Friday December 18, we checked in with the Gendarmerie, passports stamped.
Nuku Hiva is the largest island in French Polynesia. In 1843, the Marquesas Islands were taken over by the French and still ruled in part by France as well a local government.
We walked around for awhile, but being at sea for 21 days we found it hard to walk in straight line, stopped a few times to rest in the shade.
Upon this hill used to sit Fort Madison, named after President James Madison. It was the first naval base the US had in the Pacific. Built in 1813 to protect the village from the British. Only attacked once, the fort was abandoned in 1814. Later renamed Fort Collet by France. In 2013 it was returned to the local authorities. In 2016 they voted to erect a modern monument expressing Marquesan culture, Tiki Tuhiva. The woman tiki stands 40ft high, the warrior is 26ft tall.
Throughout the village of Taiohae, there are several native rock sculptures depicting gods, chiefs and animals.
Saturday we got caught up on media, FaceTimed with the kids, did some laundry, kitchen sink style, had lunch at local restaurant, went to bed early.
Sunday we walked along the water front, then up the hill to Notre Dame Cathedral.
Soon after the island became under French rule, Catholic missionaries started spreading their faith. In the late 19th century, the cathedral was built. All that remains of the original building are the two bell towers, which stand at the entrance of the compound. The new church was completed in 1977. The pulpit and stations of the cross we carved from whole Tamanu trees.
*Sourdough Notes* finally able to bake a loaf yesterday!