Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Daniels Bay

I've returned to what has become my home-in-the-Marquesas, Taiohae, once again.  I arrived here from Hakatea, also known as Daniels Bay, which is only four or so miles West of here, yesterday.  I had been waiting for the weather to improve between here and the Tuamotus before starting my passage over there.  The problem was that the winds were too light and from odd directions.  Over the past four or five days the forecasts have been showing an improving trend starting around now, and I plan to leave tomorrow, May 8th, for Kauehi in the Tuamotus.  So, with all the wi-fi that there is in Taiohae, and armed with fresh pictures from my latest little trip, I felt I should update the blog one last time from the Marquesas.

Daniels Bay is yet another absolutely stunning anchorage and valley.

One of the big claims to fame here is that there is a two hour hike up the valley to a waterfall, which is reputed to be the third highest in the world.  I walked the trail to the waterfall twice, its the best hike I've come across in my stay in the Marquesas.  When you get to the base of the waterfall, you can't see very much of it, but can stand in the falling water.  On the approach to the waterfall there is a viewpoint along the way which allows you to see most of the waterfall, and that's cool.  The highlight for me on this hike is the walk itself.  It is absolutely the case where "is the journey, not the destination."  The waterfall is cool.  The walk through the valley is stunning in places.

You start walking through a little village, on a little road which quickly leaves the village and heads down the valley.

The valley is steep on both sides.

Pamplemousse tree.  Pamplemousse is what a grapefruit wants to grow up to be.
Pamplemousse is sold in all of the fruit markets I've been to here.  Its sweeter than grapefruit.  Refreshing on a hot day.  Its usually 100 francs per fruit, around $1.20 USD.

Along the way there is a lot of evidence of the Marquesians who used to live here before the European's arrived and they were almost wiped out with disease.  There are stone walls along paths, stone platforms beneath houses which look suspiciously like they have been there for hundreds of years, and actual ruins further down the trail toward the waterfall.  It would have been awesome to have been in this valley when its population was in the thousands rather then the tens who live here now.  Of course, back then the people were cannibals.  My walking around as a stranger in this valley might have been received differently back then.  The people are super friendly these days.

A view across the valley to the waterfall
About 3/4 of the way up the valley you come to the ruins of an old village.  Its awe inspiring to walk around this place trying to picture what it must have been like back then.

For anybody who may be doing this hike in the future…  The walk up to this point is perfectly obvious.  At this point, you can go wrong.  From the ruins there are three paths.  One heads off to the right and follows the base of the cliffs on the right hand side.  That's not the path you want.  There is also a path on the left which heads down and across the river.  That's not the path you want either.  You want the middle trail, it goes through the ruins, beside the river briefly and then crosses the river to the other side.  After that crossing you will come to a sign warning about falling rocks and the waterfall is fairly close up a narrow canyon.

Finally you come to the base of the waterfall.  The meadows there are stunningly beautiful if the light is right.  If the light is wrong, they are simply beautiful.

From the pools shown, you can swim across, scramble up the rocks, swim another little pool to the base of the waterfall.  If you want to see the views at that point, you are going to have to go for yourselves!

The next blog update will be either on passage to, or from the Tuamotus.

1 comment:

  1. wow an wow! So lovely! Thanks for the update and thoughts about yesteryear. Nice to have an appreciation of the past and the present. Happy sailing. This is so awesome! love, Mum