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Cruising Marquesas

Cruising information for Ua Pou and Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas

Cruisers: We are now publishing Downloadable Track Files in both MaxSea (.ptf) format and in OpenCPN (.gpx) format (not all tracks are available in all formats yet - we're still working on it and they take time).  You can download the track files either by clicking on the links in the tables below, or by clicking on the track in the Google Map below the table.  The MaxSea files are in native format but the OpenCPN files are zipped so they download faster, and they need unzipping after they've been downloaded (which Windows does natively).  If 2 files are shown, the smaller one has been edited to remove redundant points from straight tracks.  This improves the speed of the download as well as performance once the file is loaded.  Sometimes MaxSea Track files are separated from the Mark (chart notations) files.  Download instructions are provided if you need them.

These files are provided free and we are actively soliciting cruisers to send us your track files so we can post them for others to download.  If you would like to to participate, please email us your track files (as attachments to our HackingFamily account, not our Winlink acct) along with your boat name and draft.  If you include your website and boat details, we'll link back to you from our Cruising Links page.

Note: If the tracks disappear as you zoom in on the maps, try switching between Satellite and Terrain modes to get them to come back.  Better yet, use Earth mode, which is faster anyway and doesn't seem to lose the tracks.

Disclaimer: While we always try to provide useful information, we can take no responsibility for its accuracy or usefulness.  Prudent mariners will always navigate using all means at their disposal, and will not rely on electronic navigation.

Marquesas Tracks

Boat Draft Year Comments MaxSea OpenCPN
Taniwani 6.6' (2m) 2005 Includes 5 islands 5 KB 3 KB


See Taniwani's Marquesas Sailing Tracks in a larger map

See a larger map of the Ua Pou anchorage

Fun stuff to do in the Marquesas:  We only went to Ua Pou (pronounced Wa poo) and Nuku Hiva (the main port and Daniels bay) in 2003 but you can see that Taniwani went to more islands in 2005.  In 2003 we were not allowed to enter at Fatu Hiva, and boats were getting fined if they were caught there before checking in.

Ua Pou was VERY nice.  We only anchored in the main anchorage on the NE side, behind the breakwater, but there are more protected anchorages on the west side.  At the main anchorage, get in as far as you can - it shoals very gradually and there's only about .7m (2') of tide - but leave room for ships to use the docks (they'll warn you if something's coming in).  You'll need a stern hook - place it with the dink to pull your bows towards the entrance to the bay (usually the head of the breakwater).  There was a good potable water tap at the beginning of the dock, but a 6m (20') hose will make the job easier.  The Gendarmes are very nice, especially if you try a bit of French on them (they actually speak good English but appreciate the effort).  They gave us 3 month visas with only a letter from a travel agent saying we had tickets on deposit.


See a larger map of Taiohoe Bay, Nuku Hiva

Go to the Marie (which also has internet access) and ask them to contact the museum curator (Pascal) to open the museum.  He would do so for just one boat, but if you spread the word around he'll appreciate it.  Pascal's sort of a 1 man tourism department and gave us a nice free tour and cultural info.  You can't buy fruits or veggies in Ua Pou, but we went to houses and asked.  Invariably the answer was a bunch of fruit and gracious refusal at the thought of payment.  The house just behind the Poste was especially good for Pamplemouse (their delicious grapefruit) and limes.  Bring a pack and take a BUNCH.  Bread is available past the Marie at the store with red Coca-Cola banners.  The bank is just beyond this (and doesn't look at all like a bank).  We walked to the other anchorage and it looked nice and protected but had no safe place to land a dinghy.


See a larger map of Daniels Bay, Nuku Hiva

Taiohoe Bay, the main bay in Nuku Hiva, is fairly deep.  We didn't need a stern anchor, but some people used them anyway.  The dinghy dock is behind the quay - tie up beside the concrete steps.  The town had about 3 stores in 2003.  A nice walk to an old town-site can be had going north up the road beside the first store.  Go up to the gravel works and turn right through the gravel works.  Cross the stream and follow the main branch to the left (north).  You will start to see ancient building sites.  Go through the gate (bar across the road) and zig-zag up to the site.  You can also simply hitchhike up the paved road past the gravel works to get up to the top of the pass for the view.

In 2003, Daniels Bay on Nuku Hiva wasn't correctly placed on many electronic (or paper) charts - it was as much as a mile out!  But the 2008 CM93 charts seem to be quite accurate.  Daniels Bay is well worth a visit.  Take your dinghy up the stream at high tide and walk up the old "Kings way".  The trail passes many old house-platforms from ancient villages.  It's about 2 hours to the base of the third highest waterfall in the world!  We went for a swim there and had lunch, but it might have been better (less bugs) just before fording the last stream.  There's a nice spot there that even has a BBQ-pit and a nice swim beach.  Folks along the way traded us (hats, T-shirts, money) for fruit on the way back.  Good water was available at the head of the anchorage (right-most) bay, but make sure you ask first.

All the best -- Jon, Sue, Chris, and Amanda

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