Daniel’s Bay and Vaipo Falls – 26 – 27/5/2021

We sailed from Anaho Bay along the western side of Nuku Hiva and anchored in at Daniel’s Bay.  The anchorage is beautiful surrounded by steep, rocky mountains.  The kids walked the small white sandy beach looking for shells and shark teeth that apparently wash up on the shoreline.  Tristan returned with an assorted shell collection. 

We met Charisma and Distance Star onshore at 9 am for a hike to Vaipo falls.  We followed the trail passed a couple of houses and found the sign about the fee of 1000 CFP ($10 US) for an adult and 500 CFP ($5 US) for a child but found no one around to pay.  Charisma and Maia had been to the waterfall before, so they led this hike and we followed them along the uphill trail.  We bumped into a local couple that Alexis had met in 2012 when they were here with their boat and she told us that she does lunch at her place, so we organised for lunch when we returned from the hike. 

The hike took us about 2.5 hours up, through a couple of small rivers, passing many platforms of stone blocks that were probably once pae pae (base of homes that would have had timber and plant roofs) You need to look down as you walk as there are so many rocks and tree roots embedded in the pathway and with the drizzle of rain it does get a bit slippery.  We finally reached a section with incredibly high cliffs and an almost narrow valley of knee-high wild grass before we finally reached the waterfall.   

Alexis with a sleeping Leif on one of the many times she has carried him uphill over the past week. Photo 2: The first river crossing to reach the waterfall.

Photo 1: Kahlil waiting in a tree for everyone to catch up on the hike. Photo 2: The second river crossing required using a fallen tree to get across.

Vaipo Waterfall is at the bottom of Hakaui Valley and is the tallest waterfall in French Polynesia at a height of 350 meters high.  The teens were super excited, and many had stripped off and were in the water in minutes. Leif was standing on a rock in the shallows of the water when some little crayfish nibbled on his feet and then an eel swam by and at this point, he was a little frightened.  Tristan promptly followed into the water to photograph the crayfish but had missed the eel.

Photo 1: Leif directing Tristan as to where he had seen the eel and shrimp. Photo 2: Everyone returning from the waterfall. Photo 3: Tristan photographing shrimp in the water.

The waterfall itself was but a drizzle.  Nuku Hiva had been suffering a drought until recently so the falls didn’t have a lot of water in them.  There was enough that some of the kids and adults were able to swim and jump in and enjoy it. 

If you look really closely you may see the trickle of the waterfall behind the boulders in the front.

Our hike back through the forest past fungi covered logs, lush greenery and even little tikis.

The hike back probably took us about an hour and a half to reach Tiki’s house where he was BBQ tuna steaks and flapping fresh herbs over them.  We all sat down and relaxed while Tiki’s wife brought out fruit salad, various juice drinks, a mix of breadfruit and tapioca fries and then plates of fresh tuna.  The meal was delicious, and we were all completely stuffed.  Tiki told Andrew that there were lots of tiger sharks in the bay, so I don’t think we will be swimming, especially as the water is not clear anyway.  The lunch was 1000 CFP or $10 US for an adult and 500 CFP or $5 US for a child and well worth the money.

Tiki cooking the tuna with fresh herbs on his BBQ. Us getting to enjoy the great meal.

The hiking trail. If you want the kml files to add to maps.me app that you can use offline send me an email.