May 14, 2011

Walking on Land

 The fantasies start round about day 12, best as I can tell. When you’re on a long passage, after a while all you can think about is walking on solid, unmoving, sweet-smelling earth (that and sitting in a solid, unmoving, sweet-smelling restaurant and drinking an ice-cold beer…). Barb and I would talk about it on the radio—how once we got into harbour we’d go for daily morning walks and how we’d find hikes, lots of hikes. The cold drinks were a given.

Happily the Marquesas Islands may have been created with hikers in mind. The snorkelling isn’t fab, but the hills are steep and are crisscrossed with intriguing footpaths which once linked various tribes to each other in trade and, occasionally, warfare.

This morning we got up early and headed into the market (which starts at 4:30am!). After loading up on lunch fixings we headed home and roused Maia and Sasha then headed back to shore to meet Dino (Sasha’s Dad) and the folks from Architeuthis. Then we set off on a hike to the headlands.
The trail is that little cut in the cliff face--look close and you will see little people

 The start of the trail was dry and grassy—and seemed almost savannah-like. But then we were in the jungle. The trees grew dense and wildly around us—and bird song echoed through the lush and humid green. As we hiked up the switchbacks we talked about Herman Melville’s book, Typee (which was set here) and wondered if the ridge he first climbed to escape the whale ship was the same we were now climbing.

 We crossed dry stream beds (it hasn’t rained in a week—so many of the little waterfalls are dry) and edged along cliff faces. I was near the back of our group so I could hear the gasps and cheers as the folks at the front broke out of the jungle and came out to the headland.

 It’s simplistic to say it’s gorgeous here. It’s more of a fairytale than that. The trade winds blow soft and warm over vistas we sailed across an ocean to see. And when we looked downward: at giant mantas swimming in clear water, and outrigger canoes slicing through the waves, and islands outlined in puffy clouds, and verdant cliffs fading into the curve of distance I think we all ran out of words, and simply cheered.

1 comment:

Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

Gorgeous hiking and views for miles awaited you and now you have arrived... Enjoy the fresh fruit too.