World Wonders Cruise Diary – Day 8 – Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia
Cruise day 8 – Jan 12
Visit Taiohae, Nuku Hiva –
“Land Ho!”, we shouted with glee as we caught our first glimpse of land at 5:30am after 7 days at sea. Although we enjoyed the long, lazy days during our Pacific crossing, we were more than ready to stand on solid ground again. This little remote island in the South Pacific wasn’t exactly what I would pick as a destination, but it was a nice enough place to spend a half-day and get some exercise while learning a little bit about the people here. It’s the largest of the Marquesas Islands of French Polynesia, and an overseas territory of France.
The ship was anchored in the bay facing the tiny town, and we were quickly taken ashore in the impressively large tenders that can each carry well over 100 humanoids. At the dock we were given talks on local customs and arts and crafts by a resident. Then we were released to walk down the only main road in town.
We first scaled a small hill to visit an impressive sculpture that overlooks the harbor and town. It was the first hill we had hiked in many days, and we only wished it had been more challenging. After the obligatory dozens of pictures were taken, we headed back down the hill and walked through town – such as it is. This is obviously a poor area, with run-down roads and facilities. But the people seemed friendly, gave us a warm welcome and didn’t pressure us tourists into buying anything.
Taiohae is home to more than half the population of Nuku Hiva, and is a pretty island of small black-sand beaches, tropical blooms and a distinctly French ambiance:
This island is unique for its strange statues, some depicting non-terrestrial entities. Too bad there were no plaques to explain more about their purpose or meaning.
The weather forecast was for 50% chance of rain, and that’s just what happened – it rained 50% of the time we were there! Fortunately we were near cover when a big deluge hit, but a few minutes later it was gone and then there were just occasional sprinkles as we completed our walk back and forth through town.
The one side stop we made was to the cathedral, a rock and lumber structure that was simple but nicely done:
After about 3 hours we were ready to head back to the ship for yet another culinary orgy, then cold showers after walking in the 85º heat and high humidity.
Some more pictures from our excursion:
After another wonderful dinner we watched “Gemini Man” at the Star Theater, then checked out the Dancing Under the Stars party. Not a bad first port stop!