The Marquesas 2022, part 1


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May 2022, we entered the Marquesas Islands. Sailing close to 4000 nautical miles from Panama to Nuku Hiva, we arrived in Nuku Hiva after 28 days at sea. Like the cliché text goes: ‘Then the majestic mountains of the Marquesas rose up out of the sea’.

It was not exactly that, it was early in the morning, we had seen an Island for hours already and it depends on what your reference towards mountains is. That said, it was an awesome site to sailing the Islands, coming closer and closer and finally seeing the colour green again.


Arriving in Nuku Hiva

Below is a gallery the first day after our arrival. Click on the first picture and see them in full screen.

Festivals and drums

After days of not doing much other than sleeping, going to some stores and enjoying just the scenery, we were told there was a festival coming up. This was the first of two we enjoyed on Nuku Hiva. As 2022 was the year of the Marquesan Art festival, there was a lot of practicing with drums and dance already going on. We had our first real encounter on this Island, meeting the people of the Marquesas during these festivals. They have a reputation for being very nice people and we contribute to that reputation.

What a nice atmosphere, what friendly people. It makes you realize we have lost something in our normal contact with each other. The Marquesan people are remarkable and proud people of their own culture that is really expressed in Matatiki; their graphical art, expressed in sculpture of hard materials, tattooing on skin or plant fabric and petroglyphs (burning reliefs in hard material or for Tapa (bark fabric). Their culture is also very much alive and expressed in their traditional Haka’s and songs. The Tiki (the first of men) is a primary subject for sculpture carving. The Marquesas are truly famous for their art. More about Tiki you will find on Wikipedia here

This links to a separate page of the song and dances that made a lasting impression on us. Next to being at two festivals in Nuku Hiva, one of one day and one of three days. We were so lucky to see the general reptation for the village in Ua Pou to be performed at the upcoming Art festival.

See gallery, click on the first picture and see them in full screen.

Anaho Bay

After weeks hanging around in the main city, we moved. This bay is on the north side. Wind is mostly coming from the east or south, especially big storms. So, we wanted to check out how this ‘save haven’ would be as the main bay in Nuku Hiva is open to south winds.

Anaho bay is very remote. You can only acces it by boat, foot or horse. Transport by horse over a steep mountain trail.

This bay is a jewel. So quiet and very, very nice. We stayed about three weeks. Almost no internet or none, no shops but you could walk to a vegetable farm or climb over the mountain and go to the village on the other side. Nice little settlement and we shared time here with friends we met in Nuku Hiva. Absolutely great place and something you expect when there is talk of a remote place.

See gallery. Click on the first picture and see them in full screen.

Nuku Hiva inland

After some time, you have to go back to arrange some things. Dropping garbage, filling gas bottles and getting new provisions. We sailed back to the main village in Nuku Hiva.

latest studies indicated that people inhabited these Islands from west Polynesia some 2000 years ago. At one time the first European estimated there would be 50.000 to 100.000 people on this Island. That is a lot of people on a smal Island. Food became very important and there is limited space because of the steep mountain terrain. There were lots of battles between different tribes, a warrior culture evolved.

It is thought that the commercial shipping for sandalwood, whaling ships and a slave ship from Peru, bringing some enslaved people back, brought the epidemic deceases that killed nine out of ten Polynesians. The estimated population in 1820 about 100.000, in 1872 declined to 6.000 and its lowest point in 1922 to only 2.200 people. Ultimately two French doctors toured the islands to give vaccinations and medical care to stop this. A counting in 2017 counted around 3000 people on Nuku Hiva and 9300 in the the Marquesas in total.

When you see the inland you can easely imagine there is space for many more people.

More on Nuku Hiva: Wikipedia

See gallery. Click on the first picture and see them in full screen.

Daniels Bay, Nuku Hiva

Secluded anchorage feels like being in a crater. This bay is also the excess to a beautiful canyon to a well-known waterval. Unfortunately, the last part was not accessible so that waterfall is still on the list….

See gallery. Click on the first picture and see them in full screen

Continue on next blog part 2

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