Puama’u, Hiva Oa, Marquesas

Jun 29, 2018 - National Geographic Orion

Early morning found National Geographic Orion safely anchored off the small town of Atuona on the south side of the island of Hiva Oa. Rain and squalls accompanied the wind and swell right into the small harbor here, forcing us to change our plans and abort our attempted landing. Instead we heaved anchor and cruised to the protected northern side of the island. 

Our afternoon was spent in the lovely little community of Puama’u. The town itself is absolutely beautiful, but it is the historic tohua (ceremonial ground) at Me’ae I’ipona that brought us here. This tohua has many basalt tiki figures carved from the surrounding volcanic rock. The largest one measures 246 centimeters (about 8 feet) in height! 

On the way back to the ship, many of us stopped off for a quick swim and some body surfing on the beach.

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About the Author

Michael Nolan

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Michael Nolan was born in Bitburg, Germany to an Air Force family stationed there. His first experience of the ocean came at age 12, when he learned to snorkel in the Italian Mediterranean. At age 17 he moved to Tucson, Arizona and became a PADI SCUBA instructor, before starting a SCUBA diving business that specialized in diving trips to the Sea of Cortez.

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