(Bay of Virgins, Hanavave, Fatu Hiva, Marquesas, French Polynesia)
I was going to say every chart book, but that makes it sound like we have more than two, so both chart books that we have for the South Pacific toot the walk between Fatu Hiva’s two villages as a must do. After visiting Omoa last weekend and since hearing other cruiser’s harrowing tales of the walk, we had kind of crossed it off our to-do list. We weren’t willing to spend the $60 dollars for a 10 minute dinghy ride and were even less keen to do the two-way 34 km venture necessary.
In comes my problem solving boyfriend! He still hasn’t quite figured out that Saskatchewan girls and sharks don’t mix, but he does know that walking in one direction for more than 41 feet can make me a very happy camper. So as a solution he proposed we dinghy down to Omoa and begin walking from there, while Roger and Sasha begin the trek at our anchorage village of Hanavave. We high-five at the middle and drive each others dinghies home. One of those win-win situations.
And a win-win it was. The 17 km hike was a towering and tremendous trek. The pictures we shot do no justice to the scale and depth of the views our lofty positions offered us. Starting at the north end of the road, the initial climb had us sweating and huffing as we quickly gained elevation and perspective. This area of the island was dense with tropical jungle. Palms, Mango, and other trees crowded in every inch of the valleys and mountain sides we saw. It was like looking out over a luxurious blanket you wanted to run your hand across.
After meeting Roger and Sasha, crossing over to the south side of our stroll, it was incredible the way the landscape abruptly changed. A combination of the elements saw the views changing from luscious rainforest to grassy highlands. We were met with rolling, green hills and wide open panoramas.
The closer we got to Hanavave the higher I realized we were. The view down to the anchorage were Oceanna happily sat was outstanding, though it was the sight of cross on a lower hilltop that had me baffled. This large wooden cross is visible from the village streets and seems to be at a beyond lofty height. Now though, I was looking down at it. It was easily halfway down from our current position to town. There was no denying it, we were high in the hills.
As we began our screaming descent the dirt road changed to steep, concrete switchbacks. Bracing down the road we were struck with one final, staggering sight. The 200 foot waterfall that dwarfs you in its presence was now a mere blip in our grand vista. Set in among the green curtains, it fell silently so far away.
With crushed toes from our endless descent we returned to Oceanna with heavier legs than expected. A big day already on the books we still had our date with Temo to get to! We loaded up our tradable items, met up with the returned Roger and Sasha, and joined our indispensable interpreters, and friends, Paul and Sundy.
Three hours later we walked home pleased and happy. Not only had we had a great time hanging out with Temo and his family, we had made some wonderful trades. I had traded a random array of items with the ladies for five pieces of tapa artwork, one flower crown, and an embarrassment of local fruit. It’s amazing what flip flops, frying pans, bathing suits, pillows, and hats can get you. I also brokered a deal to exchange a headlamp for two bottles of delectable local honey.
Greg had brought in a plethora of fishing and spearing gear. The latter of which Temo was extremely excited about. Temo was already the owner of three spearguns, although all three were busted. So after careful consideration on Temo’s part, he agreed to exchange three magnificent wood sculptures for one of Greg’s unused spearguns and repairs to two of own. Greg busted out his tools and replaced the rubbers on his guns under the careful, helpful watch of Temo. He also exchanged a brand new spear to replace a missing one of Temo’s.
It was a wonderful experience made possible by the patient and invaluable interpretation of Paul and Sundy. We were excited to return tomorrow to visit more during the pig roast. Which reminds me of one last exchange we were able to make. One old wetsuit of Gregory’s was happily gained in return for the price of our meals for tomorrow night.