After seven days at sea, we reached the port of Taiohae on Nuku Hiva Island in the Marquesas Islands, which are part of French Polynesia and ultimately part of France. Herman Melville wrote his book Typee based on his experiences on the island and Robert Louis Stevenson first made landfall there on his voyage on the Casco. But perhaps the island is best known as the site of the fourth season of Survivor. I had to stretch to find history as the island is very small and the population is under 3000.
There was no guided tour here. We were tendered ashore and left to explore the small town. The locals seemed very excited to have some visitors and set up six stations along the waterfront to show different aspects of island life. Maybe it was because we hadn’t seen any land for a while, but we found the island to be very attractive. The town sits on the edge of a partially collapsed volcanic crater which formed the bay where we anchored.Looking from the town out into the bay where the ship was anchored.Wood carving is one of the major crafts practiced on the island. The tattoos on this woodcarver are typical. Unfortunately, the ship would not let us bring woodcarvings back onto the ship as some had been infected with pine beatles that had made a new home in the wood decking of other ships.Breadfruit is one of the main products of the island and we sampled a breadfruit desert this woman had made. It really resembled bread pudding and we presumed it was much lower in calories.Guides who spoke English were scattered around the town to give us a little history.There were beautiful views of the remains of the caldera all over town.We stopped at the local Seven-Eleven where this crate of baguettes made the French heritage of the island clear. I am not sure the French would ever treat a baguette with such disrespect though.The Town had a beautiful church built in 1975 that featured a carved wooden pulpit in the center and carved wooden stations of the cross as shown at the bottom.The people of the Marquesas Islands feel that their culture, language, and heritage are being swallowed up by the more populous areas of French Polynesia such as Tahiti. As a result, they. are trying to ensure that their language continues to be taught in their schools and that their heritage is preserved in archeological parks such as this one.
We enjoyed Marquesas a lot more than we expected. We now have two sea days before arriving at Tahiti on the evening of the second sea day. The good news is that they are now able to broadcast the NFL playoffs. The other good news is that it didn’t work last weekend, so I didn’t have to suffer through watching my Panthers lose.