Location: Nuku Hiva, Marquises

We moved 5 miles up the coast and anchored in a cove surrounded by cliffs. Most of us went to shore for a hike, except the students who had signed up to get rescue diving qualifications. The hike turned into one of the best days of the trip so far. The divers had a good day, too, and an adventure involving a dead goat they tried to bring back for dinner (didn’t happen).

The hike was amazing. On the way to the waterfall, we passed a little house with several people out front. A woman came up to the fence and told us we could eat here after our hike for 10 dollars a person, and she was so kind and happy, and the food sounded so great that we agreed, and that was exactly what we did. She served us goat and pork and fried banana cakes and ginger something salad, and it was so good. The hike itself was absolutely astounding. The pictures don’t do it justice. We had to wade across a river at one point, and Tom went first, took a few steps, looked down, yelled, and dashed out of the water. An eel as thick as an anaconda and about 3 feet long slithered after him. It came over to the side of the water and watched us, completely unafraid, like it was waiting for us to get in. We crossed the river. No casualties.

Back on the boat, there was theatrics abound as students played both rescuer and rescuee in the most dramatic of fashions.

It was a great, exhausting day, and now we have a class to prepare for tomorrow’s passage, which the students are going to lead (because the staff made it so; we haven’t mutinied).