Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Paumau Bay

Our circumnavigation of the island of Hiva Oa continued with an overnight
stop at picturesque Hanaiapa Bay followed by another day sail to Puamau
Bay.  Beautiful  Puamau features a number of immaculately kept homes, a
small, open-air restaurant and some of the best archeological ruins in all
of Polynesia.  It is accessible by road from the main town of Atuana so
the locals are accustomed to visiting tourists.

Our trip ashore for a walkabout and visit to the archeological site began
with navigating our outboard motor- powered dinghy through fairly large
surf to land on a narrow, sandy beach.  Mark patiently studied the pattern
and frequency of the larger sets of breaking wave and managed to get us to
the beach without any drama.  Friends Bob and Ann from the boat “Charisma”
rowed their dinghy ashore and also landed without incident.  As we all
dried our feet and changed into our hiking shoes, we couldn’t help but be
overwhelmed by the spectacular scenic beauty around us.  Fortunately, the
local residents must appreciate it as well as evidenced by how clean and
pristine everything seemed to be.  The yards around the rather simple
homes well all carefully manicured making us feel as though we were in a

Our trek to the archeological site began by passing the small restaurant
were a sign pointed us in the right direction and indicated that there was
as $3.00 fee per person to visit it.  We happily paid the fee and began
the 20 minute walk up a steep, paved road to the site.  All along the way,
we were amazed by the amount and variety of fruit literally falling from
the trees around us.  Every few steps we’d stop to examine some example of
exotic tropical fruit.  The stops in the shade of the many trees gave us a
chance to cool off a bit as we were all drenched with sweat and suffering
from the heat and humidity.

After following the steeply climbing road as it made its way up the lush,
jungle-covered hillside we reached our destination where we found an
impressive display of carved stone “Tikis”, some resembling humans and
some more animal-like.  In addition to the Tikis, the area featured rather
elaborate stone walls and platforms.   We examined the carvings with awe
and felt so fortunate to be alone at this very special place with just the
company of our two friends.  After taking dozens of photos we followed the
road back to the beach where we were chagrined to see that, while we were
away, the surf had gotten even larger.  Before attempting to head back to
our boat, we stowed our camera, hats and sunglasses in a waterproof bag
and lashed it securely to the dinghy.  While we watched breaking wave
after breaking wave roll onto the beach, trying to recognize a pattern of
the larger sets, Bob and Ann started out.  Their timing looked good and,
with Bob rowing with all of his might, they made it through several
smaller waves to the safety of deeper water.  We then decided to give it a
go and began rolling our wheel-equipped dinghy toward the water’s edge.
As we waded into knee-deep water and waited for an appropriate time to go,
we looked back to see both Ann and Bob standing up to their chests in the
surf zone.  Bob was wrestling to right their overturned dinghy.
Unfortunately, after thinking they “had it made” a larger than normal,
breaking wave appeared from nowhere flipping them end over end.   Soon,
they were back on the beach bailing water from their swamped dinghy and
taking inventory up what had been swept overboard.  Sadly, Ann lost a pair
of prescription sunglasses.  As they regrouped for another try, two young,
local men came to their assistance and successfully helped push, swim and
row their dinghy through the surf.  While that was happening, we saw our
opportunity and, with Anne riding in our dinghy’s bow and Mark manning our
tiny and underpowered 2 ½ horsepower outboard motor, we started out
through the surf.  Our timing was good and we made it through several
small, breaking waves without a problem.  But, before we were safely past
the surf zone, several larger waves lifted our bow, nearly breaking over
us.  Fortunately, Anne rode our bucking bronco keeping her weight forward
and, after what seemed like an eternity, we were safely into deeper water.
 Later that day, we would all laugh about the experience feeling that it
will remain another special memory of this incredible adventure.

No comments:

Post a Comment