The Marquesas Islands were discovered by the Spanish explorer Álvaro de Mendaña de Neira on July 21, 1595. The relationship between Marquesians and Europeans has been historically rocky, with this area being one of the last to submit to European rule. The islands themselves, true to this spirit, remain simply places where people live, not succumbing to the financial lure of the ersatz tourist trap culture. The ms Marina stopped by on January 31, 2016 for an overnight stay.
The Marquesas Islands, located to the north east of Tahiti find themselves in cooler waters brought from the Antarctic by the Humboldt Current. The temperature difference is sufficient to thwart the growth of coral, As a result, there are no coral reefs surrounding the island, as you can see from the above.
Notre Dame Cathedral is a must-see for the beautiful wood carvings that adorn this 1977 structure. Above is the baptistry. In addition the twelve stations of the cross plus a pulpit are all carved with a unique Polynesian flavour.
Temehea Tohua, a stone’s throw from the cathedral, harkens back to the original spirituality of the islands. This area was reconstructed from artifacts strewn to the winds by well intentioned missionaries, and as a result is probably not archeologically accurate. For our purposes, however, it provided an interesting lens with which to view the past.
The site has a vital role in the current society, a focus in keeping the Polynesian traditions alive in the youth population. Above, a performance of the dances of their ancestors, the unparalleled navigators of the Pacific Ocean.
It is worth the short cab drive up the mountain for the superb view of the harbour. Above, the ms Marina lies contently at anchor.
A little further along the same road we find the Talpivai Valley, looking much the same as when Álvaro de Mendaña de Neira arrived some 520 years ago!