On the 18th of April, we left Hooumi and headed off to Anaho. We visited here in 2019 but never got ashore because of strong winds. So this time was different, although a lot busier.
Anaho is a far more accessible place to get ashore than Hooumi or Taiohae. There is a well-marked pass through the reef leading to a sandy area where it is possible to anchor your dingy without it clattering into any rocks. There is no rough dock to contend with and no risk of a hernia.
The next day we followed the mountain trail from Anaho to Hatiheu. Looking down at the floor, it’s clear that the track is frequented more by horses and goats than humans (not that Maria would know the difference.) Nevertheless, it is worth sweating your way up there – the view from the top is stunning.
We had been to Yvonne’s restaurant in Hatiheu back in 2019 as part of a tour with Marté. And just as we were talking about that, in walked the man himself. We chatted with Marté about how things were for him during Covid (harsh, but the French government helped) and were pleased to hear that things are picking up now that the tourists have started to arrive back on the island.
That evening we invited Pascale and Bertrand onboard so that we could continue our conversation and serve them the English cliché of gin and tonics.
Pascale and Bertrand were full of enthusiasm for the beach over the hill on the island’s windward side. So, after listening to their description of white sand and crystal clear water, we thought we would give it a go.
On 22nd April, we extracted the beach umbrella from the locker, loaded up our bags with cold drinks and sandwiches (stopping short of taking knotted hankies to complete the Brits abroad look), parked the dinghy near the local beach, and set off on a trek over the hill.
Unfortunately, the wind conditions were not the same as experienced by our boating buddies. It must have been blowing a Force 8 over there, and we were getting sandblasted by the fine white sand that made the beach sound such an attractive proposition. And that water might have been crystal clear, but all we could see of it was being dumped on the beach in huge wind-driven rollers.
We don’t give up easily, though, and continued walking along the beach, looking like a couple of ambulant sand statues, until eventually, we found a spot to drill the umbrella into the sand. Unfortunately, despite screwing it in far enough to find oil, it was trying to make a break for freedom and launch itself into space after a few minutes.
We didn’t even attempt to eat our sandwiches. I did go for a run along the beach, though, which was nice in the cooling breeze. But, fed up with wrestling to keep everything under control, we headed back towards the calm of Anaho, performing a mini beach clean up on the way. This side of the island is littered with plastic detritus, mainly from the fishing industry by the look of it.
We stopped at a local fruit and vegetable farm on the way back. The two men working here supply much of what it for sale at the market in Taiohae Bay – lugging their cargo on horseback over the hills to Hatiheu for onward transport. While Maria went with one of the men to select some veg, I talked with the other guy about rugby and found out that he is a keen Jonny Wilkinson fan. “A gentleman,” he said.
After reestablishing camp at the lovely quiet beach from where we started, we ate our sandwiches and headed off back to Jamala. Then, just like the punchline of a bad joke, the tide was out when we arrived back at our dinghy. So there was a chance of a hernia after all.