The Paradise of Taiohae, Nuku Hiva

2023 HAL World Cruise

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

According to Wikipedia, Herman Melville wrote his book, Typee, based on his experiences in the Taipi’vai Valley on the Eastern part of Nuku Hiva.  Robert Louis Stevenson, on his epic voyage to the South Pacific, made his first landfall at Hatihe’u on the north side of the island; then made his way to Taiohea; and continued on to finally settle in Samoa where he lived for the rest of his life.  James Michener based his book, Tales of the South Pacific on, not only, Nuku Hiva and other islands but most especially Bora Bora for the exotic atmosphere of the South Pacific.  Jack London and Paul Gauguin also found artistic inspiration here.

Studies indicate the island was first populated about 2000 years ago.  In 1595, Alvaro de Mendana de Neira came to these islands and named them Marquesas after the wife of Peru’s Viceroy.  Later in 1774 and 1791, Captain James Cook came amidst an era of commercial shipping and whaling.  During the American War of 1812, Captain David Porter aboard the USS Essex, arrived with his fleet of 10 armed ships and claimed the island for the United States naming it Madisonville; constructing Fort Madison; and building a dock.  The US never accepted the claim.  By 1814, Thomas Staines claimed Nuku Hiva for the British Crown.  Today, the entire area belongs to France.  Nuku Hiva is the largest island in the Marquesas and the 2nd largest in all French Polynesia.

Are you wondering when we’ll stop with the history, already, and show some beautiful photos?!?  Here they are:

On Wednesday morning, we awoke to find ourselves anchored in Taiohae Bay. It was a “kinda” sunny day with this lovely sun-shower taking place right in front of us!!!
A rainbow had formed but we failed to capture it on film. Our first failure of the day.
But at least, we did capture the beauty of the island!!!
The MS Zuiderdam remained in the bay as tenders transported us all to the island.
A platform was positioned to assist us in boarding the tenders.
We watched as our lifeboat was lowered to operate as a tender.
We lost count of how many tenders were put into operation. But there are 1400 passengers on board!!!
The first tender was sent ahead to set up for our landing.
By the time we set foot on the island, the vendors will be set up and redy to supply us with wooden carvings, black pearls, woven baskets, and a llittle food and drink!!!
Before heading out to enjoy the day, we paused in the Crows Nest for capuccino and the last of Betsy’s famous biscotti!!!
And then off we go to start the adventure on shore. We are headed for Rose Corser’s Hee Tai Inn & Museum founded by Rose and her late husband. They had originally visited in 1972. And then moved to Nuku Hiva permanently in 1979.
Once ashore, we were greeted with music and dancing.
Souvenirs, food and drink were readily available.
Carvings such as this above the docking area (where the old fort once was) are common all over the island!!!
This building is a craft center and filled with wooden carvings and jewelry.
A nice little nook for a pleasant libation!!!
This is the local jail. There are 4 cells. The prisoners are free to roam and will come out to talk to the tourists. We were told there are rules; and, if broken, the prisoners are sent off to another island for more stringent resriction!!!
At this point, we set off on the 1.4 mile walk to the museum. Our second mistake of the day.
Along the walk, we had to stop for a photo of the local bank. The design reminds us of the Frank Geary Biomuseo in Panama!!!
As we moved along, we came to a cemetery. We wound up walking thru hoping to find the Herman Melville Memorial that was installed in Taiohae sometime in the 1990s. Not there. That was our 3rd failure of the day.
Continuing along, we came across a nice view of the MS Zuiderdam anchored in the bay. Decided not to crop this photo because the longboats are interesting. The tires, not so much.
Passing the Taiohae Cathedral, we chose to continue without stopping as we had been here before.
We have no idea why these colorful bits of paper are in the tree. But it is quite festive, isn’t it?!?
This is a memorial to those who died at sea.
Well, we reached the museum only to discovered the restaurant we remembered was closed and under renovation. The workers told us Rose was ill and the museum closed. Turns out that was not quite correct. We don’t know about Rose’s health; but the museum was open. We did not learn that until later. So we admired the view of the ship and chose to return to it!!!!
So, having just experienced our 4th bad of the day; and being hot and tired after a 1 1/2 mile walk, we thought of calling for a cab. No cab to be had. Our 5th failure of the day!!!
Our luck did change, as we sluggishly continued back to the dock, a local driver stopped and offered us a ride for only $10.00/per person. The entreprenurial spirit is alive and well in Nuku Hiva!!!!
It was worth the cost. We were glad to get back to the dock quickly!!!
As we boarded the tender, Shirley and David assured us they would forgive us for the errors of the day!!! Whew!!!
Our day was over.
And now, we are on our way to Papeete, Tahiti!!!

We will spend a couple of days at sea, again, as we head to Papeete, Tahiti.

Our next post will include Tahiti, Moorea, and Raiatea…..

…..before we move on to more sea days on our way to Nuku Alofa, Tonga!!!

This is fun!!!