June 6 – 13, 2013
Hakatea Bay, Nuku Hiva, also known as Daniel’s Bay, is one of the few Marquesan anchorages that are quite protected from high winds and big swell. As we approached the anchorage, we couldn’t make out the entrance until we were nearly upon it. It looked as though we were going to sail directly into the steep, rocky walls that drop into the water.
As we rounded the corner into the bay, the masts of other sailboats gradually appeared. Our friends on s/v Yindee Plus and s/v Voyageur were already there.
This location in Hakatea Bay was also the location for the TV series Survivor and its season of Survivor Marquesas (2002). This was our second Survivor location we’ve gotten to see since we started cruising. Mogo Mogo in the Las Perlas was the other.
We were warned not to anchor too close to shore because of the nono bugs that come out in the evenings. The nono is comparable to the no-see-ums or gnats that we are familiar with. However, the nono is a hundred times worse. You sort of feel them when they bite, but by the next day, a person can be covered in extremely itchy welts that last for at least 2 weeks. We had read that locals will tell you that these little bugs are fiercer than a lion. Poor Nathalie on s/v Sueño suffered with what we think were nono bites all over every inch of exposed skin. She looked and was extremely miserable.
While we were in Daniel’s Bay, we had plans to tend to some boat chores. The biggest one was repairing and reinforcing the jib. The edges had become tattered during the Pacific crossing. Sue on Yindee Plus loaned her sewing machine, along with some thread and fabric. She happened to have old bimini fabric that was a perfect match to our sail cover.
We spent one day working on the jib. Wil and Sue assisted in getting the sail to the cockpit, so I could work in the shade. Then, Sue showed me the general how-tos of her sewing machine. It needed 240 power, so we ran an extension cord to a 240 volt plug in the engine room. Then, we turned on the generator to supply the 240 power. With the generator running, Wil felt the need to apply more load, so he turned on the air conditioning and the water maker.
As I sat in the cockpit, patching and sewing the jib, Wil and the kids sat inside enjoying the coolness of the air conditioners. Sue stuck around just in case I needed help with her machine, and she had joined the others inside the cool salon. Occasionally, Wil would come out to help me readjust the sail for my next stretch of stitching, or bring out a glass of water to quench my thirst. Then, he would go back inside, press his nose to the glass doors, and look at me as I perspired profusely.
After we had accumulated enough water from the water maker, and in exchange for use of their sewing machine, Chris from Yindee Plus was able to started filling water jugs from our transom shower. We were very happy to be able to help them replenish their water tanks.
There was no shortage of kids in the bay. In addition to Full Monty with 2 kids onboard, we had Sueño (3), Flour Girl (1), Voyageur (1), Yindee Plus (2), MacPelican (1), Sirius (2), Pura Vida (2), and Llyr (3). The ages ranged from 7 to 18 years old. Everyday the kids would swim, play on the beach, or build forts. The beach area was also part of a field of cows. The cows reportedly tried to eat the kids’ fort, and once the kids left for the day, the cows did eat the fort. (We also couldn’t leave dinghies on the beach, or they would be eaten by the cows too!) When news got out that the Kid Armada was in Daniel’s Bay, the non-kid boats probably sailed the opposite direction, and more kid boats showed up.
Our big excursion was a hike to the base of Vaipo Waterfall. At 350 meters, it’s the highest waterfall in French Polynesia. The hike was about 5 hours round trip. Other than river crossings, the trail was fairly simple and not steep at all. However, I managed to break another toe before even stepping off the boat to start the hike! Needless to say, the hike was a little painful for me, but it was well worth the effort.