Ancient legend has it that the god of creation promised his wife he
would build a house in one day, so he gathered together land and created what
is now known as the Marquesas Islands. All of the islands are named after parts
of the house; Nuku Hiva is the roof.

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Guests onboard Marina
recently enjoyed an overnight stay in Nuku Hiva, the roof of the gods, and got
to see first hand why the ancient inhabitants of these islands would have come
to believe that these islands were the home of deities.

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On the shore excursion Nuku Hiva – Visit to Taipivai Valley, Nuka Hiva’s spectacular
beauty unfolded on an off-road adventure in the Taipivai Valley. One of the richest
archaeological sites in the Marquesas Islands, Taipivai Valley was made
famous by Herman Melville. After deserting his ship, Melville spent several
weeks living with the Taipi people, and his experience became the inspiration
for his novel Typee.

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One of the first stops was the island’s main town, Taiohae. Located on the southern
coast in the shadow of Mt. Muake, the town is situated in an ancient volcanic
crater. Here guests visited the Cathedral of Notre-Dame of Marquesas, built with rocks from the six islands of
the Marquesas. The woodcarvings inside are a blend of Marquesan art with iconic
Christian symbolism, including a beautiful wooden pulpit.

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Exploring Taipivai Valley, guests were treated to a beautiful drive on a steep
trail, lined with lush vegetation, that took them through the island’s interior.
Along the way, several stops were made to take in spectacular views of the coastline, bays
and valleys.

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Amidst the stunning scenery, a light lunch was served with fresh local delights.

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A drive through Taipivai’s small agricultural villages ended at the picturesque shore village of Hatiheu with a curving black sand beach.

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If you have a yen to visit the house that the gods built,
2014 offers several options: South
Pacific Isles,
January 15, January 25 and March 26, 2014; Tahitian Pearls, April 5, 2014.