French Polynesia - Hiva Oa


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Stormy Sunrise

After leaving the Galapagos we went through the SPCZ - the South Pacific Convergence Zone - which brought us squally weather. Red in the morning....

Gnomadic Crossing

Gnomad, the Woodward School gnome, did well during the crossing, despite days of huge waves.

Hearty Sail

One day winds were so light we broke out the serious stuff - our beautiful asymmetric spinnaker.

Land Ho

We had actually spotted Hiva Oa and Fatu Hiva the previous evening and, unfortunately, had to motor through the night to arrive at daybreak.


The port of entry in Hiva Oa is the beautiful little town of Atuona, that sits at the base of majestic Mount Temetiu (3903 feet). The Na'iki tribe is the principle group and the Marquesan language spoken here is most closely related to Hawaiian.

Ahhhh, Sleep

Everyone on Carina slept well once our anchor was secure in the tiny harbor at Atuona.

Aramui 3

The supply /passenger ship arrived in the harbor's tight quarters the day after we did in Atuona, bringing an abundance of foodstuff and building supplies. The harbor buzzed throughout the day.

Marquesan Horses

Wild horses abound in the Marquesas, while those that are trained serve as transportation on the wild mountain trails. Horses were introduced here by the French.


Flowers are everywhere here; each a bit more magnificent than the last. This orchid clung to a hillside along a mountain road.

Chèvre or Keukeu

Goats were brought to the Marquesas by Captain Cook and though they represent an important source of protein, defoliation is a serious issue.

North Coast Hiva Oa

The north coast of the island is composed nearly vertical volcanic peaks interspersed with deep bays. Most of these harbors offer little refuge.

Looking West

The coast road branches here and goes west along this forbidding coast toward the village of Hanapaaoa. We missed the turn off to this village.

Road to Puamau

The farthest northeastern settlement on Hiva Oa is the immaculate village of 300 souls called Puamau. The road to reach there should not be traveled by anyone afraid of heights, or of extremely narrow roads. We couldn't make this turn without backing up!

The Worst Possible Place

During our one day expedition, we encountered about five other vehicles. Unfortunately one encounter occured at the most dangerous part of the road!


The village site is amazing; we picniced here with baguettes, creamy cheese and red wine!

Puamau Flower

Nearby to the small grocery in Puamau were pots of gorgeous flowers - welcome to paradise!

Iipona Site

The ceremonial site at Pauma'u is called Iipona. Here sits the largest tiki west of Easter Island, Taka'i'i.


The chief is pretty impressive! We'll bet he has good "mana" which is described as "the highly fickle essence of everything that is"...the mana of a great warrior was supposed to work wonders. Perhaps Taka'i'i will share with us some of his abundant mana.

Maki'i tau 'a Pepe

Literally meaning the death of (princess) Tau'a Pepe, this tiki represents Tau'a Pepe in childbirth, during which she died. The statue was carved by her bereaved husband.


This rock contains carved indentations and an impressive petroglyph.


Paepae are house platforms which are difficult to distinguish from tohua, or ceremonial platforms.


This tiki represents a dog and is associated with the Maki'i tau Pepe.

Tiki Group

Most of the tiki of the Iipona site are situated in a group. There are also carvings of heads here which represent the victims of human sacrifice.

Tiki Souriant

Though we had a plan from the tourist office, we had difficulty finding the path to this tiki, which was discouragingly closed off by a barbed wire fence.


We stopped at a farm high up in the mountains where goats, pigs, chickens and kittens roamed together amongst banana plants and pamplemousse trees.


Paul Gaugin lived in Atuona between 1901 and 1903 and was known for wild parties held at his "Maison du Jouir" (house of pleasure). He wasn't famous or particularly happy during his lifetime and was a bit of a pedophile, taking up with a 14 year old in Atuona, Vaeoho, who bore his child.


Meaning "savage" in Tahitian, Gaugin sculpted this staue while in France between voyages to Polynesia. The statue sits at the site of Gaugin's grave.

Gorgeous View

The Calvary Cemetery above Atuona has a magnificent view to the south.