A Kayak Adventure in the Marquesas

Diving, Hiking, Kayak, Sailing

I am sure you have all been sitting on the edge of your seats for the last several weeks, awaiting this blog about the actual kayak adventure in the Marquesas. As you know, the first post was about the challenges of getting this trip off the ground. This post is about our incredible adventure as we kayaked, hiked, dove and sailed around the Islands. 

Our first adventure of the trip was a hike to a waterfall. But not just any hike, and not just any waterfall. As we began walking along the trail of the valley bottom, we listened with rapt attention as the history of this trail unfolded. This was once a road used by King Te Moana and Queen Vaekehu as they ruled the Marquesas Islands. They were the last King and Queen to rule the Marquesas. The road meandered past many cultural and historical sites, places that came alive with the stories of ages gone by. We passed by numerous Tikki’s, half human half god like creatures, their huge eyes representing the afterlife. They symbolize power, knowledge, wisdom and wealth.  Standing in their presence, with the jungle dense around us and the canyon walls high above us, their presence was felt. 

We grow more and more quiet as the landscape surrounding us draws us into its sublime beauty. Near vertical basalt rock covered in greenery of many varieties grow taller around us the deeper into the heart of the island we hike. The walls above us soar to 400 m, and we soon come upon a picture perfect swimming hole, fed by Vaipo Falls. The top is a spout of water that over the centuries has created a perfect channel over the lip, in one long line, the falls cascade, freefalling 350m into an upper and lower swimming hole. After a few moments of taking in the beauty, we jump into the clear, refreshing waters and marvel at the beauty around us. 

As we anchor for the night, 12 spectacular basalt columns stand guard 1200m above our anchorage. Watching the sun setting on these majestic pillars, as we hang out on the trampolines of our Catamaran, we can’t help but grow silent in the beauty and majesty of this place. The volcanic hotspot that once created these islands has been long inactive, but the violent and erratic geological past has created a landscape that is as dramatic as the volcanos that once spewed lava and ash. 

In the morning, we prepare for a stunning paddle around Oa Pua.  We paddle beneath rugged cliff faces, with coastal birds constantly flying and calling overhead. We observe frigates, terns and noddies along every inch of the cliff faces. Their soaring and wheeling is a marvel to watch. The raw pacific ocean has for centuries collided along these cliff walls, creating a rugged and raw coastline. We feel the power of the pacific as a gentle swell runs under our boats and collides with the cliff wall, making for some fun paddling as rebound waves meet the incoming swell. 

 

As we travel further and further from Nuka Hiva, the islands become more and more remote. With no airstrips, no roads or vehicular traffic, the outer islands are very laid back, with small villages dotting the shoreline. One of our favorite places was Tahuata, where we snorkeled with Manta rays and sailed with spinner dolphins.  There is nothing like being in the water with Manta Rays. They glide like eagles, they twist and turn like a gazelle. They are a creature that I could watch for hours and hours. Once we tear ourselves away from the Manta Rays, we get back on Aqua Tikki and sail to our anchorage for the night. As the sun is setting and we are enroute, spinner dolphins accompany us, surfing our bow wave. We are enthralled by their grace, beauty and curiosity! 

Each day in the Marquesas offers a glimpse of a different aspect or character of the Islands. Hiking, cultural tours, lunch with a local family were all a part of the trip that made this experience so much more than just a kayak trip. This felt like a true exploration of a place less visited. Where the people have clung with strength and confidence to their history and culture. Where the raw natural beauty takes your breath away both on the water and on land. 

We are so excited to go back and continue to explore the islands of the Marquesas.