Thursday, May 5, 2016

Nuku Hiva, Marquesas

Our last port stop before heading home towards the States was on the island of Nuku Hiva.  Part of the Marquesas Islands.  Nuku Hiva is called the Mystical Island.  It's also been known to have the reputation of being the cannibal island.  There's a story that says that tiny people called menehune came to Marquesas and were massacred almost to the point of extinction.  The survivors went into hiding deep inside the island and are said to come out at night and capture little children and take them away and eat them.  Ack!!! Now that's a scary bedtime story.  It is also said that on some of the smaller islands in the Marquesas (not Nuku Hiva), that cannibalism may still exist. We were advised to stay in groups and not venture too far inland, hahahahahaha!

I was excited to visit this island because I'm a HUGE Survivor fan (the TV show) and Season 4 was filmed on Nuku Hiva.  AND.....our tour guide Richard was one of the scouts that found the tribes' campsites, etc.  He took us to the overlook of one of the beaches used in the show.  I really got a kick out of that!

We had a great day, in part because it was our last island before returning to San Diego and also because it was an drop dead gorgeous day - sunny and clear, somewhat cool breezes now and then.  It was hot though, I won't lie.  But well worth getting off the ship, onto a tender and heading over to the island.  I had organized a half day tour with Richard of Temarana Tours.  There were 22 of us and he had a caravan of jeeps waiting for us.  There is not much infrastructure on the island to handle large amounts of passengers from cruise ships - no big buses, etc., so most people involved in providing tours use their own cars.  Richard had 6 jeeps/vans waiting for us and off we went.

The roads were mostly paved so our jeep ride wasn't too bumpy at the beginning.  This is our first lookout vista stop.  You can see the ship way down there!!!!!

This is Richard.  Such a nice guy.

We found a small reptile! Gecko?  Plain lizard?

This is the Survivor beach!!!!  There was a village nearby, around the bend of the little bay there, but the Survivor tribes had no idea one was so close.

This is such a pretty island!!

Snort approved.  And he was happy to get off the ship for the day!  He got tired of hanging out with the towel animals in my cabin all day!!

We visited an old temple meeting area - lots of mosquitos there!  I have about a dozen bites to prove it, and that was after spraying organic coconut oil and citronella.  Yes, it worked, but not 100%.

An old hieroglyphic

I came across this coconut trying to grow itself a new trunk....

This was the beach at the village we stopped in, just around the corner from the Survivor camp.

Village church

Village post office.

My friends and dinner table mates Dwight and Annie.

On our way back down the mountains we saw this mama wild boar with her babies.  She was not amused by us stopping.

Cathedral Del Norte - the Catholic church in town.  It was beautiful inside - made with local woods.  And open air.

Doesn't matter where you are in the world -- there are always kids that are smiling and curious!

Moorea - can you say RAIN RAIN RAIN????

I awoke about 6:00 AM and pulled on my walking clothes to head out to the promenade deck for my morning stroll.  I seem to just want to stroll this trip rather than pound out the 5k that I normally would do while on a cruise.  I gave in to my body's request and lolly-gagged my way up to the outside deck.

What greeted me was a beautiful sunrise over the mountains of this lovely island called Mo 'orea!

"Well", I thought to myself, "this is nice."

I was encouraged by the nice weather, as we had been warned that a storm might be brewing and coming our way.  I had two tours booked today - a morning snorkeling trip out on the reef, followed by an afternoon tour into the interior of the island via 4x4 jeep.  There are some wonderful vistas on the island - 2 well known places - one called Belvedere Point, the other Magic Mountain.  I was looking forward to some sunny shots!

We tendered off pretty early and I joined my snorkeling tour right off the tender at the dock.  The water was so clear and pretty!  I brought Snort along for the day and he, too, was pretty amped for the snorkeling.

View of the reef

The Intercontinental Hotel - overwater bungalows.  I could totally unwind here.

Our snorkeling area.  Let the arrival of the sting rays and sharks begin!

Such beautiful and gentle creatures.

And well, the sharks were very well behaved.

Uh oh.  Is that a storm coming our way???????

About the time we were winding up our snorkeling adventures, those dark clouds were upon us and the rain began to come down quite heavily.  Good thing we were already wet!

We got back on the catamaran and trudged our way through the heavy rain back to the port and dock area.  My towel was so wet that I was able to wring at least a quart of water out of it.  I had a set of dry clothes secured in plastic inside my now very wet backpack, but the towel did me no good whatsover.  And it now weighed about 10 pounds.  Yikes!  After I changed into dry clothes, I went out to find out if my afternoon 4x4 tour was still on or was it cancelled.  Still on!!  Joy!!!  4 hours of more rain and mud and....... FUN!!!!

Here's a view from atop Magic Mountain.  Interestingly enough, every time we stopped at a vista or place to get out and tour or view, the rains let up.  But only for a few minutes!

This hat (thanks Daddy, for the awesome Tilly hat you left me) really saved my you-know-what.  It kept my face and glasses dry.

Views from Belvedere Point.

This was a small vanilla greenhouse we visited.  I'd never seen how vanilla grows before.  They remind me of pole beans.

A not-ready-yet vanilla bean.  Oh, wait, CLICK!  No wonder they remind me of pole beans....they ARE beans!!!!  Gosh, I just get smarter and smarter the older I become......... bahahahahahaha!

Okay, my very own coconut.  The guy poked a hole in it and the water inside was really yummy.

Another pretty vista

This was our 4x4.  Bumpy and wet, but a lot of fun.

Now that I finished my coconut water, the guy cut up the meat for me to eat!  Double yum!

This is our guide and driver.  We were out in a pineapple plantation and he was explaining to us how the plants grow, etc.  It was so pretty out there!

Because of the rain, we had to cross a few little "rivers."  This was a shot of the jeep behind us.

Our last stop was at this pretty and peaceful black sand beach.

So, even with the rains, I considered Moorea to be one of my best days on the cruise so far!  If you know me, you know I love the rain, so maybe other people wouldn't have appreciated it as much that day as I, but it didn't "dampen" my spirits at all!