May 4

Today we sailed from Ua Poa to Nuka Hiva, the main island in the group. It was a kind of momentous day for me personally since for a long time Nuka Hiva was the only Island in the Marquesas I had ever heard of or knew thing one about, and what I did know was slim. But still, knowing as little about the Marquesas as I did I always considered Nuka Hiva as synonymous with the Marquesas, and arriving here in a way consecrates our baptism as cruisers, for me, more so then arriving at Atuona which was our first Polynesian landfall.

We are now at Comptroller Bay (Baie Du Controleur) which contains three "lobes" the center of which is Tapivai the "Typee" from Melville's book of the same name. We are anchored at Hooumi, the Easternmost of the three lobes on advice from Raoul who has been there and gave it a good report. He was not wrong I am pleased to say! First off, when we arrived we had an immediate thrill at seeing that there were no other boats anchored here.

This is quite remarkable considering there are by my estimates between 80 and 125 boats here in the Marquesas! Its hard to say how many are American and how many French, but last night for example in our anchorage on Ua Pou there were 7 boats anchored and 3 were French (one being our new friends on Calyptus who speak excellent English or we could not be friends since our French is so poor as to be inadequate for such a relationship) and 3 American with one Swiss couple thrown in for good mix (though Kate is sure they are Swiss French and not German).

Hooumi is a long finger like shape with a beach at the head (tip) of the bay which flows into a palm groove and climbs into a lush green valley and steep, tall cliffs of rock on the other two sides. The bay seems clearly open to the ocean on the other side, but the entrance is so long it effectively shields the bay from the swells.

We certainly plan a hike over to Taipivai to explore the village and search for ancient evidence of cannibalism (just kidding). In 1923 a man named Harry Pidgeon visited Tapivai, 71 years after Melville's visit in 1844. He reported identifying several of the landmarks and features Melville describes, including a clutch of skulls stored in a hollow dead tree trunks exactly as Melville had described. In my view this evidence, though meager and unscientific, lends credence to Melville's incredible story.