Having a clean propeller helps. We made it out of Taiohae Bay on the 13th of April, turning left for a lumpy motor sail to Hooumi Bay.
The last time we were here, in 2019, we embarked on a hike to rival a pilgrimage to the Vaiahu waterfall with our Irish and Swedish friends. This time we wanted nothing more than peace and quiet and a more gentle stroll in the countryside.
But as peaceful as it was in Hooumi Bay, we thought back to that foot-blistering hike and came up with a bright idea to sail to the next bay nearer to Taipivai, so we didn’t have to walk very far. Besides, we had never been to Hakahaa, and we did say we would fill in the gaps by going to places we hadn’t visited. So, we motored around in Jamala the next day.
Unfortunately, we didn’t like it nearly as much. So we stayed just one night and returned to Hooumi Bay without even setting foot ashore.
Trek to Taipivai
One of the few drawbacks of Hooumi Bay is the beach landing. Because the shore has a gentle slope fringed by numerous rocks, it’s necessary to pull the dinghy all the way up the beach. So, rather than hauling the combined weight of the dinghy and outboard, we rowed ashore – mainly in a straight line.
Then, after tying the dinghy to a tree, we retraced our steps back to Taipivai but stopped when we arrived at the enormous marai rather than continuing the trail to the waterfall.
On our last visit, we encountered a religious procession. And so we did again, but this time heading away from Hooumi to Taipivai. These guys take up the whole road, so there is nothing else to do but be a part of it if they decide to stop, which they did. I found myself literally in the middle of the proceedings while Maria witnessed the prayers and singing from the front.
After the procession, people moved on, and we decided to embark on a mini-pilgrimage of our own, up to the cross on top of a hill overlooking Hakahaa.
Boat work, new buddies and a horse on the ledge
One of the great things about Hooumi is the shelter from swell. The wind occasionally hurtles over the mountains, but there’s little roll. This meant we could get on with the boat projects we couldn’t do in Taiohae Bay, such as going up the mast to install a new signal halyard fitting and dropping the genoa sail to restitch one of the seams that had come apart.
By this time, the anchorage had become busy with all of four boats in there, including another Amel. Bertrand and Pascale invited us for drinks on their Amel 54, the boat model superseding ours. The changes that Amel made with that model are incredible. It looks very different from the Super Maramu. Gone are the utilitarian heads to be replaced by something one might find in an apartment. They have a lovely boat.
Unfortunately, as we were enjoying their company and the drinks, Sod’s Law determined it would rain. So, as Maria and I had left the hatches open, we had to cut our evening short and row back to Jamala before everything got soaked.
The next day, just as I was about to down tools after polishing the windows in an almost never-ending attempt to get them clear, Maria shouted, “There’s a horse on the ledge!”
She gave me the binoculars to take a look, but I couldn’t see anything. Finally, however, she insisted there was a horse there and that we must tell a local person. Fortunately, a local fisherman was coming back into the bay. Maria flagged him down and told him about the horse. He said there are no horses, only goats. And to drive the point home, he gave a brilliant impression of both animals to make it clear to Maria what the difference is. He went to take a look on the ledge, though, then waved to me after turning round to head back to his mooring. There might have been a slight turn of his hand as he waved as if to gesture something.
I later managed to see the animal stuck on the ledge. I have never seen a horse with horns like that.
It was time to leave.