marquesas memories

When I read your item about the Marquesas, I really got nostalgic. I sailed from Newport Beach, California, in February of 1974 aboard our 32 foot double-ended wooden sailboat, to New Zealand. Our first stop was Taiohai Bay in the Marquesas. Just hearing about your travels there made me want to return to the Marquesas.

We were 32 days at sea on the first leg of the trip, with three of us sailing our boat, taking turns ‘on watch’. It was an exciting and wonderful experience.

The Marquesan people are so very friendly. In one bay a lady led us on a trail through an amazing green forest to a wonderful waterfall. We all had a swim in the pool at the foot of the falls. We also hiked from Taiohai Bay over the mountains on a path that the warriors of old used when on the war path from one village to another. We could still feel their energy, and it felt like we should crouch down and slink along so we wouldn’t be seen.

The story of the people is quite sad in a way. Before the white man came there were probably 100,000 people in the islands. When white man came, they brought diseases that the Marquesans had no resistance to. I believe when we were there in 1974 the population was only around 2,000 people. We would go into villages where only one or two families lived – but, there was evidence of many families having lived there – the foundations for their huts were still visible.

In any case, the scenery of the tall green mountains was some of the most wonderful scenery in the whole trip from California to New Zealand. Magnificent!!!

Jan Mabey

For information on how you can explore the remarkable Marquesas Islands today, please visit out website:
Cargo Ship Cruise – Tahiti and the Marquesas – 14 days ex Papeete

About the author

Sue Elliot - Like many of us, Sue contracted a serious travel bug at an early age. She's visited over 90 countries in search of a cure, but her wanderlust just seems to get worse. Thankfully at Intrepid Travel she's amongst people who understand the affliction and since 1998 Sue has enjoyed being our blog and newsletter editor. Here you'll find helpful travel advice and inspiring tales from Sue and other Intrepid travellers.

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Hi Jan,
The Marquesas certainly are a magnificent place and what an extraordinary adventure you had getting there! While I was there I talked with the locals about the times when the population was dramatically less. Now the villages are growing again and seem to be enjoying sustainable lifestyles, but fortunately with the growth they are retaining a strong sense of culture and community.
Thanks for sharing your wonderful travel tale,
Sue, Intrepid Express Editor

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