For nearly four weeks I was able to join the voyage of Tua-Lisa. Maria and Modris welcomed me warmly aboard their cozy boat. Since departing from Stockholm about 2,5 years ago they have sailed their vessel through northern Europe, across the Atlantic to Brazil and then all the way around the southern end of the continent before crossing the Pacific from Chile to the Marquesas. Together with their Chilean stray dog Preta, we got to explore the beautiful island of Tahuata.
Tahuata is the smallest inhabited island in the archipelago with a population of only around 600 people. In 1595 the first western expedition led by Spaniard Álvaro de Mendaña landed in Tahuata after discovering Fatu Hiva by pure chance. Mendaña apparently named the islands Las islas del Marques Don Garcia Hurtado de Mendoza de Cañete, after his sponsor, the viceroy of Peru and Marquise of Cañete.
After a short two-hour sail from Hiva Oa, we anchor in the picture perfect bay of Hana Moe Noa in the northwest of Tahuata. The Marquesan name translates into “Bay of the long sleep”. White sand beach, turquoise colored water and palm trees: The stuff dreams are made of…
It is here that we come up with the idea of creating a new anchorage guide for cruisers visiting the Marquesas. With two graphic designers, one photographer and one meteorologist, we seem to have all the needed expertise on board. Being an enormous project though, the guide would mean sharing the small space of Tua-Lisa with three people and a dog for a very long period of time. After experimentally proceeding with the idea for a few weeks, Maria and Modris decide that it is too big a commitment for them and the guide remains an exiting idea.
Just around the corner from Hana Moe Noa, we spent a few days in a little double bay called Iva Iva. There is just enough space for one boat at a time, which is quite nice if you’re looking for superb serenity.
A few bays further we anchor in Tahuatas biggest village. Vaitahu is located in a green valley and bursts of nice locals and ripe fruit. While the locals keep supplying us with fresh fruits, we eat very healthy and almost for free. Remarkable is also the town’s church, a fine piece of architecture combining antique elements with a modern tropical note.
While the Aranui 5 is anchored in town, we call the captain of this unusual combination of cargo vessel and cruise ship and ask if we could come aboard. The reaction is very friendly and a few minutes later we are given a proper tour of the whole ship.
Our last anchorage before returning to Hiva Oa is Hapatoni, famous for its many bone carvers and a lively culture. I’m continuously impressed with the openhearted locals who seem to have a smile on their face all the time.
After three weeks we sail back around to Hiva Oa, where our paths will separate again. It was a great experience to live and sail on a simplistic boat like Tua-Lisa in comparison to my experiences on Elandria.
My time with Maria and Modris made it clear to me, that it is possible to circumnavigate the planet with a boat the size and cost of my motorhome in New Zealand. Clearly such a journey comes with risks and uncertainties, but isn’t this sort of lifestyle intended to be an adventure and the essence of such to thrill and challenge yourself?