July 7-10, 2012
|Silhouette at anchor in Anaho Bay|
I held my breath in disbelief as we rounded the entrance
into Anaho Bay. I could see no other sailboat masts, but the most protected
part of the anchorage still lay hidden behind a small point. As we came around
the point---I couldn’t believe it---there were still no other sailboats! We had
an anchorage---a huge, beautiful one at that---all to ourselves for the first
time I could remember on this voyage. Patrick seemed to remember a night in
Ensenada Grande, back in the Sea of Cortez, where we had the anchorage to
ourselves for one night.
Anaho Bay is drop-dead gorgeous. Its massive rock wall,
fluted basaltic spires, and deep green bring to mind a Marquesan Yosemite or
what one might see in the South China Sea:
only in the South China Sea, the geography would be dotted with
monasteries instead of palm trees.
|Massive basalt wall in Anaho Bay|
When I say we had the anchorage to ourselves, I do not mean
the bay is uninhabited---just that there were no other sailboats. A few
villagers live in Anaho and while we were there, a camp was in session for
school children on holiday. Not many people live in Anaho Bay because the only
access is by boat or horseback: There is
no road connecting Anaho to the rest of the island.
|Polynesian home in Anaho village|
The walking path running along the beach was beautifully
maintained and landscaped.
|Landscaped walking path|
|Falling coconuts are a serious hazard for travelers in the tropics|
|A unique combination of cactus and coral garden |
At low tide, I saw my first sea snakes in the shallow water
along the beach in Anaho Bay! These sea snakes were less than a foot long, so
they were not too intimidating. Their pattern reminded me of a corn snake, except
their skin was lavender and white instead of rust or ochre. Most sea snakes are
venomous, but the ones in the Marquesas reportedly have teeth to small to
puncture your skin---and judging by their shyness---they wouldn’t come close
enough to bite you anyway.
|Low tide in Anaho Bay-coral reef visible just under the water|
Although the visibility again wasn’t as good as we’d read,
there was wonderful snorkeling in Anaho Bay. (There seemed to be a huge
plankton bloom in the water while we were there, as well as runoff from rain,
both factors which may have affected the visibility.) One of the nice aspects
about snorkeling in Anaho Bay is that the reef is at the head of the bay, not
along the sides like at Hanamoenoa or other beaches in the Marquesas, so you
can snorkel without constantly fighting the surge. The best snorkeling I found
was on either side of the small boat channel (a convenient pass where coral
doesn’t grow due to freshwater ingress). At low tide, you can float over the
reef in three to six feet of water, watching the multitude of fish going about
their business in the coral. There were some massive coral formations in Anaho
Bay: one, which I liked to call the
“wedding cake coral.” It consisted of many tiers which the fish were constantly
darting in and out of. There were also more invertebrates in Anaho than we’d seen
elsewhere in the Marquesas: fist-sized
top snails with mother-of-pearl shells, a type of box crab, and three or four
different species of sea urchins (all huge!)
On the beach, there were more of the
burrowing crab we’d seen at Hanamenu.
From Anaho Bay, we launched excursions to the two
neighboring bays. We walked over the mountain in the old way to the village of
Hatiheu (most people either take a boat around ride on horseback today.) From
the pass between the two villages, we were able to get a panoramic view of the
|View of Anaho Bay from the pass-Silhouette is a speck in the left lobe|
|Pandanus trees on the way into Hatiheu|
Hatiheu was a beautiful seaside village with a bit of a
European feel due to its benches facing the sea and the artwork along its
waterfront. The village was guarded by some striking sentinels of its own.
|A cow hide being dried in the village|
|Arrival at the seaside village of Hatiheu|
|Spires guarding the entrance to Baie Hatiheu|
On the spire at the far left in the above photo, you can barely see a white speck. This white speck is a statue of the Virgin Mary that was hoisted 300m to the top of this rock pinnacle. We had also seen a shrine to the Virgin Mary in the rock wall at the entrance to Hanamenu. Here is a closer look at the one from Hatiheu:
|Mary atop a pinnacle|
We specifically came to Hatiheu to view the archaeological
sites in this valley, but they were of a different tone and deserve their own post.
|The road home|
We also walked in the other direction from Anaho Bay to the
nearby bay of Haataivea. Patrick had read that it was a big, open bay full of
flotsam and tried to prepare me for a sight that might not be pretty; but I had
been staring at the bay’s basalt spires since our arrival, and they beckoned to
me. We also thought that we might find some “treasures”---such as pretty shells
or Japanese fishing floats---among the flotsam.
|Patrick on the trail over the mountain|
The valley is expansive and is uninhabited.
first thing we came to was a large vegetable farm. Both traditional Marquesan
crops such as papaya, banana, and taro, were being cultivated here, as well as
those such as eggplant, tomato, and squash, that were suited to more Euro-American tastes. We
wondered if this was where the vegetables for the Saturday market in Taiohae
|Row of papaya trees in vegetable garden|
|Crops of eggplant, squash, taro, and tomatoes|
The beach was enormous and would have been amazingly
beautiful if not for the flotsam.
|Patrick walking in the dunes at Haataivea beach|
Unfortunately, today’s “flotsam” consists of
mostly empty plastic containers: an
unhappy reminder of the problem of plastics in the world’s oceans. Great Pacific Garbage Patch
|Flotsam on the beach|
We only looked for “treasures” on the beach
for about five minutes before hordes of black nonos descended on us, sending us
beating a hasty retreat. Even though my limbs were covered in monoi oil (a
local remedy consisting of a blend of coconut oil and in this case, citronella) with
Deet-containing insect repellant on top of that, I had dozens of the black,
biting bugs all over me. However, something did its job, and the insects
weren’t able to bite me through the thick layers of goop I had slathered all
over my body: The only new bites I got
were on my stomach, where some intrepid dipteran got underneath my clothing. Patrick
(as he had on Hanamenu) once again escaped unscathed, without wearing any insect repellant!
Back in Anaho Bay, the weather had turned squally.
We thoroughly enjoyed our three days and four nights in Anaho Bay, and it was even calm enough in this anchorage for Patrick to get some work done at the masthead.
|Eerie light preceding a squall|
Enjoyed this immensely with my cup of coffee at 5 AM. What a journey guys. I was wondering how many thngs they might have made out of the cow hide.ReplyDelete
not Haataivea, actually HaatuatuaReplyDelete
Does your correction refer to the bay, the valley, or both? Thanks for commenting.ReplyDelete