Oa Hiva - The island where time stands still
After five unforgettable outings in Nuku Hiva, I have already come to love the Marquesas Islands. However, all good things must come to an end, so that there will be no restrictions on the eleventh and last of the islands we will be exploring in France. This is another of the islands of Morocco that stands out for the name.
Jungled summits, cove after cove of secluded towns where the clock is ticking and antique NBA superstar-size sculptures - Hiva Oa is unmissable! Nuku Hiva is the third largest French Polynesian isle, after her big northern sibling - Nuku Hiva.
There is hardly anyone on an islet that has been shaped so nicely by vulcanic activities over million of years. So I came with a fast airplane from Nuku Hiva to Hiva and thought about what Alvane still does today. Nuku Hiva's thoughts were quickly superseded by agitation when the airplane landed over Hiva Oa.
It is the only shallow stretch of ground on Hiva Oa, so there is no other option but to construct the airstrip here. Out of all the beautiful guesthouses I have visited in Polynesia, Tania's Platz won the first place for panorama view. Scenic harbor, luscious mountain scenery and even the remote Tahuata Islands - everything seems within easy grasp.
And even with this magnificent panorama, it's still primordial Atuona. In the 1890s, after a stay in Tahiti, Gauguin moved to Hiva Oa with the hope that he could "get lost" and concentrate on his work. This man who was in charge of so many romantic scenes, separations and everything in between, came to Hiva Oa in quest of a normal man's world.
At Hiva Oa, the dead are also awarded with everlasting panorama vistas. I have bragged about the famous regional dishes of Polynesia, so Tania was great enough to tell us her clues. I' ve not seen it since this magic weekend on the island of Ofu in American Samoa.
PIPAFA organized a fishermen' s vessel that took a pile of us across the 4 km long canal to the neighbouring island of Tahuata. After Maupiti Island we were accompanied by a couple of mantas from the harbour that we hadn't seen since Maupiti Island. Then we traversed Ta'a Oa Bay, which is actually the ocean-filled craters of an extinguished lava.
We were washed by the rocks and the scene around us made everything look like we were somewhere in England or Ireland. These are the Marquesas Islands; each one is like a packet of completely different natural elements from all parts of the world. Of course there was the tiaré blossom - used for perfume and monoï, savage rose - which believe it or not, can be used as an anti-septic when there is no dental practice, veri - with its nasty odor (like cream cheese) but wonderful capacity to heal diseases, corosole - a prickly but flawless jam tree and last but not least the tamano - whose essential oils are ideal for massage and marmalade.
When Pifa and the boys prepared our lunches, we had the opportunity to discover the surrounding area and take a bath. He is one of the most prestigious riders in Polynesia. Discover the Isle on horse back - one of the most important activities in Hiva Oa. So when a married pair from France chose to stop, an expert Belgium driver and I took our opportunities.
We smell sulfur from an submarine vulcano somewhere in the sea between Hiva Oa and the Isle of Fatu Hiva - about 90 km away. A few million years from now, a brandnew isle will come to the top! There is a nice little cathedral (of course), which is actually one of the most frequently taken photos in France.
Go to the next page and discover the savage side of Hiva Oa!