiti for high school, which explains the lack of teenagers running around any of these islands. We also learned there is a small university in Tahiti, but many students go to France for their post-secondary education.

We had heard great things from other cruisers about the anchorage in Daniel's Bay, so we pulled up anchor from Controller Bay, and with a solo outrigger escorting us out, headed back towards to south end of Niku Hiva.

John's lucky green lure proved it's worth yet again and we hooked another Dorado on the way into the bay. It is a sure way to make new friends by entering an anchorage with a fresh fish trailing behind the boat!

There were at least a dozen boats in the anchorage, yet we enjoyed a quiet evening and leisurely morning about Renova. During the afternoon, the crew went ashore to check out the small village, and hike up the Hakaui Valley to the Vaipo waterfall that is the third highest in the world. (I had just received some work via email, so stayed aboard to get in a few hours of quiet time on the computer).

[These two paragraphs written by Amy:]

The hike was incredible, walking along ancient roadways, through streams and steep canyons. Although the waterfall was only a trickle in this unusually dry year, it was still awe-inspiring, with its sheer cliffs rising up hundreds of meters above. The pool at the base was perfect for a refreshing dip, even though we were warned against swimming, due to the possibility of rocks falling from above.

As we returned to the dinghy, we passed through a small village where we met a local woman willing to sell us some of the fruit from her trees. We loaded up with pamplemousse, pineapple, bananas, mangoes, papaya, oranges, lemons, limes, a breadfruit, and some strange apple-like fruit. We got more fruit than we could carry for a few francs and a tube of lipstick. The dinghy was overloaded and riding low to the water when we returned to Renova. (I couldn't believe the bounty that they arrived with!!)

Stuart and Shelia on SV Imagine ( made our afternoon, by offering to fill our water jugs with their watermaker as they had observed that we had been shut down on our attempts to find water nearby. They also treated us a sample of Shelia's delicious Thai Fish Cakes. We now have a new recipe for use onboard Renova.

Kyemaya was here in the anchorage, and wanted to take advantage of John's firemaking skills, and the graham crackers we donated for their s'mores, so we organized a bonfire on the beach and several of the cruising boats joined in the fun. Amy rested on the boat for some R&R (fruit-bartering is exhausting, you know), yet John and Strahan were in fine form as they got a raging fire started without the aid of matches or lighter to the delight of the kids. I think the older boys had more fun than the kids, as they proceeded to hunt, kill, and cook land crabs they found, and dug into fresh coconut and pamplemousse with the ever-useful machete. The other kids were pleased with their s'mores, as were the Euro cruisers who hadn't enjoyed this campfire delight before.

Finally, after accumulating a host of fabulous experiences in the Marquesas, and with a favorable weather forecast, we decided to head back out to sea towards the Tuomotus, a trip of approximately 500 miles. This archipelago, famous for its coral atolls, is vastly different from the high, lush peaks of the Marquesas, and we can't wait to see it. We're looking forward to swimming in the lagoons, and snorkeling and diving at a top notch diving locations!!


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