Nuku Hiva

Nuku Hiva:

The next day, we sailed 6 hours to Taiohae on the island of Nuku Hiva. This is the biggest town in the Marquesas, with a whopping population of 3000. It's another stop where new comers can check in with customs, and there's an incredible couple there (Kevin and Anabella) running a yacht services business for boat repairs, cleanings, internet, laundry, etc. So needless to say, a lot of our fellow sailors were anchored there too.

Here, we bid farewell to Connie who was off to start her own adventure through the islands. We hope the rest of her journey is as full of wonder and excitement as the first part was!

We were also there to pick up a package full of boat parts that had crossed heaven and hell to get there from Seattle. Unfortunately, it's journey wasn't quite complete yet. So we set off to circumnavigate Nuku Hiva while we waited.

Our first stop was Daniel's Bay - a beautiful, calm anchorage surrounded by towering mountains and rocks. Interestingly for "Survivor" fans, this was actually where the reality show was filmed way back in 2001. We were avid Survivor watchers back then, so we couldn't help imagining where the participants might have camped, cooked, plotted to vote people out of the "tribe"... etc. Today, I also can't help but think about the complexities of Marquesan culture that I'm sure the show must have appropriated for entertainment purposes.

In any case, this was another one of our favorite anchorages, largely due to the waterfall hike (yes... another one) that lead us through beautifully planted gardens with all sorts of bright colorful fauna (many of which Captain Diana pointed out, are house plants back home), and up through a spectacular jungle. Even better, was the family we ate lunch with on the way back. The friendliest people, they made us an incredible meal of taro, papaya salad, and mango ice cream. And we bought bags and bags and bags of fruit from them. We are never ever lacking in fruit on this boat.

After a couple nights there, our next stop was a bay on the other side of the island known for being incredibly calm. This one also had several hikes, but we took the kayaks and just took the shortest hike to a nearby bay - a beach with lots bizarre looking crabs. They looked like cartoon versions of crabs - like Mr. Krabs from Spongebob... we also noticed a baby goat enjoying the waves on a rock next to the sea, many bright blue jellyfish tentacles on the beach after my toe got stung. Here we also saw several tiny black tipped sharks as we tide pooled in the shallow water. This was our first shark spotting, although we've been told they're just everywhere out here.

After that, we were back to Taiohae again to pray for our package's safe arrival. We hoped to be there for just a day or two... provisioning for the crossing to the Tuomotos, fueling up, and getting our parts and a mechanic to install them. These hopes were a bit naive though. Our package turned out to be held up in customs in Tahiti, being charged 50%+ taxes on the imported items. Then, we had to beg our agent to get it on a plane to us ASAP, because I had a flight out of the Tuomotos, and it would be nice to actually get to visit them for a day or two. It was supposed to arrive on Friday... and then Saturday... then Sunday... and finally actually showed up on Monday (and we left immediately afterwards). Captain Diana was photographed hugging the delivery man.

But we made the most of our days waiting for the package. Almost an entire day was needed to physically go the the gas station on land and bring back 45 gallons of diesel to the boat. We had to siphon it into the fuel tanks... a nasty process involving blowing air into the can to create pressure that sends the gas through a hose and into the tank...occasionally I got a face full of diesel, and I had quite the headache afterwards. We also found a hardware store, and the right hosing to fix one of our toilet problems - another instance in which Captain Diana nearly hugged the sales man.

Lastly, I found the time to get a Marquesan tattoo - a favorite thing to do among many visitors, because tattoos here are among the most intricate in the world. The art of tattooing supposedly started in Polynesia, and it's still a huge part of their culture today. Nearly every local has at least one, and it's not uncommon at all to come across someone who's tattooed the whole right or left half of their face, or back. The designs are all geometrical, and a huge book at the tattoo shop describes the symbolic meanings of the most common ones. I chose to have the symbol meaning "group of humans" placed in a tiny hidden spot just under my hairline. I liked that the symbol for humans is so abstract, and could represent any ethnicity, so I like to think of it as meaning "humans of the world being one group." My tattoo artist also pointed out that since I got 5 of them,
they can also represent the 4 badass women who crossed the ocean on Arctic Loon, and of course, Arctic Loon herself!

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