There is a scene in the movie “Big Fish” where the hero traverses a spider-infested path to arrive at an idyllic town where everyone is happy.
In our case, we battled the no-nos in Hanamenu then struggled upwind for three hours. We wondered if this would be worth it.
Then the rough waters eased into a broad bay. A magnificent waterfall streamed down onto the rocky shoreline. Blowholes spat powerful jets into the air, and a dry breeze rolled down the valley. The wingtips of a Manta Ray cruised close by.
We had arrived in Hanaiapa – and it was as idyllic as that make believe town in “Big Fish”.
The anchorage was sunny and peaceful, which we shared with three sailboats. We landed on the small concrete wharf, using a stern anchor to keep the dinghy off the rocks.
Picturesque narrow roads were lined with flowers and remarkable landscaping. Fruit trees everywhere were heavy with ripe breadfruit, bananas, pomplemouse, limes and starfruit.
The locals from Hanaipa were frolicking on picnic tables and kids were swimming in the river mouth. We soon discovered it was Sunday afternoon, and a volleyball game and pig roast was underway in the main park.
The typical Marquesan barbecue is very casual and tasty. There is always wild pig or goat which an intrepid hunter caught the night before; plus an array of fish; all cooked on a huge grill which people slowly serve themselves from. A big bowl contains sauce to garnish the meats; there are no plates or silverware, usually only over-sized tree leaves which are used to hold the food. The atmosphere is ultra relaxed.
We stayed several days in Hanaipa to go hiking, explore archeological sites, and relax in the great atmosphere of this town.