Day 16 (Jan 19 - Nuku Hiva)

Land at last. I must have been excited. I actually set an alarm for 6 AM. Yes it's true! I was on deck by 6:15!!! Yea me! It was worth it. We were approaching the island and far enough away that I got the full effect (well, except for someone shouting, "Land ho!" from the crow's nest. That didn't happen.) It was interesting to note the changes as we got closer. At first the island looked like a rock - no green or any distinguishable features other than the obvious prehistoric volcanic shape of the peaks. Then a little pale green and some more features. Slowly we could see the inlet opening and a few sailboats already in the harbor. Moving that big ship into such a small harbor is a very impressive thing.

Being up so early I had breakfast on the Lido deck with Claire (she showed up on deck about the same time I did).

Then it was to the tenders to head ashore. Nuku Hiva look out!

Technically the town name is Taiokae. It is the capitol "city" of the Marquesas. There are six inhabited islands in the group and the total population is less than 10,000.

We were not led to believe there was much to do here and they didn't mislead us. I walked through the very few shops at the pier and then started down the road. No, I didn't say the main road. Just the road. Only one and it is pretty short. To be fair, there were a few side roads along the way. Most of them just went a few hundred yards but one went to the interior of the island where they say considerable farming takes place. Most of the roads are not paved. There wasn't
much reason to rent a car or hire a cab. There are some pretty old archeology sites on the other side of the island but that didn't call to me or anyone else I talked to. I just walked west along the road.

Saw a memorial to the French soldiers and sailors who died between the mid 1800's and 1924. The lettering is almost worn off and in French but I managed to decipher it. Visited the Notre Dame Cathedral here. It is actually very nice and somewhat inspiring. It was built with stones from all the Marquesas Islands. I walked a little further and found a cemetary. Looked for Gauguin's grave and a singer named Brel. The information we had was not clear but I knew they were buried in the Marquesas. At dinner tonight Jack said they were buried on a different island in the group. Oh well. I paid respects to maybe 30-40 graves but no celebrities. Lots of stickers on my shoes and jeans. Oh, the temp and humidity were not nice. To be expected in the middle of an ocean this close to the equator. I ran into Claire and Daphne on my way back to the ship. We stopped at the closest thing to a convenience store here. Bought a local (well if Tahiti is local) beer. I now have two empty cans in my collection. Apparently Nuku Hiva and the Marquesas don't have a brewery. This beer wasn't as good as the Cerveza Panama. The brand name was Hinana. Considering the heat and exertion of walking a couple of miles more or less that beer should have tasted better. I'm sure there are better things to drink in Tahiti. I hear they have a vanilla rum fruit punch that is tasty. I'll have to try it day after tomorrow. Incidentally, our arrival time at Tahiti has been changed. We will be there at about 8 AM. That's good because we have to meet the SCUBA people there at 9. That would have been difficult had we arrived at the originally scheduled time, 12 noon. Bought a postcard at the store for $1. That might sound expensive but the ones at the dock were $2! Reminds me of the story about the Cadillac dealer who was seling cars for $1,000,000 apiece. Someone told him he wasn't going to sell many cars at that price and his response was that he didn't need to. Apparently they don't see many ships our size here. They knew we were coming three months ago so they had plenty of time to mark the prices up a bit. Walk a little, save a lot is my new motto. Didn't buy any souvenirs here. I looked at stuff but decided there would be more, nicer and probably less expensive in Tahiti, Moorea or Bora Bora.

Apparently all our ship's company was ready to leave sooner than scheduled because we pulled out a full 45 minutes before scheduled. They check our id's leaving and returning so the computer can tell them if anyone is still onshore. No point in hanging around if all hands have returned I suppose.

I tried to check the pictures on the site and gave up after a few minutes. It seemed to be just spinning its wheels. This system has limited bandwith and just makes you wait if it is busy and eventually cuts you off. I have spent too much time just waiting only to get a message saying the server was too busy after seven minutes or so. I'm learning I suppose. It was my intent to try to scale down some pictures from today and post them. I may still try but I can't promise anything. The scenery was pretty and interesting but nothing fantastic. You could rent the movie South Pacific and see as good or better.

Dinner was good tonight. They have very creative menus. The desert I tried tonight was a Cherry Blossom Sundae. Didn't have any cherry blossoms in it at all. Had green tea icecream, saki, and crispy lotus root! Sounded so weird I had to order it just to see it. It turned out to be so good I ate it all. Shame on me.

Well, that's about it for today. Another port checked off. I think that leaves 34 more to go.

Hope you are all doing well.

10:06 PM 10º 02.88' S 141º 26.09'

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