We spent 5 nights at this lovely island, anchoring first in Hakahau Bay, the main village on the island, and then in Hakahetau Bay. The anchorage in Hakahau is small, about 8 boats could fit “comfortably” in the bay. With 8 sailboats already at anchor, we squeezed in close to shore crossing our fingers that our short draft would be forgiving. We were rewarded with front row seats to a wide variety of coastal activities.
The island has only one school, and children from all over the island come and stay in dormitories during the week. Lots of kids bring lots of activity: volleyball, bocce ball, and rowing throughout the day. It's great to see that the tradition of the outrigger canoeing is strong in this community.
Our visit coincided with a holiday, yet another French Polynesia holiday! It seemed everyone in town made their way to the beach for pig roasts, games, and races. The race was sponsored by Air Tahiti and all the kids wore t-shirts displaying the logo. Even the cruiser kids were offered shirts!
As luck would have it, we arrived just before the supply ship, the Aranui, came to town. We were able to resupply with fresh veg and cheeses.
After a short stay, we moved on to a bigger, rollier, and more remote anchorage just to the west. There’s a small village in Hakahetau and most of its residents participate in copra production, the drying of coconuts for sale to large ships.
From this bay, we were closer to the beautiful mountains and hiking of the island. We hiked to a waterfall and couldn’t resist a swim. It was so amazing to get into the cool rainwater pool after swimming in the warm ocean all month. Not only was it refreshing but a nice bath, something cruisers rarely get to indulge in.
Just beyond the trail to the waterfall is the famous german chocolatier, Manfred. Oh, Manfred…he’s the man....the Chocolate man. He’s known by this name throughout the cruising community and by himself, actually. On our way to his place one afternoon, a truck pulled alongside us and an older couple leaned out and said…”chocolate man” asking if that's where we were headed. When we replied ‘yes’, the man said, “I am chocolate man, get in”. And so we did…we got in the backseat of their truck and traveled the bumpy road to his home and chocolate shop. He and his Marquesan wife have lived there for more than 20 years. He created a hydroelectric power system from a local stream to provide power to their home. He planted coffee, fruit, and cacao on the property for the production of his chocolate. He baked homemade bread and raised chickens. We spent an hour chatting with him and listening to his life story. We left with 3 chocolate bars. Three weeks later, as we savored the last few squares, we thought fondly of Manfred and wished for a few more bars.