Thursday, April 30, 2015

Tahuata Island

We pulled into Hanamoenoe bay on the west side of Tahuata Island to find quintessential Polynesia. Green, rugged, volcanic mountain peninsulas are on either side of the entrance to the bay. The water is clear and the waves land on a beautiful white sand beach lined with palm trees. Further back from the beach are grapefruit, lemon, mango and banana trees.

We met Stephen, a local who lives on the beach. He hunts wild pigs and spearfishes. He offered us fresh coconut and grapefruit from his "garden". The day we were leaving, Stephen's dogs caught the scent of a wild pig. He found it, shot it and dragged it to the cliff edge near the beach. Franck, from the catamaran Funambule, and another Frenchman from the catamaran, Jambon et Buerre, took a dinghy to the rocks and Stephen dropped the pig. As the men hauled it to the dinghy, Stephen climbed down and they all took it to Stephen's house on the beach. We know they had a wonderful dinner that night!

We went to Hapatoni bay, a bit further south along the west coast of Tahuata. Spinner dolphins met us at the bay entrance and entertained us each morning and evening that we were anchored in the bay.

We anchored near to the lush, steep shore where we had our own little waterfall running into the sea. The mountains are very high and the top is often covered in cloud. One day it rained. It rained so hard we got a bucket out and washed laundry. It kept raining and we showered outside. We put out pitchers and pots and caught rainwater. After a while, the deck was so clean, we opened the lid to one of our water tanks and let the fresh water flow into it. The best part was the appearance of beautiful high waterfalls that flowed from the top of the mountain for about two days.

The village of Hapatoni is arranged along the edge of the southern bay. There is one road and it follows the curve of the bay. The road is lined with solar street lights, flowers and plants. The houses all have colourful flower gardens and fruit trees. There also seemed to be a lot of curious piglets in the village. We saw the products of two carvers who work with cow bone, wood and the spears from spearfish. They carve intricate tikis, Marquesan crosses, turtles, manta rays, oars, etc.

We had planned to sail further southeast to Fatu Hiva. Unfortunately, after checking the weather for a couple of days and seeing that the winds and swell would be against us, we decided to sail northwest to the island of Ua Poa.