Robinson Crusoe and Indiana Jones all in one day... Trip from Taiohai round Nuku Hiva in a speedboat to Haatea Bay, then a pleasant hike past Hakuai village along the once royal road, then wading the river and continuing though where the tropical forest has reclaimed land that was once cultivated by the Polynesians. We passed the Vaipo waterfall, its flow reduced to an uninspiring trickle, both because this is the end of the dry season and also because the spring has been capped to supply the Vaimoto brand of bottled water. The towering rock cliffs scoured with deep and seemingly inaccessible valleys, though our guide, Eric, pointed out a tomb placed high up in the cliffs, accessible via a hidden valley .
The gorge narrows where the river emerges from underground, the gorge ends with a silent pool. We turned back and made our picnic amongst the thick tree growth; a large catfish, nearly a metre long, was in a pool nearby, he greedily snatched pieces of bread! Then back down the trail for a short bathe before another thrilling ride in the speedboad across the waves.
This is the valley of the Typee, recalled in Herman Melville's book "Typee - A peep at Polynesian Life", the classic adventure and travel story of the South Pacific, first published in 1846, preceeding "Moby Dick".
As Melville wrote:
The Marquesas! What strange visions of outlandish things does the very name spirit up! Naked houris—cannibal banquets—groves of cocoanut—coral reefs—tattooed chiefs—and bamboo temples; sunny valleys planted with bread-fruit-trees—carved canoes dancing on the flashing blue waters—savage woodlands guarded by horrible idols—Heathenish rites and human sacrifices.