Romance in the South Pacific
By Rita Cook and A. Anthony Mastracchio
What will you remember about the Marquesas Islands? Will it be the ship
you will live on for 16 days called the Aranui 3, surrounded by travelers
from around the world? Will it be the people you meet on the ship during
your honeymoon 65 people all discovering the Marquesas Islands
together with everyday being a new adventure?
Even now the Marquesas Islands are but a fond memory as we think back
on the experience at home. In fact, it is just what we think a honeymoon
should be, memories tied together unforgettable in the retelling.
While the Marquesas Islands certainly has her share of annoyances, it
also offers much more with a culture and people that are found nowhere
else on the earth.
The Aranui 3 is about the adventure, the seclusion, the rarity of this
group of islands uniquely set apart from the world and easily able to
function without the cares or worries.
All honeymoons will certainly have positives and negatives, but you can
be sure that while you will enjoy the Marquesas Islands together, you
will nevertheless have your own unique ideas formed exclusively through
the eyes of your own individual experiences.
Marquesas Islands are indeed a lonely archipelago not visited by too many
tourists and not as easy to get to as say, Bora Bora or Papeetee, Tahiti.
While some would think inconvenience its also heaven. No hawkers,
tipping, begging and on Tuesday at Hakahau the children and teenagers
alike will greet you with a constant "hello" or "Bon Jour."
The Marquesas Islands or Henua Enata "Land of Men" are at the
end of the world with only about 7000 inhabitants in all. Some of the
smaller islands are virtually untouched since the era of European discovery.
Our trip on the Aranui 3 consisted of visiting the islands of Ua Pou,
the most populated island with 2,000 people, Hakahetau, Hakahau, Nuku
Hiva, Vaitahu, Fatu Hiva, Omoa, Puamau, Ua Huka, Atuona, home of artist
Paul Gauguin and Taiohae-Taipivai, where Herman Melville spent time and
wrote his book "Typee."
Since the islands of Tahiti were so remote for many years, and still are
to a degree, the ancient sites are phenomenal and well worth the trip.
On several of the islands you will have the chance to hike into the woods
and view the Tiki sites. On Puamau there are the me'ae Iipona (ancient
temple) and the Takaii, the biggest Tiki of French Polynesia. Many of
these sites still carry the energy from human sacrifices and an intense
power that the people in this part of the world developed and maintained.
Traveling on Cargo/Passenger Ship
will find the experience of traveling on a passenger/cargo ship, well,
different. For one, our ship had cargo as varied as a coffin (for a chief
who didn't die after all), a dozen SUVs, kerosene containers and
everything in between. At each island the cargo was unloaded, it is the
only means the Marquesan people have of receiving supplies from the outside
On board there is a swimming pool, reasonable size cabins, gym and exercise
room and a lounge to read or write about your adventures.
You can pick up the ship at either Papeetee, Tahiti or on several of the
Marquesan Islands that have small airports. The latter option is good
if you dont have a full 16 days to spend aboard the ship.
Photos by A. Anthony Mastracchio
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