Hiva Oa, Marquesas, French Polynesia

Aug 24, 2018 - National Geographic Orion


Today we arrived at 6:00 a.m. and to greet us was the Garden Isle of the Marquesas, Hiva Oa. Hiva Oa is also known to the local people of this land as the main structural beam of the house of the ancient gods. In Marquesan mythology, it was said that the islands of the Marquesas were the structural foundation of a sacred house put together by the gods. Each island had an important part to play in terms of representing the harmony and sacredness of the Marquesan people and their livelihood.

To start off the day we commenced with a 6:00 a.m. snorkel just as the sun rose on the horizon. The main attraction being the “Magic carpets” of the ocean, the majestic manta ray.

All you could hear from the safety boats were the squeals and screams of excited guests in the water as these royal animals of the sea glided by.

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About the Author

Tua Pittman

Cultural Specialist

Internationally acclaimed as a traditional master navigator, Tua has navigated canoes across the great oceans of our planet from the coastlines of Asia through to the shores of the Americas for more than 30 years, without the use of modern instruments. This Cook Islander, also of New Zealand Maori and Tahitian bloodlines, uses an ancient navigational system based upon careful observation of celestial bodies—sun, moon, and stars—as well as using ocean swells, flight patterns of birds, and other natural markers. 

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