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Nuku Hiva, French Polynesia

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After four days at sea we arrived in Nuku Hiva. It was a beautiful day, although acclimating to the heat and humidity is always a process! We anchored in Taiohae Bay and took the tender to the town where we were greeted by tattooed men blowing conch shells, women singing, drumming, and flowers.

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Nuku Hiva is the largest of the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia. In the local mythology Nuku Hiva is the “roof beam” of the “Great House” -which represents the Marquesan archipelago. Herman Melville wrote his book, Tybee, based on his experience in the Taipivai valley. This valley was also the set for one of the many episodes of the TV program Survivor. We took a tour to this valley across the island in a caravan of trucks (the best form of transportation on the island!). There were many scenic views and this was a good introduction to the simple life on the island.

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On the return from the valley, we visited the Notre Dame Cathedral. All that remains of the original 19th century church is a portion of the stone wall. In the interior of the cathedral are stone and wood carvings provided by each of the Marquesas islands. The carvings are biblical stories but clearly influenced by the island culture. The entrance of the cathedral is flanked by statues of Saint Peter and Saint Paul carved from rosewood.

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Local transportation:

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Our final stop was at Temehea Tohus, also known as the Paepae of Piki Veine, which is located along the bay near central Taiohae. This is a traditional meeting platform and features some ancient tiki sculptures as well as sculptures by local artists that were made for a recent Marquesas festival. There is some buzz on the internet that these statues represent extraterrestrial beings!

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Posted by Culinerrion 16:00 Archived in French Polynesia Tagged french polynesia nuku_hiva

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