French Polynesia- Nuku Hiva


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Baie Taiohae

Taiohae (ty-oh-ah-eh) was a chief amongst the Marquesans. This bay was presumably his home and is described as the best anchorage in all of the Marquesas. It is a flooded caldera a mile long surrounded by rocky volcanic peaks.

E Patu Tiki

The Marquesan name for tatoos means "to strike an image". Tatooing originated in Polynesia but in the Marquesas the art form reached its greatest richness. These tatoos belong to cruisers Teresa of Yohelah and Brit of Hello World. They found the artist on Oa Pou

Whose tattoo?

Leslie's tattoo incorporates the traditional Polynesian symbols for the moon and stars, the winds, the sky and sea and sun, plus a tiki to protect her. The artist was Bryce who lives on Nuku Hiva.


The Belle Marine, a local boat going full speed, hit Philip in our dink very close to the quai in Baie de Taiohae. Dozens of people witnessed the accident in which the power boat actually ran up and onto Philip and pinned him beneath their bow (photo by Brit of Hello World).

Structural Failure

The rugged construction of the dink presumably absorbed most of the impact, saving Philip from serious injury. The blue paint is the power boat's anti-fouling! (Photo also by Brit.


The oar stowed on the side of impact was shattered and pieces were lost. This could not be repaired and a replacement came from Tahiti but only by sea.


It is frightening to imagine if the force of the impact which shattered this had instead hit Philip's ribs...


The Belle-Marine is the vessel which rounded the quai (in background) going full speed and ran over Philip in our dinghy. There were four persons on board and not one saw Philip.


Four miles down the coast from Baie Taiohae is Baie Taioa, tucked in behind the massive peaks that define the Hakaui Valley. Mountain goats abound on precipices far above the ocean.


The tiny, neat village of Hakaui sits at the mouth of a cold clear stream that runs from the waterfall in the mountains above.


Marquesans are very religious and keep their often tiny churches pristine.

Hakaui Tiki

Tikis carved of wood or stone are ubiquitous throughout the Marquesas.


The homes of Hakaui are kept neat with gardens full of pamplemousse, breadfruit and bananas.


While hiking out of the village towards the waterfall, Augustin hailed us from his house and invited us in. If the Marquesan monarchy still existed, he would be the reigning king of this area. He told us his family owns the entire end of the island!

Pistachio Wood

Inside Augustin's house were many carvings and anchient Marquesan artifacts. This is some detail of a table carved in pistachio wood.

A Necklace of Boar's Teeth Collected the Hard Way

Augustin had been working when we arrived but he agreed to adorn himself with his wild boar's tooth necklace. These dangerous animals are still hunted in the jungles and mountains throughout the Marquesas. The necklaces are not worn for the sake of tourists but are seen on men throughout the Marquesas. It's hard to see but Augustin's ears are pierced by bones and traditional Polynesian tattoos adorn his arms, chest and legs.

Ausgustine Putting on the Necklace...

A Necklace Fit for a King

Stream Crossing

The trip to the Hakaui Vaiee (waterfall) involves following an ancient road paved long ago by Marquesans. The trek involved a number of stream crossings. Here Esther and Wietske of S/V Suwarrow Blues cross cold, thigh-deep rapids.

Hakaui Valley

Near the waterfall, the valley becomes so narrow that sunlight reaches its floor only briefly each day.

Is there really a waterfall here?

Behind Coen of Suwarrow Blues is the narrow branched grotto with the Hakaui Vaiee...not visible from the this location. We all climbed to the edge of inner pool and swam to the waterfall's base.

Weary Hikers

Upon returning to Hakaui village, we stopped near a burial mound and enjoyed lunch. Pictured are: Philip and Leslie - Carina - Coen, Wietske, Esther & Anne Linde - Suwarrow Blues. (Photo by Jan of Suwarrow Blues.)

The Boar Hunter

Later when we returned back from our hike, Augustin had food laid out for us and we got the chance to visit once again. He invited Jan and Philip to go boar hunting the next day but neither man thought they could keep up with Augustin and his hunting dogs.

Pirogue Race Winner!

Maurice (a young man from Ile Ua Huka) was the winner of a grueling race from Taipivai to Taiohae Bay, Nuku Hiva (about 10 miles). Les took this picture as Maurice was coming to the finish line and we presented it to him after the race. He was surprised and thrilled to get the photo!

Polynesian Dancing

Along with friends and almost everyone in Taiohae, we attended a Polynesian supper with dancing. This group swayed to a soothing melody that built to a gradual crescendo and a frenzied festive finale.

Grass Skirts!

This group of exclusively Polynesian girls never slowed down so we could get a good picture. Their costumes, each with a bustle accentuated their amazing moves as they danced increasingly faster to the beat of pahus, traditional Marquesan drums.


Traditional dancing performed while chanting to pahus (drums) is called haka. This group is keeping the tradition alive.

La Heiva

The beginning of La Heiva festival in Taiohae this year also marked the 20th anniversary of the town's new paepae where such community events are held. The flag is for the Marquesas islands.


This little boy spent quite a bit of time trying to find a stool high enough so he would play the biggest pahu of the group assembled at the paepae in Taiohae.

Bryce and Hans

Bryce is a local man and amazingly talented tattoo artist (see Leslie's tattoo above); Hans is a good customer and friend.

Tattoos too

The artist and the customer giving a peek.

Hooumi Hosts

Bryce's family has land on Baie Hooumi on far southeastern part of Ile Nuku Hiva. They hosted a BBQ one Sunday for a group of cruisers - Babalu, Sundance, Suwarrow Blues and Carina.

Polynesian Beauties

These little girls were part of a group of children who were playing at the beach around our BBQ in Hooumi.