That southerly wind stayed with us all the way to Nuku Hiva. 24 days from Galapagos to Marquesas, 6 of which we spent becalmed. For the remaining 16 days we averaged 7.2 knots, for dear old Tainui a quite respectable speed.
We entered Nuku Hiva bay at noon. What a joy to drop the hook and just sit. I had wondered whether there would be any other yachts here and was quite astonished to count 40 of them at anchor. Most of them, I discovered, had come up from Tahiti and the Tuamotus fearful of an errant cyclone. In fact there are only a couple of southbound vessels here, but looking about you wouldn’t know it.
The bay is embraced by black sand beaches and splendid volcanic mountains, whose huge cliffs are dripping with rain forest. In geological terms the volcanic activity is obviously recent.
Axel and Sonja have escaped ashore for showers and beds at a local guesthouse, while I have taken to bed on board. Passing rain squalls cool the boat and a splendid absence of those sailing concerns (the risk of an accidental gybe, the need to reef or to tighten the boom foreguy) which prevent restful sleep at sea are things of the past. With Wagner up loud I collapse.
Ashore the little town is extremely relaxed, to say the least. Everyone is large and type 2 diabetes must be thriving here. Cockerels crow, large Polynesian women with flowers in their hair flash broad smiles, cheerful blokes with excellent voices sing to guitar and ukelele accompaniment while surf crashes on black sand beaches. The breeze is gentle and there is mist on the crags. Strange, ancient ceremonial sites lie silent high in the mountains. Grand pine forests and pasture in the highlands are reminiscent of Switzerland.