Man-o-war in the shorts / heart of courage
After a dinner with Joel and Teaki huddled between the outriggers in the school, I left the next morning for the last island, Nuku Hiva. I was afraid I was going to face many rough hours but it turned out to be a perfect, fast crossing. After less than six hours I came into the bay of Hakaui on Nuku Hiva. This was pure Marquesas. You come in the bay almost downwind with a heavy swell and waves breaking quite close. Again it was an exciting entry, but at least it was during the day! The further you come around the point the calmer it gets and then you enter a lush green valley with a distant waterfall in the back. I beached my board on the black sand beach and walked over to a few locals who were working on their hut. Soon the two owners of the valley became interested to see what just paddled into their bay. I asked permission to put up my tent for the night and in turn they had many questions about how I travelled and where I had been. It is funny throughout the islands that they said that I had a ‘heart of courage’, and so did they, which made me instantly bond with them. They offered me some huge mangos and pomelos which I happily accepted.
In the afternoon I hiked to the waterfall in the back of the valley. Once, more than 10,000 people lived in this valley before the westerners came bringing illness and death. Now, there are only twelve people left. The valley is full of fruit trees and palms, one can easily understand why you’d want to live here in such a perfect valley, both then and now.