Day 4: Nuku Hiva (Taiohae-Hatiheu-Taipivai)
Be out on deck to fully appreciate our arrival into Taiohae’s spectacular bay, a giant volcanic amphitheater dominated by towering cliffs streaked with waterfalls. As the Aranui unloads its freight, you can explore Taiohae, the Marquesas’ small administrative center.
Taiohae Bay is where 23-year-old Herman Melville and his buddy jumped a whaling ship in 1842. Follow their escape route by 4-wheel drive along steep, winding dirt mountain roads to the village of Hatiheu to visit the archaeological site of Kamuihei.
Lunch will be served at Yvonne’s Restaurant, one of the best in the Marquesas. Here, the specialty is the “Hima’a”, where food is cooked for hours in an underground oven. You will meet the owner and Chef, Yvonne, who also happens to be the town’s energetic former mayor.
After lunch, travel to Taipivai Valley. The area is dotted with stone tikis and sacred ritual sites (me’ae) and immense stone platforms (paepae) on which the Taipi built their houses. Enigmatic petroglyphs of birds, sacred turtles and fish are carved on huge boulders. Hikers can take a steep trail to visit the Paeke site.
The Aranui’s whaleboats will pick you up from Taipivai Beach (the ship will be anchored in the bay).
Please note this is a wet boarding.