Nuka Hiva came into view about 7 AM. The skies were a nice blue with some puffy clouds on the horizon. The temperatures were surprisingly mild, but it was still early, and we suspected that it would get hotter as the day went on.
We dropped anchor about 7:30 AM. The tender boats were in the water shortly thereafter and headed to shore to pick up the French Polynesian immigration officials. Our scheduled arrival time was 9 AM but the Captain anticipated being able start tendering earlier. As we mentioned previously, due to the high number of four stars and above no one is offered priority tendering.
Tender tickets were going to be passed out starting at 8:30 AM by the Lido pool. This was a change from our first port when they passed out tender tickets down on Deck four in the wine bar. Passing out tender tickets by the pool was better because it was easy for everyone to see where the line started, and where the line ended. When they were passing out tender tickets from the wine bar, people would approach from different directions and the beginning of the line was not as readily apparent.
By the time I got to the Lido pool around 8:25 AM, the line wrapped about half way around the pool. The line was already moving when I arrived as they started to give out tickets before the scheduled 8:30 AM starting time. The line moved fast, and it only took me about five minutes to get to the front where I received two tender tickets: Blue 10.
They started calling tenders about 8:35 AM with groups Blue 1, 2 and 3 being the first to go. A few minutes later they called group Blue 4.
Around 10 minutes after 9 AM, Mark, the event manager, announced that they were experiencing mechanical issues with some of the tenders and until the tenders were repaired tendering would be delayed. Capt. Jonathan came on over the PA at 9:35 AM. When we heard his voice, we expected bad news, as the captain doesn’t usually come on the public-address system to say everything is great. Capt. Mercer explained that three tenders were out service due to various mechanical issues, but that the technical department was working as fast as possible bring them back into service.
They started calling groups again at 10:21 AM when they announced groups Blue 5, 6, 7 and 8. We were in group Blue 10 so we still had a few more minutes to wait. At 10:45 AM they called our group and we headed down to Deck A to board the tenders. There wasn’t any line or backup around the hallways leading to the stairway down to Deck A. We turned in our tender tickets to the crewmember minding the stairs and headed down the stairs to the tenders.
As we boarded the tender, we were surprised to see Henk, the hotel director, onboard the tender helping passengers board the tender find seats. Despite the delays all the passengers aboard our tender seemed to be in good spirits and we are soon underway to shore.
Welcome to Nuka Hiva
The tender ride took about 10 minutes. After getting off the tender, we headed down the dock where we were greeted by a welcoming committee consisting of people passing out flowers, beating drums, and singing traditional songs and chants. Once we passed by all the ceremonial well-wishers there were a half-dozen people holding signs either selling tours or trying to find people who had already prearranged a tour.
We spoke with one woman who was holding a sign advertising a taxi service which indicated that you could hire a taxi for $12 for one hour. We told her that we would take her up on her offer for one hour. After some discussion, it turned out that $12 was a per-person price with a minimum of six people required. We couldn’t find anybody willing to give us a ride down to the museum about a mile away. We would have preferred to have taken a taxi to our furthest point and then walked back, instead of walking to our furthest point with the hope of finding a taxi to ride back.
The weather was still surprisingly pleasant with the clouds providing some shade, which kept the temperatures down and there was a nice breeze to keep things cool. Every so often the clouds would clear, and we feel the full intensity of the sun and the apparent temperatures rise.
Unable to find a taxi, we started to walk towards the museum with a planned stop at the Notre Dame Cathedral at the halfway point. The total distance to the museum was only about a mile, and if it didn’t get that much hotter we figured we could walk to museum and be OK walking back if we couldn’t find a ride.
After about a quarter mile we came across the Moana Nui Restaurant/Pizzeria where we saw a passenger beckoning to us, so we crossed the street and walked to the deck of the restaurant thinking it might’ve been someone we knew. It turned out he was simply a friendly passenger waving to passersby inviting them into the restaurant/pizzeria to get a cold beer. It was still a little early for lunch, so we decided to keep walking towards the Cathedral and the museum.
The Notre Dame Cathedral is about a block off Main Street. We spent about 15 minutes wandering around the Cathedral and the grounds which is right across the street from the school which was a just letting out students for lunch.
Once we were back on the main street we spotted some workers fashioning a roof out of palm fronds. We stopped by to chat with them for a few minutes. We learned they were repairing the roof over the pavilion we were standing on.
The museum is located behind the He’e Tai Restaurant and Inn (www.marquesas-inn.com) which is also a bed and breakfast. There is a sign pointing the direction to the museum, but it is not clear you’re heading towards a museum until you’re right at the front door. The museum consists of three rooms, two of which are a gift shop with the third being the actual museum. The museum operator, Rose, also runs the restaurant and B & B. She is very friendly and will gave us a personal tour of the small collection. We took a picture with Rose and she was looking forward to getting a copy, so she could post it on her Facebook page. Rose is from Oklahoma and went to Oklahoma State University in Stillwater. She has been in Nuka Hiva for over 20 years.
Lunch in town
After our visit to the museum we walked around to the restaurant for lunch. There is an inside section but most of the tables are out on the porch. We decided to sit outside where it was quite pleasant in the shade.
The menu, which is in French, is on a large chalkboard which is moved from table to table. We recognized enough French to spot something with fish and something that was a steak and that is what we ordered. I also ordered a local beer and Judy ordered a peach flavored iced tea which was served in a can. The restaurant had free Wi-Fi with the password available on request.
The food arrived promptly and was very good. The restaurant stayed busy throughout our visit as other passengers and crew arrived.
After we paid our bill, we asked our waiter if it was possible for him to call a taxi. He said he would get one for us and asked us to wait by the street. As it turned out the taxi driver was our waiter himself in his personal car. He drove us back to the tender port area for no additional charge. On the way back, he mentioned that there was a French dignitary visiting in a few days which was why we saw so many people out sprucing things up.
He dropped us off by the post office, which was closed, and we spent the next 20 minutes walking in a big circle past the hospital and some government buildings. We then headed up a small rise that overlooked the bay where they had constructed a large Tiki statue called Tiki Tuhiva about a year ago. It is quite prominent and easily visible from the ship. The accompanying sign indicates that it is the highest contemporary sculpture in the Pacific.
As we were looking down on the Bay, we could see the tender boats going to and from the ship. We spotted an outrigger canoe that was chasing a tender, staying close behind, riding on a wake generated by the tender.
A bar/restaurant and some shops were adjacent to the pier. There were some local musicians sitting at one of the tables putting on an impromptu concert. It was quite entertaining.
Before we went back to the ship, Judy walked through the shops and picked up a T-shirt and a very nice tunic.
Once back on the ship we spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing in our cabin.
Several of the ladies from our table, bought some very nice Haku Head Leis which they had custom-made from vendors near the tender pier. We weren’t specifically looking for leis and missed these vendors even though we were in the general area. So if you’re interested in a nice Haku Lei when, you visit Nuka Hiva be sure to inquire near the pier and you’ll probably find the people selling them.
Sarah Chandler and Tom Suha were in the Queens Lounge for encore performances this evening. They both put on new shows, about 20 minutes each. Sarah is an incredible performer and we always enjoy listening to her when we have the chance. Tom Suha, is an amazing performer as well and we also enjoyed his show very much.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized