Nuku Hiva, Marquesas, French Polynesia, 5/19/2023, National Geographic Orion
National Geographic Orion
French Polynesia & Pacific Islands
Today, National Geographic Orion arrived at the remote island of Nuku Hiva, our first island to visit in the Marquesas archipelago. We received a warm welcome by the local people when we arrived at the dock by Zodiac. We had the most incredible cultural experience when we visited their sacred banyan tree. It was a perfect introduction to the Marquesas Islands, a once in a lifetime experience here in one of the most remote paradises in the world.
Alex was born and raised in Alabama. First living in a state park on the Tennessee River then growing up on Alabama’s white sand beaches, he has always had an affinity for nature and wildlife. Alex started his professional career while studying film ...
As the sun peeked over the horizon of the beautiful Marquesas islands, National Geographic Orion launched Zodiacs to explore the uninhabited island of Moho Tani. We cruised the coastline of this rarely visited island, and some brave souls went diving below the waves to see manta rays and fish. In the afternoon, guests explored the tikis and meae of Puamau on Hiva Oa. What a day!
Today was a beautiful day on National Geographic Orion . In addition to amazing cultural activities on land, our guests had an opportunity to go scuba diving! We descended into a colorful and diverse wonderland beneath the waves filled with endemic fish, sharks, invertebrates, and even manta rays! The water was warm and clear, and we all felt so very lucky to be able to embrace this special place on Earth.
Ka Ohanui, or greetings and welcome to the smallest island of the Marquesas Archipelago. Today, National Geographic Orion arrived at the village of Vaitahu on the island of Tahuata. We were greeted with pouring rain, but this did not dampen the spirits of our guests as they rode ashore in faithful Zodiacs to attend a Sunday mass with the singing village folk. Avid birders braved the conditions in true expedition mode and ventured into the valley with ornithologist extraordinaire Santiago Imberti in search of the endemic Marquesan kingfisher, known to the Marquesas as the “Pahi.” They nailed it and spotted the majestic bird. Tahuata is known for its coconut oil fragrances, ranging from blends of tiare, ylang ylang, vanilla, and frangipani. The afternoon experience for our fortunate guests included a cultural connection with the beautiful people of the village of Hapatoni. This small village of around 129 adults and children is full of people with big, generous hearts. I have visited this village many times and am always moved by their sincere and welcoming songs and dance. Their joy and the spirit of their cheers and drums make for an amazing experience as guests are welcomed along the shore. It was equally priceless to observe our guests’ smiles and heartfelt joy. They were quick to express appreciation, as they could feel that the spirit and culture of this special place are priceless. This is a place where guests experience the magic of true culture and a unique spirit. Cheers!