Galley Wench Tales

Exploring the world through the people we meet
and the food they eat.

Gooey, seriously chocolate brownie-cake sold outside
Kamaki market, Taiohae Bay, Nuku Hiva.  Best place to buy
veggies in town, too.

Even in the remote, sparsely populated islands of the Marquesas, affordable and decadently delish treats are available.  It takes a sharp eye, good timing and a willingness to surrender without hesitation to a little indulgence.
Like kosher household members who sneak bacon when staying at the beach house, or Mormons who imbibe in the occasional sip of caffeine or alcohol when out and about, I relish the once-in-a-while foray away from our normally gluten-free (GF) boat.  Besides, unlike my husband, I do not have celiac’s, though I do believe in general a GF diet is healthier.

Baguettes in 4 foot-long loaves, made fresh daily on the premises.
They sold for just over 50 cents throughout the Marquesas.
While I miss the convenience of food using off-the-shelf flour-based products like sandwiches made from store-bought bread, my non-GF cravings tend toward rarer treats. They’re distinctive, don’t-usually-get-‘em, maybe not even once a year treats … chocolate-iced cream-filled éclairs, bear claws thick with almond paste filling and the more frequent gooey chocolate-y brownies.  Ok, I do admit, most of all I miss crusty tangy sourdough, slathered with butter, served on the side of steamed crab and downed with a crisp, chilled sauvignon blanc. But I digress….
Nuku Hiva and Hiva Oa delivered my favorite sinful sweets… even once were there, getting there still took some effort.  Of course, that burned enough calories – or so I told myself – to justify imbibing.
In Taiohae Bay, on Nuka Hiva, Marquesas, French Polynesia, Kamake market was a mere several hundred yards from our boat.  As is often the case, “crow fly” distance is a lousy indicator of actual proximity on foot.  If only the rocky, surf-torn beach with the steep but short embankment just below Kamake’s would support a kayak landing.  Alas, it does not.

Eclairs… tiny, but oh-so-good! $1.25 each at
Hiva Oa’s Naiki market in Atuona.

To get to Kamake’s is 5-minute kayak ride to Taiohae’s “old docks.”  Then it’s another 5 minutes to move past the pile of dinghies, to clamber up the slippery ladder that is angled way from the cement dock wall as if to drop you back into the bay and tie off.  From there it’s a swift 15 or leisurely 30-minute walk to Kamake’s.
If you’re early enough in the morning, there’s a small bakery case outside filled with especially sumptuous treats.  It was my second trip while the bakery case was there.  This time, I was unable to resist the sweet siren “eat me!” call emanating from sizeable gooey brownie cake (flourless chocolate cake?) behind the glass case.  
Ahhhh.  They were the perfect satisfaction for my many-month-long brownie craving, infinitely better than the dry cocoa plywood masquerading as brownies in Panama.

Naiki was the furthest market in Atuona from the Tahioe Bay anchorage,
Hiva Oa.  They also offered the best cheese selection in the Marquesas.

In Hiva Oa, I wasn’t craving éclairs, which simply on not on my radar, generally.  I was simply hungry after my 45-minute or so uphill hoof to Atuona from Tahioe Bay, to the furthest and largest market there, Naiki.  I was looking for something I could eat quickly, and there they were…. Eclairs!
It was years since my last éclair.  And these were so tiny, maybe 5 inches long, and inch and a half, wide.  They were only $1.25, though expensive compared to a 4’ baguette for ~53 cents. 

My kayak on the “shortcut” beach at Tahioe Bay, post provisioning run.
The trailhead leading up to the road was a stone’s throw from this spot.

The éclair was melting in my hand on the way to the register.  I tried to savor it, but wolfed it down as soon as I stepped outside, but not too quickly to notice its delicate crust, and that its generous cream filling was not only the perfect custard-y consistency, and not too sweet, it was also … chocolate!  Yum!
I turned around, went back into Naiki, bought another.  I’m not sure if I ate it any slower….
The next time I was there, I bought another two….
It’s probably a good thing we left Hiva Oa when we did.  I don’t know how many more times I would’ve indulged and deprived some other lucky customer for their fair éclair share.
Guess I’ve caught up on my éclair quota for the next several years.

Taking the Atuona-Tahioe Bay trail down from the road was
more challenging with a load of groceries, and slippery
when the trail got muddy.

Location Location

“Naiki’s” éclairs were inhaled, repeatedly, while we were anchored in Tahauku Bay, Hiva Oa (S9.48.260 W139.01.924), Marquesas, French Polynesia “Kamake’s” chocolate cake was devoured while we were anchored in Taiohae Bay, on Nuka Hiva, Marquesas, French Polynesia (S8.54.856 W140.05.880).  This post was written on the 565 mile, 5 ½ day passage of 24/7 sailing from Nuku Hiva to Fakarava, Tuamotus and posted once we finally got internet in Tahiti.