Thursday, May 21, 2015

Ua Pou

We sailed to the small island of Ua Poa that lies to the north west of Tahuata and south south west of Nuka Hiva. The island has beautiful volcanic spires and dramatic mountains. We anchored in the small harbour of Hakahau and enjoyed the lovely town with its well kept buildings and the houses with gardens full of fruit and flowers.

We met Xavier, a Frenchman who has lived in the Marquesas for 14-15 years. As a way to meet people, Xavier offered "island tours" to cruisers. With Lauri and Chuck from Free Spirit, we piled into Xavier's old SUV and drove through the mountains, across small rivers, down into valleys and to coves and beaches. We drove south 2/3rds along the east side of the island, as far as the road went, to the village of Hohoi. Then we turned west and went up and over the centre spine of the island. We were able to hike up along a ridge near one of the volcanic spires for excellent views of both the west and east sides of the island. We had a picnic lunch at the bay in the village of Hakatao on the southwest of the island.

Everyone in Ua Pou was waiting for the French Polynesia cruise ship Aranui to arrive. The ship not only brings about 120 tourists to the island but it also brings much needed supplies - food, construction material, fuel, etc. The day the cruise ship arrived, the market was overflowing with artisans and there was music and dancing. Most importantly, that afternoon the grocery stores were full! We fully provisioned with tomatoes, lettuce, onions, even frozen beef bourguignon from France.