Day 6: Tahuata (Vaitahu) & Hiva Oa (Atuona)
In the morning, the Aranui will anchor off the small island of Tahuata. On this leaf-shaped island, the air is thick with the fragrant scent of tiare, frangipani and history.
In 1595, Spanish explorers landed in the village of Vaitahu and opened fire on a crowd of curious islanders, killing about 200. Tahuata is also the site of the first French settlement in the Marquesas in 1842. The large church built by the Vatican, is decorated with beautiful Marquesan carvings and a stunning stained glass window.
Tahuata is famous for its exquisite bone and helmet shell carvings. There will be many to choose from in the village.
Back on board by 10:00am to sail to the island of Hiva Oa.
Hiva Oa (Atuona)
Atuona, the second largest village in the Marquesas, is where artist Paul Gauguin lived and did some of his best work. Visit the colonial store where Gauguin shopped, as well as a replica of the Impressionist’s infamous “House of Pleasure” and the adjoining museum. As you walk up the hill to the cemetery, take time to enjoy sweeping views of the bay.
Beneath a huge frangipani tree is a tombstone with the simple words: Paul Gauguin 1903. Nearby, pay homage to another famous European who was also seduced by Hiva Oa: Belgian singer-composer Jacques Brel, who died in 1978.
You will enjoy a lavish Marquesan lunch at Hoa Nui, a family-run restaurant. There will be free time in the village in the afternoon or for the most active, a beautiful hike to a scenic viewpoint (scale of difficulty 7/10).