arrived in Atuona, in Hiva Oa on July 27th. Tom and Annie had to go home
:-( This mountain in Hiva Oa us usually covered with clouds, so
this is a pretty good view of it from the anchorage. You can see our
spinnaker pole across the top of the photo. We are using it to support
our flopper stopper. The flopper stopper keeps the boat from rolling in
the waves as they enter the bay. Many of the anchorages in the Marquesas
are rolley with poor holding. A bow and stern anchor with lots of chain
also helps a lot!
had to walk a couple of miles from our anchorage to the town. We needed
to check in, get a few supplies and just see what was happening! We
often walked, but we just as often hitched a ride. The local people were
very generous to us cruisers. This is the surf that breaks on the edge
of town! You can see that this wouldn't be a good anchorage.
the Marquesas are on a half time zone we couldn't figure out what time
it was. Here's Annie, Scott and Tom (left) waiting outside the bank for
an hour because of time zone confusion. It is a bit warm here in the
middle of the day. I think Tom and Annie are thinking that this is a far
cry from Alaska where they had joined the Quest on a previous cruise.
you visit Hiva Oa you must visit Paul Gauguin's grave... He spent his
artistic energies trying to capture the beauty of the Marquesas and the
Marquesan people. We were awed by the generosity and caring of the local
people. We understand why they don't want a lot of intrusion by outside
also Jacques Brel's grave. Both are buried in the same cemetery up on a
high hill in Hiva Oa.
strongest impression of the Marquesas is the unbelievable geologic
formations and the beautiful flowers.
church had some remarkable wood paneled doors. Each panel tells a
different story of Christ's life. It looks a bit unremarkable as you
approach the church, but the doors and many details inside are
of the door panels depicts the birth of Christ. Notice the inclusion of
breadfruit in the scene!
This is a picture of breadfruit growing in the back yard of this
home. Breadfruit is a staple for most people in Polynesia. It's a
very beautiful tree with shiny lobed leaves and bright green (almost
chartreuse!) fruit. This photo also shows how strips of wood are used in
the construction of a local house. Providing ventilation in a home is a
hired a driver to take us to the other side of Hiva Oa. The scenery was
spectacular, but we were glad we weren't doing the driving. The road was
one lane dirt most of the way. Each little village had a paved main
road. And parts of the road were under construction. Many of the
villages are better accessed by boat.
shared the road with horses, people and big hauling trucks.
Marquesans use their horses for transportation and as lawnmowers. In
some areas the horses are wild. We saw the people cool off their horses
in the surf as this man is doing.
were taken to an ancient religious site. These guys don't look too happy
because these single heads depict the victims of human sacrifice.
Cannibalism is part of the Marquesan history. It is said that
cannibalism didn't stop entirely until the 1960s. So, it's quite
possible that there are people alive now who have eaten "long pig" (as
humans were called).
are some of the local deities. The one in the foreground is called "fishwoman."
Fishwoman is well-known throughout the Marquesas and is depicted in
tapas, tatoos, and other art.
idols still have tremendous power. And I felt it when I was there! The
idol in the background is a tiki of a pregnant woman. The large tiki in
the foreground seems to have more power as there were many more
offerings left there than next to the pregnant woman. The offerings you
see were made in all seriousness by local people. There is something
alluring about a god you can see!
went to a local home where we were served a Marquesan lunch. I enjoyed
the attractive way the house was painted and the flowering plants around
are a couple of guys that could certainly miss a few meals and not
suffer for it! (Scott & Tom, of course!) We were served goat, chicken,
poisson cru, poi poi, rice, taro (sweetened as a dessert), breadfruit
French fries, French bread, a refreshing fruit drink, and espresso.
were told that the sewing machine in the foreground belonged to Paul
Gauguin. I wasn't sure if it was something on the line of "Washington
slept here." I guess that shows my worldly cynicism. In any case, here
it is folks!!
the same property people have a noni operation. The noni can be
harvested all year round. They are cleaned, fermented and put in barrels
for transport to Tahiti. Noni is used as a health product, claiming
(among other attributes) to contribute to long life and vitality. I
guess we'll get some!
grow wild and people cultivate them for sale. Bananas also appeared to
be part of this commercial operation.
is the traditional crop throughout Polynesia. Copra is dried
coconut. It is used to produce oil which is then used in cosmetics, food
and lubricants. Copra is subsidized by the French to keep the local
people employed. It requires heavy physical labor. We've been in the
Gambiers, here in the Marquesas and the Line Islands (or Kiribati) where
people harvest copra. Coconut palms are also one of the few plants that
will tolerate brackish water. Many of the islands we visited have a very
limited fresh water supply (that is, they either collect rain water or
rely on very expensive reverse osmosis to make fresh water from sea
water. This is actually the method we use on the boat, but we're not
trying to grow plants, so our needs are more limited.)
a final shot of the northern shore of Hiva Oa. We did not circumnavigate
every island. Instead we were more interested in anchoring in leeward
bays that were safer and more comfortable (not exposed to heavy ocean
swells and winds). Because of this we often took land tours to areas we
didn't visit by boat.