Nuku Hiva 8°52′S 140°08′W

[Visited Jan. 13. Finally posted Jan. 15. Passepartout has moved her office to Deck 1, nearer the internet mother ship… and the real espresso machine.]

How many of you have heard of this island? I didn’t think so. But you have probably heard of Melville’s early book. Wiki: ‘Herman Melville wrote his book Typee based on his experiences in the Taipivai valley in the eastern part of Nuku Hiva. Robert Louis Stevenson’s first landfall on his voyage on the Casco was at Hatihe’u, on the north side of Nuku Hiva, in 1888.’ Only 20 to 30 cruise ships visit Nuku Hiva every YEAR. It is not a cruise hot spot. There were two shore excursion choices: the included tour was an unguided walk around the little town of Taiohae and, if you were so inclined, a short trek up some winding side roads. The paid-for excursion was a 3+-hour trek all over the island in a 4x4, 4- or 5-passenger pickup. With A/C, which we appreciated, since most of us were fully clothed.

Here are assorted scenes of the island, which is the largest in the Marquesas group. Did I mention it’s ‘a collectivity of France’? More on that in a bit... View from the ship nearing port. Port turned out to be an inlet, as you’ll see a few photos hence.

The sides of the mountain were all brown. Isn’t this supposed to be a lush green paradise? What gives?

Welcoming committee (which included the Illustrated Man above).

Our caravan of around 20 pick-ups climbed the narrow, steep road to the top of the island, where we got this view of our tiny ship in the harbor. As we climbed, there was more greenery.

We crossed the top of the mountain and descended the other side. There are two microclimates: the side we’d anchored on has been suffering from a long drought and desperately needs rain, so it’s almost totally brown. It’s not due to climate change, just topography. The top of the mountain is cooler and cloudier, and the other side of the mountain gets rain. Including a tropical downpour while we were sheltering under the thatched long house. Our tattooed tour guide Kimi gesturing ‘Come on now!’…

… just before the cloudburst, which lasted about 10 minutes.

< Note the solar panel behind the statue. It powers the ‘streetlight’ that illuminates this playing field/ community gathering place.

Local house with TV dish. We didn’t see many dishes, though the houses did have power lines from the road.

At the beach. Some pollution... and a mudbath.

Photo off the ’net... this is what we’d expected to see all over the island.

Another ’net photo: There are wild horses, cows, pigs and boars all over. On our way back down the mountain, we passed a driveway where two men were washing a just-dispatched pig. Our driver announced, ‘Barbeque.’ And speaking of our driver, Sid. He’s a retired IT guy who worked in French Guiana and the Ivory Coast before ditching all that (and his first wife) and moving to Paradise. As soon as we got into his truck he announced, ‘I don't speak English much.’ To which I replied, ’Pas de problème. Je parle français.’ And so it went for 2+ hours, me translating his commentary and translating the other passengers’ questions and his replies. I can’t speak for the others, but I had a great time! #

©2017, 2018 Susan Nash/PassePartout
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