Nuku Hiva

After 7 days at sea, cruising the wide Pacific, where we had seen around our ship nothing but the ocean and the sky and an endless horizon, we finally saw land again: in the morning of January 14th, 2019, the volcanic mountains of Nuku Hiva appeared at the horizon. We had arrived in French Polynesia.

Michael did not want to join on the tour I was going for - it was the same tour as 4 years ago (when we had been here in 2015) and the only one offered, but why not doing it again, since I remembered it as a nice tour across the island ?!

We anchored in a nice bay, being surrounded by the caldera of this extinguished volcano and whose crater had opened to the ocean on one side. The tender took me ashore and I luckily got the front seat of a 4-wheel-drive SUV, always my favorite seat next to the driver. The tour took us around parts of the big island, which is the main island of the Marquesas island group in French Polynesia.

There were several stops, f.i. a visit at the modern cathedral, the Cathedral of Notre Dame of Marquesas, which was built with various rocks from the six Marquesas islands, and where beautifully carved wooden carvings were displayed, combining Marquesan art with religion.

Next, we stopped at the grounds of an assembly place, where the locals gather for big festivals at certain times, inviting the people from neighbored islands to come together and meet their far distant cousins - we were told that „neighbors“ from as far as Hawaii were following the invitation! Only the New Zealanders could not afford to join at the biggest festival ever in the year 2000.

The tour continued up the caldera mountains, covered with lush vegetation, and we came to a lookout point, from where we enjoyed a fantastic view of the island and the Taiohae Bay below us, seeing our cruise ship in the far distance. Drove down to another valley with a bay, which also presented peaceful & quiet life of the local Typee people - this was, where Herman Melville (author of Moby Dick) had hidden after he had deserted his ship in 1842.

Drove back the same way, cause there are only a very few roads across the island - some valleys are only accessible from the sea side.

When the tour was finished, I still went for a stroll thru the village and walked along the beach and then up to a hill to get a closer look at the big statue of Tiki Tuhiva. But I didn’t get the clue of what it represented, but was something important to the locals. Meanwhile, it had become so very hot that I decided to return to the ship for a late lunch there. Enjoyed a relaxing afternoon, and when we sailed out at 8 p.m., it was really very dark - hardly any lights in town - and the few lights quickly disappeared in the night.

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