Sunday 27th January 2013
Land Ahoy!! … After ten days at sea we have finally arrived at Nuka Hiva which is the largest of the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean. It is formed of several volcanoes the highest being Mount Tekao.
We anchored off Taiohae which lies in a superb protected bay overlooked by the mountain known as The Sentinel and is the principal village and administrative centre of Nuka Hiva. The bay contains many giant stone statues called ‘tikis’ from the ancient culture although now the island is mainly catholic and has a cathedral called Notre-Dame.
We were last here two years ago on the Sojourn world cruise and thought it would be interesting to follow in our previous footsteps so we walked the one road through the village and found that nothing had really changed. In fact Vance found the derelict village house that we had joked about two years ago and guess what…it was still derelict now.
We walked right to the end of the bay where we had paddled last time and met a local family hunting for crabs in the rocks there. They showed us the big rock and the heavy mallet that they use to crack the crabs ready for cooking…yummy…not…..I don’t think Chef Thorsten needs to worry about the competition here!!
On the walk back to the tender – by now we were hot and sweaty and in desperate need of our 12 noon beer – we stopped to view the cathedral entrance but the lure of the cold beer was greater than my cultural needs!!
Just before we got back to the tender we saw a local horseman exercising his horse on the beach. We were told that all the horses on the island are of Chilean stock brought in by the French in the 19th century.
We made it back just in time for our noon ritual and then sat in the shade at The Patio Grill for a long lunch.
At 6pm there was a Tahitian sail away party with Polynesian dancers at the poolside but unfortunately I was in the bath at the time so I didn’t take any photos…sorry folks…but as the dancers are staying with us until Papeete in three days time I’m sure there will be many photo opportunities to come.
Vance did manage to capture the sunset this evening and we do have some great shots of that.
Techie bits: On the 27th of January at 6:30am we were:
9° south and 140° west
Travelling on a compass course : 294°
Speed = 15 knots
Wind speed = 12 knots from east
Air temperature = 26°c (78°f)
Total nautical miles sailed = 6394
Depth = 840 metres
Sunrise = 5:47am Sunset =6:18pm