Ua-Huka — an island “like Mars”
A real highlight of our Marquesas round trip was Ua-Huka. We came to this island directly from Fatu Hiva. Normally the island is not very popular among sailors and many even skip this destination, because the anchor bays usually have a lot of swell and also landing with the dinghy is not always easy. We still wanted to go to Ua-Huka because we have some friends on the island. We were then very surprised at how great this island really is. Admittedly, posswibly we were a bit lucky, because the weather was quite favourable and there was probably less than average swell in the anchorage Hane Bay.
Of course, it’s easier if you know people on an island, but we got the impression that people on Ua-Huka are generally very friendly (we met nice people all over French Polynesia, but some islands still stand out). You can also do a lot of things on the island. There are some very interesting museums that introduce you to Polynesian culture and craftsmanship. You can also buy typical Marquesan handicrafts (small tikis, tapas, jewellery, etc.) – we had the impression that many things are cheaper here than on other Marquesan islands. If you are lucky, you can buy directly from a craftsman and not in a museum or artesanal shop. Then it is sometimes a bit cheaper and you can ask for individually customised items.
From Hane there are also some good opportunities for hiking. A particularly nice trail leads through the forest to a tiki site and then on to Hokatu. Throughout the forest you can also find different fruits. The nature on Ua-Huka is great!
Hane Bay is also very beautiful. Motuhane, a steep offshore rock, is a real eye-catcher! There are usually a few manta rays in the bay and we were also able to observe dolphins in the bay.
The island itself is very diverse. There are parts that are very green with rainforest character and other parts are very dry and barren. Some parts almost look like a Mars landscape in sci-fi films. There are many free-roaming horses and goats on the island. Overall, we think this island has a lot to offer and we are very glad we stopped here.
A few tips for sailors: There is usually swell in the bay off Hane. On the east side it is a little better and a stern anchor can help to bear the swell better. Landing with a dinghy is not easy either, depending on the waves, but it is not an obstacle that cannot be overcome. There are plans to build a pier next year, so maybe landing will be easier then. (Please write a comment when you have been on the island and it is ready). The anchorage ground (sand) is good.
The Vaipaee bay is also suitable for anchoring, but it is very narrow and also often with swell. There is, however, a pier for landing. We still found Hane more convenient for anchoring and just looked at Vaipaee from land.
On the west side of the island there are 2 very nice anchorages that are better protected from the swell. One is Haavei – from this bay there is a way to Vaipaee (about 1-1.5 hours walking) and also 2G internet. A little further is Hatuana Bay. This bay is usually even better protected from swell and very idyllic. You are usually very undisturbed here – there is no path and no internet.