World Wonders Cruise Diary – Day 8 – Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia

Cruise day 8 – Jan 12

Visit Taiohae, Nuku Hiva –

From our wall map, our first port of call – the remote island of 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.

The tender that zoomed us ashore
Isn’t she a beauty?

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:

Hey Mark, haven’t seen you pointing at any signs like this one!

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:

Main Street – pretty much the only street
The dock with Tuhiva overlooking from the hill
She’s getting pretty good at the selfies

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!

Dancing under the stars
A fun way to end the evening!




  1. Hi Steve (&ML).

    I’m working on it! No trees here like that to nail signs to. Looking at that caricature of a hiker it seems to me I’m being used as the go-to model for hiking signs around the world. Impressive 😁

  2. Love those statues! Too bad there aren’t any indications of their origins, but it’s fun to make up our own stories…here’s one of mine – the female Tiki looks as if she just gave birth to MonaLiza!!!!!

  3. Our arrival in Nuku Hiva on our 2017 RTW was delayed due to rough waters, arriving very late in the afternoon … nonetheless, we enjoyed our brief time on the island, wandering around as you did. Nice to see what the interior of the church looks like as it was pitch dark with no lights when we were there and our phone flashlights were not up to the challenge of lighting it up for us. Like you, I wished for some explanation on the “interesting” statues … seems like they’ve added a couple of new ones for us to check out when we visit in 2022 … another world cruise on Oceania.

    I hope the chef picked up some fresh fish before leaving Nuku Hiva. The al fresco meal served on the Terrace on Insignia the next day was one of the highlight dinners on our RTW.

  4. I’ll bet it felt great to do a bit of hiking on land after a week at sea! That cove is so beautiful. And back on the ship, dancing in the moonlight looks so romantic!

  5. So many questions, and since you’re not really busy at all, I’ll expect answers post haste 😀 Those red-blossomed trees are stunning — do you know what they are? Was there any sort of local food served or for purchase on the little island? If so, would you have been able to bring anything aboard? Can you swim at those beaches or would anyone want to?

    Good job with the sign-pointing! TBG has a challenge to meet!

    • Ha ha ha, no I don’t know what those trees are, but it seems similar to the one I saw in Florida. No we did not see any local foods but tropical fruits similar to what we have in the Phils were plenty and then on another building were local crafts like the Tikis. No food out or back to the ship are allowed. We did not see anyone swimming there, perhaps in another part of the island. Did I answer you questions? 🙂

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