|Nuka Hiva in the Marquesas group of islands is our last stop in French Polynesian before the 6 day cruise to San Diego.
Jutting vertically from the ocean floor, the emerald green Marquesas form the most spectacular and remote archipelago in French Polynesia. Nuka Hiva is 340 square km in area. It is 1,250km NW of Tahiti. First settled by Polynesian mariners from Samoa or Tonga over two thousand years ago it was discovered by Europeans in the mid16th century. Captain Cook arrived two hundred years later in 1774. This was the beginning of the end for Marquesan culture. Whalers and slave ships came bringing many diseases that reduced the population from 50,000 to 5,000 within 50 years and later as low as 1200.
The Marquesans were a warlike lot who practiced human sacrifice and cannibalism. As our location guide joked don’t wander away from the main street to far!
For us Taiohae, the administrative centre, was a nice gentle town. We walked around the beautiful sweeping bay past a restored temple area to a tiny museum attached to a hotel. It was very hot (85f) so we had a much needed beer and quick check of emails. We walked over to the beach for Gerry to have a swim but the water was very muddy from all the rainfall. This was the only island we visited that was not surrounded by a coral reef and so there was no lagoon.
The very modern Cathedral was built in 1974.
This made a lovely sunny last stop in the South Pacific.
We are in San Diego now finishing the blog after 6 days of eating, drinking etc. at sea. We have 2 more sea days before we reach Vancouver on May 5th. Thanks to those of you who sent messages.
Hope all is well with you.