Location: Hakahetau Bay, Ua-Pou, Marquesas

Hello everybody, everywhere.

Yesterday James described the dramatic backdrop of our anchorage on Ua Pou as a movie set. Today, the cast landed ashore, and the movie was played out.

We spoke to a very friendly local gentleman yesterday afternoon while he kindly allowed us to paddle his traditional canoe. My French is awful, but I thanked him for his gesture and offered him a new pair of Crocs in return. He was very friendly, and it was Mr. Croc that planted the seed of an idea in our head that there was a trail that would lead to the volcanic mountaintops in the clouds and that he could take us there. As if the idea of an adventure on a remote Pacific island wasn’t enough to entice us, he was really friendly too. In my mind, we had little hope of resistance at this point, especially me, who had recently picked up a machete, should have such an opportunity as this arise.

Over breakfast, it was decided that we should stay here one last day. We went ashore after a lively landing. It was deemed too hazardous to dock the dinghy due to the swells rolling into the bay. Everyone was briefed that they would be swimming ashore as we could not risk damaging the dinghy. No challenge for our well-drilled and, in most cases, fairly well-coordinated crew at this point in the trip. Once ashore, we found a large sign in a very prominent place just past the small harbor. The picture showed a trail that would supposedly take us in a loop over the ridge (as seen in yesterday’s canoe picture) and back down to the harbor. The sign was even translated into English. Total estimated hiking time 4hrs. Perfect.

The confidence was high. We took sensible footwear. We had drinks. We had sunscreen. We had pictures of the map on the board. We were super prepared, or so we thought.

It turns out that the map was perhaps dated. I doubt the hike is on Trip Advisor because the past people to attempt it has probably not yet returned to give their reviews.

Dated is a very polite description. Perhaps the map actually showed the intended hiking route that they wish to build in the near future. Either way, it made for one great adventure.

There was fruit everywhere you looked today. Coconuts the size of bowling balls to keep our thirst quenched and our wits sharp as we followed the ‘trail’ beneath them.

I’m not sure if rosettes are as highly prized in the Pacific islands and they are in England. But I am sure these giant coconuts would certainly win first place in the show.

It appears that the secret to the perfect coconut seems to be good sunlight and, as seen today, a huge amount of rain.

My aching legs and bruised toes will attest to the fact that making movies is hard. Hard yet extremely rewarding work. The Marquesas have been a great place to spend some time.