(By sat phone)
The backpackers’ guides talk about a wonderful, but strenuous hike from the town of Hatiheu (where there is a pension) to Anaho, one of the most beautiful bays in the Marquesas. The cruising guides on the other hand write about a “not to miss” hike from comfortable Anaho Bay to the friendly, cultural village of Hatiheu, where the anchorage is very rolly. The hike is the same, but the starting point and destination are reversed. The incentive to do this trek also differs: tourists come to Anaho to sit on the beach, relax and swim or snorkel; cruisers walk to Hatihue to buy bread and groceries, and to visit the archeological sites.
Beginning of the trail from Anaho to Hatiheu
Mark and I needed baguettes to make stuffing for Thanksgiving. And, we were ready for some bodily effort and sightseeing again. So, a few days ago, we left early for the steep hike to Hatiheu. Just when we anchored our dinghy in the shallows off the beach, we saw a monstrous catamaran pull into the harbor. Its tender was a serious looking sport fishing vessel, well over our 35 feet. Later on we also saw another dinghy, the tender to the tender. We were looking upon “Hemisphere”, the biggest privately owned catamaran in the world, dwarfing all of us in the anchorage. Mark and I calculated it must be about 140 foot long, since Irie seemed to fit in it four times. We could have been their fun catamaran toy!
S/Y Hemisphere – as big as all of us together!
We followed the path along the bay and turned onto the horse trail to start our hour and half long climb up a pretty steep, but shady hill. Drenched in sweat, we reached the top for a nice view and some welcome breeze. On the way down to the town - the easier and quicker part of the trip – we noticed that the abundant and giant mango trees are starting to drop their fruit. We collected some yellow mangoes in a plastic bag and hid it behind a tree, to be picked up on the way back. Some French cruisers were following us and you never know with them…
Once in Hatiheu, we scouted the village center with its usual church and gazed at the impressive rocky spires protruding at the edge of town. We bought bread and cookies, which we also left behind to avoid extra weight during the rest of our visit. Some friendly locals gave us Marquesan apples to taste. The consistency and flavor had nothing to do with the apples you and I know, but the shape had some correlation, even though its color was pink. It was tasty and juicy nevertheless – a new food to try.
Church in Hatiheu
Another mile or so out of town, up a hill towards the capital Taiohae, we found the spread out ruins of paepae and marae (stone platforms), remnants of the grand Marquesan past. It is the biggest excavated site we have visited so far, and upon the higher terraces we discovered some petroglyphs and full fledge papaya trees. Jack from Anaho was sitting on the ancient rocks, making skirts out of fresh leaves. He performed a bit later with three other male dancers. Their natural stage was one of the platforms, next to a humongous banyan tree. The occasion of the performance was the arrival of about 120 tourists off the cargo ship Aranui III which had docked in Taiohae earlier that day. Tourists for the locals, supplies for us! J
Jack and friends performing a local dance
Hungry without the cookies we bought in the store, Mark and I left the now busy scene, to stop by another - smaller but still quite impressive – archeological site with platforms and tikis. On the way back into the village we found an avocado tree and picked two of the fruits to join the already harvested breadfruit and papayas in our backpack. Loaded with packs of cookies, six (!) long baguettes and heaps of fruit, we scrambled back up and over the steep hill to return to Irie. The trip had been a success with practice for the muscles and replenishing of the fruit net. And, I think our friends of Kril and Iona agreed, after happily accepting “their” French baguettes!
Katie, Leili, Dylan and Chris – happy with our gift of cookies and bread
The spires of Hatiheu
Petroglyphs at one of the ancient sites
Paepae with papaya trees
Rocks used in the past to mix natural paints for tattoos and decorations
Remnants of a tiki at the “big” site
Deteriorated tikis at the “small” site