Especially when it’s windy and waves are crashing on rocks nearby. I have very good sea charts on my iPhone to see where I am how the lay of the bay of Hakahau was. But this one was special – you don’t see the lights of the village until you’re almost passed it. With waves on both sides hitting the rocks and a strong wind from behind, I made it in safely after 18 hours at sea, but I was totally exhausted.
I was tired from being on edge for so many hours and was looking forward to a good sleep, but first I needed to find a good place to put up my tent. On shore I asked a local who owned the Va’a (outrigger) school if it was ok to put up my tent on the beach next to his school. It took me a while to get my land legs back and I went to bed as soon as I blew up my mattress.
The next morning, I quickly made some friends, Teaki and Joel from the outrigger school, invited me over for coffee and eggs – a real treat in a place like this and after a crossing like the day before greatly appreciated. They knew many Tahitian paddlers, so we even had some common friends. For ten weeks a year, the island kids get daily outrigger paddling and swimming lessons. I spoke to the teacher who said that the kids love it as much as he does. For him, the world is still all right in the Marquesas. Far away from all the crowds, chaos, wars and the materialistic world. Everybody here has time for a talk or sit down at the beach and just watch the sun go down. Everyone I had met so far seemed genuine happy, regardless of what they owned.
Although this was the main town of Ua Pou with its dramatic peaks and mountain backdrop, it was a quiet and sleepy island. Other than some sailing boats, not many visit this island, as it is the case for all the islands. I walked the town, talked to the locals and enjoyed the view, but mostly rested.