Tahuata and Ua Huka

Starting from Fatu Hiva, we headed towards the island of Tahuata where we had been told it would be possible to swim with Manta Rays (a species of giant rays). Upon arriving north of the island in Hanamoenoa Bay, we indeed noticed intense snorkeling activity: everyone searching for the big fish!

Of course, thanks to the transparency and warm temperature of the water, we also indulged in long snorkeling sessions. Unfortunately, though, we only managed to see various fish, none particularly colorful, and not a trace of Mantas. So, a bit disappointed, we decided to make the most of our stopover by inaugurating the two-person inflatable kayak that we had brought with us as one of the many items from Italy. With instructions and pump in hand, we managed to inflate and assemble the various parts without difficulty.

The water trial proved more challenging than expected due to the balance and experience required to paddle the kayak without capsizing in the waves. Nonetheless, we managed to reach and land on the beach without any issues. Upon returning to the boat, we found a spot on deck to secure it.

On May 30th, we set sail towards Ua Huka. This island in the Marquesas is less frequented by sailors because it’s a bit off the beaten path, but certainly no less interesting for that reason. We experienced this firsthand in the following days, discovering not only the island’s unique beauty, different from the others, but also the genuine warmth and hospitality of its people.

The wild and sometimes arid nature of the terrain immediately strikes you, partly caused by the overpopulation of goats and wild horses. However, there is a successful campaign underway to control the rat population, which has become highly invasive on other islands in the archipelago.

Hane bay

The bay of Hane, where we anchored, was quite far from the main village we wanted to visit, so we decided to hitchhike. This allowed us to experience the great generosity and hospitality of the islanders, who consistently stopped to give us a ride on this and other occasions. The first person who picked us up explained that we wouldn’t find anyone in the village because most of the islanders had gathered near the airport to celebrate Women’s Day, a three-day event attended by associations from Nuku Hiva and Ua Pou, two other islands in the archipelago.

Of course, we were happy to change our plans and join the festivities, which were packed with events including traditional dances and music, workshops for massages and beauty treatments, tables for tasting local products, and importantly, a presentation by a doctor from Tahiti on the importance of breast cancer prevention through education.

Adjacent to the event venue is the island museum, which, though small, exhibits fascinating artifacts depicting various objects of Marquesan culture and tradition.

In the following two days, we had more very positive experiences with the island and its people. We attended Sunday Mass where, among other things, we appreciated the quality and engagement of the congregation in singing Catholic hymns adapted with local cultural influences.

The Sunday Mass in the church of Hokatu

On our way back, we stopped to listen to music coming from a terrace where a very kind lady invited us to join. The music was played by a friendly man with an ukulele (do you remember “Some Like It Hot”?), accompanied on guitar by a friend. However, the true star of the scene was a two-year-old girl who, in perfect Marquesan tradition, was already moving to the rhythm of the music.

As we headed back to our bay, we again asked for a ride from a young couple and inquired where we could buy some fruit. Instead of directing us to a market, they invited us to come by the next morning to receive fruit from their garden. True to their word, the next morning we met Maurice, who generously showered us with mangoes, papayas, bananas, grapefruits, and lemons. What incredible generosity!

Maurice, who brought us a bunch of bananas and a sack full of grapefruits from his garden.

We spent the morning before departure visiting the Ua Huka Arboretum, where we not only admired the variety of fruit plants but also had the opportunity to pick mangoes, lemons, and “pomelo” (another variety of grapefruit) as part of the tour activities!

Fatu Hiva, the most beautiful of the Marquesas
Nuku Hiva and Ua Pou


  • Commenter's Avatar
    Marcel Gyger — June 19, 2024 at 9:31 am

    Dear Gemma and Sergio, fantastic trip and blog. We can travel by mind thanks your descriptions pictures and videos. Great. I was always postponing my visit to your website. Finally today going back home from the alps by public transportation I enjoyed reading your adventures. I notice that rats can be either lab animals or pests!!!! The drawings on tree skin was quite fascinating. And the drawings reminds me some drawings of US west coast Indian populations in Oregon and other places. Very interesting. Enjoy your sailing and discoveries. Cheers and hugs from M&S

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