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.
This holiday adventure had been a long time in the planning. Having a keen interest in Polynesian culture, and specifically being great admirers of the artisans who continue the traditions of tiki carving, our dream was to visit the Marquesas Islands.
This isn’t your everyday travel destination and is certainly not on the regular tourist route. The most common question when people heard where we were going was “Where’s that?” The Marquesas Islands are part of French Polynesia and sit 1500 km (800 nautical miles) northeast of Tahiti and just 6 degrees below the Equator. Although supplies come via Papeete, and this is where children usually go for higher education or where more advanced medical services are available, in many ways the Marquesas are worlds away from Tahiti. The Marquesans have their own language, unique customs and even the climate is different (often less humid and drier on some islands).
The Travel Lab’s Jacquie Burnside hadn’t been back to Bali for 13 years, but she finally put that right last week! It took Bali Bootcamp to get her there, but now she can’t believe she left it so long…
“The minute I stepped off the plane I had a smile a mile wide recalling all the fun times spent on previous trips, the warm and inviting Balinese hospitality and the shy but playful local characters. I was greeted by that very Balinese smell of kretek, clove cigarettes, and air thick with the fragrance of recent rain and there was Made, the cheerful driver sent by the guesthouse to transfer me from the airport.
Ah Bali, beautiful Bali! Where culture, religion and daily life are as one. Where the rice paddies are impossibly green, where the people are so friendly and welcoming you feel immediately at home and where I could happily hang my hat and never leave! The pace of life slows, the head clears and that smile…well, it stays a mile wide for the duration of my stay.