Chocolate waterfall

After the struggle to get our anchor back on the boat, we did make the 140+ nautical mile journey to our next destination with ease. With ideal sailing conditions through that day, night, and the following morning we couldn’t have asked for a better sail. Heck, even the local pod of dolphins came to see us on our way early on. Just a single overnighter brought us to our fourth island in the Marquesas.

Originally, my route had us skipping right past this one, but Kerri informed me it was one of the must-see places, so we went to go see.

Ua Pou is the island, Hakahetau is the village. As we were still approaching I realized just how magical of a place this would be. Those spires could be seen a dozen miles out, and they commanded your eyes to look at them. The spires stand guard over the village, sometimes out in the open, sometimes behind a shield of clouds as if hiding. But once seen, you never forgot they were there watching over all… seriously.

The village was quaint, yet again. Small shacks housed each family, each barely walled or roofed but worked in this tropical climate. In fact, the more holes you have in your house, the better to let the breeze in to chase off the humidity that traps inside. The concrete “dock” to land the dinghy left a lot to be desired. It was six feet tall and the swell was uninterrupted in the small harbor. Kerri and I had to tie up our little dinghy then climb a ladder to get on top of the concrete and to shore, all while the ocean surged us up and down a random amount of feet between zero and four.

Once ashore the village was not our primary reason to stop here. Instead we were here to follow a hot, muddy jeep trail leading out of town and up one of those hillsides which held a spire at the top. After an hour or so of walking we came to a branch off to a foot trail. This one would lead us to our destination; another glorious fresh water waterfall. We immediately stripped off our packs and jumped in the cool water. Even though it had been a mere few days since our last fresh water bath, after the hike up here another was very much in need.

Once we were sufficiently waterfalled out we dressed and re-applied our insect repellent. This is where Kerri informed me (yes, she tricked me again!) that we would be going to the chocolate guy, “on the road, just past the trail split. These were the words Kerri got from a review on some social media thing. I’m not much a social media guy, and I rarely – if ever – read reviews (mostly because I do not care what other people think of a place). “Just past the split” in the real world meant three quarters of a mile, uphill, in the mud and humidity of the jungle. A mile and a half addition to the advertised hike distance for the day. This AFTER we had just cooled and cleaned off. Now, I do not mind extra short distance, but I become quite a grumpy guy when said distance is surprised upon me. And it really ticks me off when the supriser can’t read an elevation map to save her life. “Only 600 feet high” means one hell of a steep grade. It was a heated walk to say the least.

Nevertheless, we arrived at the farm of the Chocolate Guy, Manfred. A Dutch man that came here decades ago, he grows his own coco on his farm and makes his own chocolate from it. Advertisements in the form of hand painted signs beckon visitors to his place started in town. None mention the elevation gain. Manfred welcomed us and brought us to an outside bar. Here he began to tell us his *entire* history as a small tub of chocolate bars was set out in front of us. The dogs took up position to be pet while we listened. In the end we bought a kilo or two of chocolate before leaving his farm. Neither Kerri or I are all that big into chocolate.

We hung around the anchorage longer than we wanted. In total it was six days. This because the wind outside was blowing hard again. Our next adventure was only a few hours away, but neither of us wanted to do it in a gale. So we waited, and waited, and waited. Meanwhile the anchorage itself grew increasingly rolly. Meriwether kept her side pointed at the constant swell, ensuring we would roll 30 degrees one direction to 30 degrees the other. All day and night. Every day and night. So we finally got the heck outta there at first not-gale weather conditions… the spires still attracting my eyes far after we left the swelly bay.

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3 Responses

  1. Rob says:

    It’s amazing to me when I see rocks worn away like the spires are & think about how long that must have taken.
    A 30° roll! That had to be uncomfortable, I hope things are better for you now.

  2. Trent says:

    Great story!

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