A Travellerspoint blog

Nuku Hiva

The largest of the Marquesas, an island group in French Polynesia

sunny 85 °F
View Bill and Hope 2019 on HopeEakins's travel map.

We woke up early to the sound of weighing anchors and ran out to the deck to see land. We felt like Columbus or Magellan or even Noah seeing the rocky crags appear through the mist ahead of us. After a quick breakfast we boarded the tender for a trip to this 100+ square mile island with 2000 inhabitants, many of whom were in town trying to sell us their wares. Nuku Hiva’s towering peaks, the remains of a collapsed volcano, plunge down to the sea, so there is no coastal path, only perilously steep roads going into the center. They say this geography, i.e., the separation of inhabitants into narrow valleys, is what led to fierce tribal wars with dire consequences for the losers. Melville wrote Omoo and Typee here, and the cannibalism he describes apparently continues – at least until 2011 when a native was convicted of eating a German tourist. We stayed near the coast and visited a cathedral. The flowers are dazzling and the natives look, well, native. The cathedral pulpit carvings represent the four evangelists: Matthew (man), Mark (lion), Luke (ox), and John (eagle). They look quite a bit like the tiki carvings that dot the landscape.

We sat on a rock near a tiki and called home. Folks said it was cold there.


Posted by HopeEakins 14:08 Archived in French Polynesia

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