Saturday, April 20, 2013

Nuku Hiva expats, Best Marquesas anchorages

April 20, 2013
Position: 09°54.45'S 139°06.19'W
Baie Hanamoenoa, Tahauta, Marquesas, French Polynesia, South Pacific

After a month in the wonderful bays around Nuku Niva, we were beginning to feel like expat locals. Henri at the end of the quay makes the best 'possion cru' (raw tuna with coconut cream, lime juice, tomatoes and cucumbers), Mahina loves to belt out songs on his Ukelle and serves up some mean 'steak frite', early mornings on Wednesday and Saturday are the only times to get fresh lettuce at the vegetable market and for those staying a while, Sedrik at Magasin Larson can special order almost anything. It's not often we stay anywhere long enough to 'do it all', but after hiking every trail, viewing every waterfall, riding horses on the beach, watching numerous dance practices and performances, eating at every restaurant and shopping at every shop, swimming with mantas, circumnavigating the island by car and under sail we've come pretty close to doing it all on Nuku Hiva. Icing on the cake came in the form of fishing aboard an 80' sport fisher with our friends Terry, Bonnie and Paul and wonderful meals with the whole crew including our Philippine friends Renee, Bong and Nap. Another 'a la mode' moment was Dave catching a 46 pound yellow fin tuna from the dinghy in Taiohae bay.

After a few false starts we tore ourselves away from Nuku Hiva and sailed down to Hiva Oa to rendezvous with a few friends whom had just arrived from Mexico and Darwin's Galapagos islands. We pulled off the 80nm inter-island sail in daylight with some vigorous 8-10 knots sailing to weather in boisterous trade wind conditions. After an overnight in Hanamenu we sailed for Atuona catching a beautiful and tasty 15 pound yellow fin tuna which made for some great sushi and sashimi to share with our friends. Anchoring at Atuona on Hiva Oa perfectly defines the term 'over crowded anchorage', so we caught up with friends, went for a 9 mile hike, bought some baguettes and then immediately sailed for Tahauta. Baie Hanamonena, Tahuata with it's white sand beach and clear waters is definitely one of the top five best anchorages in the Marquesas and since every one's been asking here are our top picks.

Fatu Hiva
-Hanavave (bay of Virgens) - Great scenery, hikes and clear waters for diving, but the rocky, tight, deep anchorage is subject to gusty winds).
-Baie Hanamoenoa - white sand beach, clear waters, palm trees, great holding.... paradise found.

Ua Pou
-Hakahau -Disney land skyline, easy access to town, few cruisers, hikes, but stern anchor required.

Nuku Hiva
-Taiohae - Easy access to town shops and restaurants and great hikes to archeological sites.
-Hakatea (Daniel's Bay)- Unforgettable waterfall hike, white sand beach, friendly inhabitants like tatu covered Teheke.
-Anaho - White sand, tons of hikes, remote, coral, calm anchorage, clear water, our #1 favorite.

That's it for now.

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