The magical Marquesas26 May 2017 Go back
On Tuesday 25th April Oyster 725-03 On Liberty, the first of the Oyster World Rally fleet, arrived in Nuku Hiva – a beautiful French Polynesian island boasting lush green valleys, dramatic waterfalls and razor-edged basaltic cliffs. On Liberty was soon followed into Taiohae Bay – Nuku Hiva’s capital – by Elise Oyster 66-05, Oregon Native Oyster 56-43 and Enso Oyster 825-06. Within the next two weeks, the Oyster fleet were well and truly gracing the Marquesas Islands with their presence, successfully completing their Pacific Ocean Crossing and sailing proudly into Hiva Oa and Nuku Hiva to complete clearance formalities. This process was a smooth operation with thanks to Laurent Bernaert of Polynesia Yacht Services and his representatives in both islands – Kevin Ellis (Yacht Services Nuku Hiva) and Sandra Wullaert (Hiva Oa Yacht Services).
On the 11th May the Aranui 5 cargo/passenger vessel arrived in Taiohae bay. This iconic ship has been supplying the remote islands of the Marquesas for over 30 years and this remains its primary purpose. The Oyster fleet received an exclusive invitation to go on-board and meet Pierre Ottino, a locally renowned research lecturer who has spent over 15 years studying the archaeological sites of the Marquesas. Guests were captivated by his presentation on the history of the islands and their culture, showing his works over the years and how these have inspired islanders to embrace their heritage. Following the presentation, a tour of the boat was given before it set off back towards Tahiti and Bora Bora, continuing on it’s mission.
On Saturday 13th May all Oyster World Rally skippers were invited to a special briefing held by Stephanie Betz from Archipelagos. The briefing covered the passage from the Marquesas to the Tuamotu Islands and beyond. Detailed tide times, local contacts and general advice were given on several of the atolls which the fleet will be visiting over the coming weeks. The briefing was followed by an afternoon of festivities on the beach and gardens around the dockyard. Guests were welcomed by traditional Marquesan dancers, given handmade seed necklaces and a fresh coconut to drink on arrival. The Committee of Tourism in Nuku Hiva arranged for local craftsmen and women to demonstrate their skills, encouraging guests to try making their own basket or seed necklace, as well as taste various locally grown fruits on display. In the evening, all enjoyed a full Marquesan dance show to the powerful beat of the bass drum. Particularly captivating were the bird and pig dance. This incredible performance was followed by a traditional feast of goat, pig and fruits de mer cooked in an earth oven, a fire dance and a DJ late into the night. A fabulous and fun day was had by all, and some lasting memories of an amazing ‘Welcome to French Polynesia’ were made.
Oyster 54-18 Talaba have summed up their visit to the Marquesas: “The Marquesas are magical, after 3000 nm at sea we arrived into a spectacular scenery. The past 2 weeks we visited Fatu Hiva, Hiva Oa, Tuhuata, Ua Pou and Nuku Hiva, all have so much to offer. The Islands are unspoiled, the vegetation is incredible, trees, flowers and fruits everywhere and the people are so friendly. In the Marquesas you cannot pass anyone without greeting and people chat to you along the way, imagine we exchanged a rash guard t-shirt against fruits and veggies. We could spend months here, … but the Tuamotu’s are waiting.”