Monday, July 09, 2007

July 7 - 8, 2007 - Baie de Taioa (AKA Daniel's Bay), Nuka Hiva

We're anchored in a lovely calm anchorage just 5 miles from the main town. Fans of the Survivor Series may recognize it from the season filmed in the Marquesas. To cruisers it is known as Daniel's Bay for the resident who made his water spigot available to them for over 60 years. We came over here on Saturday morning to fill our water tanks - not from Daniel's spigot, rather with our watermaker, which we weren't willing to run in the silty, murky water of the main anchorage.

We're so glad we made the move! This bay is so protected, you can't even see the ocean from where we are anchored. There is no swell in here, and we are sleeping like babies. Even better, there has been some terrific marine life. Saturday afternoon Sten went snorkeling and saw an eel, two turtles and a small black tipped shark. While exploring the bay Sten caught a snapper on a silver metal lure, which turned out to be some of the tastiest grilled fish we've had in some time. Later that afternoon we both saw a shark burst out of the water as it fed on something in the middle of the anchorage. It was brownish, which suggests that it was a bronze whaler, one of the most dangerous breeds. There go my plans to swim in this bay! Then on Sunday afternoon, while hanging laundry to dry on the lifelines, I spotted a manta ray. I was so excited that I couldn't get out any words other than "Sten, Sten, come here, come here." It gracefully floated by the side of the boat, turned up the tips of its wings, which broke the surface of the water approximately 4 feet apart, pirouetted, and came back for another look. It was beautiful.

On Sunday we hiked to the third tallest waterfall in the world. The trail starts out as a road winding past people's homes and their well tended gardens filled with fruit trees and whimsical decorations - like goat skulls. Further on, we passed a few tikis and stone walls suggesting the larger population that once inhabited these islands. Then we came to a river. I was a total sissy about not wanting to get my shoes wet, but after ranging up and down the bank for a bit, eventually I realized there was no getting to the other side without going in up to my knees. If only I had known then that there were a dozen more river crossings ahead . . .

The trail continued into the primordial forest. It was never very steep, but it was often very slick and muddy. Eventually we emerged in a river canyon with completely vertical cliffs at least a 1,000 feet high surrounding us on three sides. At the head of the canyon was the waterfall, the roar of which we could hear from some distance. Ironically, you can't see the waterfall at the end of the trail. To get to the base, you have to swim through a cloudy pool (hoping not to meet the resident eel) and scramble over some boulders. Then you find yourself in a cloud of mist generated from the impact of the water falling 1148 feet from the top of the cliff. We only stayed for a few minutes, because the bugs were swarming, before heading back down the trail.

If any pictures of me ever illustrate this post, you'll notice that I'm wearing long pants and long sleeves - not exactly the outfit you'd expect for a hike in the tropics. These islands are infested with little biting bugs called no no's. Even using antibiotic ointment on the bites, they don't seem to heal. I have a few scars from our last waterfall hike in Fatu Hiva, so I overdressed for this one. Even so, every half hour or so we would stop and hose ourselves down with more bug spray. At the end of the day, I only had 4 new bites. They don't seem to like Sten as much, he hasn't been bitten yet.

No comments: