The Marquises are a welcome site after many days at sea. They are tall and easy to see from a great distance. We spotted land 50 miles from Ua Huka and we might have seen it sooner if we were paying attention. We landed on Nuka Hiva in Taiohae Bay. Taiohae is the largest city in the Marquises with a population of 1,500. It is surprisingly well appointed for such a small city so far from anywhere. Diesel was available for $3.30 a gallon (85 PFr / liter) and fresh baguettes were 40 PFr (figure 100 PFr/ $1 US). The harbor is well protected but rolly from the swell. It rained a lot while we were there but it rained a lot getting there so it was nothing new.
While we were there the crew of Joyous arranged to hire Rose's Land Rover from the Keikahanui Inn with local Jean Michel at the wheel. The roads were terrible because of all of the rain but we barely got rained on that day and it was a great trip. Rose was so horrified at the condition of her vehicle when we returned that she cancelled other planned trips until the weather improved.
Jean Michel, in the green T-shirt, was a native of Taipivai and it was our fist stop. Don, in the white T-shirt, and Joann, in the blue skirt, were crew on Joyous but they have circumnavigated twice in their trimaran "Andruil". The temple below was above the village of Hatiheu and was maintained for local ceremonies and the few tourists that get by.
The children throughout French Polynesia are learning the customs and rituals of their forefathers. These boys are learning a Marquiseinne warrior dance for a school recital. The pictured hut is the home of the chief of Hatihue and also her restaurant. That's right, Hatiheu has a female chief and this is not unusual in the Marquises. The pig on a leash is not a pet and it is not headed for the dinner table. It is a truffle pig coming home from another day at the office.
The Marquises are steep and rugged islands. They are filled with scenic waterfalls and lush green mountain sides. The diving is not great in good conditions and with all of the rain we were getting the water visibility was terrible. The weather is bad from April to June and during El Nino it is also bad from January to April. If you like to hike and get off of the beaten path then it might make a good vacation spot. We recommend the Keikahanui Inn when her renovations are done. the number is (689) 92 03 82.