February 24, 2018
A leisurely morning with airport transfer at 10 am. The transfer was for 5 people, including JP from England and his partner Marketa from the Czech Republic. They have been traveling since December and will be returning to England in May. They are professional travel photographers armed with cameras and drone. Very fun and interesting travel companions. They are traveling to Hiva Oa with us on the little Twin Otter, 18 seater with open cockpit. John did the safety spiel, quite a good job of it too! After all our flights (19 by the time we get home), I think we have it down.
It’s hard to believe, but Hiva Oa is even more dramatic and visually stunning than Nuku Hiva. The Marquesa Islands are volcanic with no lagoons and black sand beaches. Not snorkeling country as you can’t see much in the water because of the black sand bottom and the water is much deeper right off the shore.
We are staying in the Hanakee Pearl Lodge, sister to the Pearl Lodge in Nuku Hiva. This hotel was sold to the manager Jean Jacque from France after he had been here for a few years turning the operation around. He and his wife are wonderful hosts. Jean Jacque spreaks English, but most of the staff and his wife are strictly Marqesan and French speakers.
Jean Jacque was kind enough to give us a ride down to the village of Atuona, 3 miles distant, and pick us up after 1 1/2 hours. This administrative center for the island was the last home of Paul Gauguin, who died here in 1903. We had a nice walk with ocean breezes keeping us cool in the sun. The Protestant church was our favorite, plus it had Pete’s name on the front. Weekends in the islands are very slow, with few stores or cultural centers open. We are hoping to see the Paul Gauguin Cultural Center on Tuesday when it is open.
One of the young ladies on the waterfront told us about a Ukulele concert, so off we went to listen to some local music. The players were a mix of nationalities and were having a lot of fun.
The restaurant here keeps strictly European hours: breakfast from 7 to 9 am, lunch from 12 to 2 pm and dinner from 7 to 9 pm. This is messing with our two meal a day program. It was a long hungry day between breakfast and dinner today. Sunday has a brunch with extended hours, so we are planning on a late breakfast to get us through the day.
February 25, 2018
On Sunday there is even less going on, excepting church and of course our hotel that has to feed and water us. Many locals are here this morning, enjoying brunch and letting their kids enjoy the infinity pool. Pete took the picture of me off the our bungalow balcony.
Tomorrow we are off on a boating adventure to the local island of Tahuata and hopefully some swimming.