Les Iles Marquises

Graham Shaw
Mon 30 May 2011 19:05
Thank you to everybody who enquired - yes we did make it the last 34 miles, and have now spent a week on the island of Hiva Oa in the Marquesas group of French Polynesia.  Below is our first sight of land in twenty days:
Today it is time to move on, though, and later this afternoon we plan to go the short distance to the island of Tahuatu, just to the south of us.  We made the crossing from the Galapagos to here in twenty days, which I was quite pleased with.  The day after we arrived we walked the 4 km into town (no mean feat after sitting down for three weeks!) to check in at the Gendarmerie.  They are only open from 7am to 10am Monday to Friday, and despite it only being 0830, the policeman said they were just on their way out, and asked if we could come back the following day. Which gives you some kind of idea about the place!
The harbour at Atuona Port, Hiva Oa:
Below, spectacular views on the walk into town:
We have spent a few days relaxing, fixing minor things which broke on the way here, and generally catching up with friends.  The excitement was when the yacht "Guppy" arrived, with the young Laura Dekker aboard.  The locals were upset that they didn't know she was coming, and that they hadn't put on a big welcoming ceremony for her.  Laura speaks Dutch and English, but no French or Marquesan (the local language); the locals speak French and Marquesan, but neither English nor Dutch; and I speak French and some English, but neither Marquesan nor Dutch.  So I was enlisted to help, and translated as the Mayor of Hiva Oa took Laura and I round on tour in his 4x4, including a visit to the Gaugin Centre (the artist Paul Gaugin having been Hiva Oa's most famous resident - how do you translate Gaugin's "Maison de Jouir" to someone of Laura's age?!), a very nice lunch, many garlands of flowers and much handshaking and congratulating.  Talking of 4x4s, I reckon every other person on this island has a Land Rover.  I haven't seen so many since I was last at Garage Barrington at La Cheze in Britanny!
Laura entertaining us:
Some of the audience enjoying the music:
If anyone's worrying about Lucas being up too late, it gets dark very early here - this was taken about 6.30pm!
Right, a quick trip to town for Lucas and I to get some fresh bread while Lorraine does the laundry, and then we'll be off to our next Marquesan Island.