8 nautical miles along from Hiva Oa is the island of Tauhuata. This really is the place to go for some R&R in the Marquesas. The main draw initially (after Heave..Oh! see previous post) was the sheltered bay, but there was more to it besides… a beautiful beach of golden sand and one of the few places in The Marquesas with stretches of coral that are wonderful for snorkelling. The Marquesas are much younger islands and so coral reefs are not so prevalent as they are in the rest of Polynesia.
Cruising myths abound about the owner of the land behind the beach, a no-go area. Some have it that this young guy, reckoned in his 30s, is doped on hash when he is there, which accounts for erratic and surly moods should he be approached, others that he ran off with a wife of a cruiser and so is on the defensive, others still make a link to the news a few years back about a girl left behind when her boyfriend went on a hike with a local one day and was never seen again. Actually that last story, I’ve since learned, has relocated to Daniel’s Bay in Nuku Hiva (post to follow on that anchorage). Still, a love triangle?! We did see a white woman, clearly not a cruiser (smartly dressed, no dinghy on the beach, where did she come from?), early one morning walking up and down the beach. I have since heard that the guy is a troublemaker that the community want to see in prison, but don’t have sufficient evidence, so instead banish him here.
The tale he told to some French friends was that he started a beach restaurant a while back, cooking up feasts for cruisers, but they would take advantage of him and steal his coconuts, as it were. Now, he imagines yachties are there to rob him of his livelihood harvesting copra (coconut husks for oil), and is simply defending his territory, ne touchez pas mes arbres!
Ah, but I can see why he would want to defend the paradise that is Hanahevane Bay. It was a joy to be able to swim from the boat and snorkel over to the coral, drifting along wondering at all the multi-colour fish, sighting the shadow of the odd reef shark in the distance. We arrived in the bay just in time for a barbecue on the beach with a dozen other cruising boats, all celebrating crossing the Pacific in one piece, and also to celebrate birthday of Megan, Isabelle’s dear friend from RAFTKIN. We chopped up driftwood, roasted marshmallows on the fire and Isabelle swears she saw the fabled green flash as the sun set.
Meanwhile Christian from SHAWNIGAN (see afamilyafloat.com) had a fright on a night free-dive, looking for lobster by the rocks underneath their boat, when a sea serpent shot out, undulating towards him at full throttle. Well, what would Eden be, without the odd snake?!
Drone footage below, with a little Jacques Brel from the album "Les Marquises":