ancient archaeological site of Tohua Koueva in Nuku Hiva Marquesas

Ancient Tikis, Cannibalism & Swarming Sharks

Quite the title isn’t it?  We almost went with A Million Ways to Die in The Marquesas.  But that felt a little misleading…at least post 1900’s.  But, the swarming sharks are modern day legit.

We continue to explore and learn more about the island of Nuku Hiva.  One might think, after eight years of full time travel I wouldn’t be in such a constant state of awe and wonder…but I am.  I look out onto these peaks and valleys and I am infinitely impressed.

majestic peaks and valleys of Nuku Hiva Marquesas, French Polynesia

Then, I turn the other direction and see nothing but wide open ocean…and I’m impressed again.  We’re way the hell out here (took us 24 days to sail here on our modern day catamaran with GPS & Navigation) and yet, people have been making landfall on this island for thousands of years.  Surviving, thriving and leaving behind tales of gods, war, love, cannibalism and everything in between.  Those were real days of adventure!

ancient tikis and world of Nuku Hiva Marquesas, French Polynesia


majestic peaks and valleys of Nuku Hiva Marquesas, French Polynesia


ancient tikis and world of Nuku Hiva Marquesas, French Polynesia

Despite my puffy eyes, groggy voice and lack of proper caffeine levels at any hour prior to 8am, the early mornings in the Marquesas are divine.  The light has a magenta hue, the air smells of salty dew and the variety of fresh veg and fruit would impress even the most avid Pike Place Market lover.

Oh, and the temperatures are perfection at dawn.  It’s just the right amount of crisp coolness but not enough to have me reaching for a pair of long pants.  Honestly, if the rest of French Polynesia is like this, they might turn this night owl into an early bird.

Given all that, it’s not completely crazy for us to get going at the crack of dawn.  So, join us as we do our best to get on “local” time as we wander around the wild world of Nuku Hiva and take in its ancient rituals and cannibalistic grounds.

I have a sneaking suspicion I’m going to sound like a broken record soon but…isn’t it a beautiful island!  Lush green places are always my favorite.  Desert landscapes are beautiful but forests and jungles are where my imagination goes to feed.

Farmers Market

The market is open most days 6am-3pm (except Sunday), but other than jars of preserves, mango and bananas, there isn’t much of a selection.  Wednesday and Saturday are the “big” market days with Saturday (5am – 10am) being the biggest.  And when I say big, I mean there are more farmers that drive to town bringing the best of what’s in season.  It’s more than an hour drive to go up and over the mountain to this side of the island (the two ladies with the best selection traveled from the far northwest side of the island).  So, to be here and set up before 5am, the farmers start their day around 2am.  (Yikes!  Remind me not to be a farmer when I grow up.  I can’t hang.)

Sweet potatoes, deep violet red tomatoes, spring onions, the longest green beans in the world, the most perfect bunches of bok choy I have ever seen and the list goes on.  It’s such beautiful food!

Insider Tip:  Certain items like herbs, tomatoes and zucchinis can go quick.  Get there well before 8am if you want the best selection.

early morning market in Nuku Hiva Marquesas

As if the market isn’t enough to satisfy, walk a few hundred feet and pick up a filet of tuna so fresh it would make Gordon Ramsey do a back flip.

Early morning markets and fish nuku hiva marquesas

fishermen cleaning and filleting their catch Nuku Hiva Marquesas

They may be WiFi poor here in the Marquesas, but when it comes to fresh food they’re wildly rich.

Insider Tip:  Avoid swimming when the fishermen are filleting.

swarming sharks of nuku hiva marquesas


Tohua Koueva

The Marquesas have some of the most impressive archaeological sites in French Polynesia.  Nuku Hiva is home to at least two very impressive and well-preserved communal sites, one being Tohua Koueva in the village of Taiohae (where we’re anchored).  Local legend says it all belonged to the war chief Pakoko before he was killed by the French in 1845.


ancient archaeological site of Tohua Koueva in Nuku Hiva Marquesas


ancient archaeological site of Tohua Koueva in Nuku Hiva Marquesas


ancient tikis and archaeological site of Tohua Koueva in Nuku Hiva Marquesas  ancient archaeological site of Tohua Koueva in Nuku Hiva Marquesas

It’s a beautiful preservation/restoration and would have been a site worth visiting with a paid local guide.  Typically, we’re all about the self-discovery adventures but after reading up on cannibalism and Polynesian rituals I would love to hear the local lore of what all went on here.  Just reading the Human Cannibalism page on Wikipedia, sends the mind reeling with possibilities.


AWESOME tunes for vids: Artists Used In This Video:  Giants and Pilgrims / Russo and Weinberg


Marquesas Sailing Map

  • Dates: June 7 – 11, 2018
  • Island: Nuku Hiva, Marquesas, French Polynesia
  • Anchorage: Bay de Taiohae


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Hello there! I honestly don’t know what to say, so I am going to tell you a bunch of random facts instead. I'm a fish eating vegetarian who hates spiders and loves snakes. I almost never took vacations growing up. I wanted to be Pippi Longstocking (still do). I misspell about every other word I write and still struggle with grammar. I love splurging on a good high tea (which is really hard to find these days). And whatever you do, don’t tell me I can’t do something, because then I'll HAVE to do it!

Comments (27)

  • Ivan Klok

    I hope you take the chance to stop by some schools along your journeys. Learning the different cultures of all the south Pacific islands from the student’s perspectives and allowing their curiosity of things you have to offer is a far richer experience than anything.

  • Carri G

    We learn a lot about the world out there from your travels. We started watching when you had the motor home, as we’ve had one for 30 years! Anyway, I got my hubby hooked watching now too. When we get a new video emailed from you, we watch on my cell phone after I check messages and email and before we get out of bed! Nice way to start the day. Lol Thanks for sharing! It’s all so beautiful!

  • Mtbrim

    I want to escape….

  • Bill

    Jason, that photo of the huge banyan tree is awesome!!! What is the explanation for the super early morning market ritual there? Thanks for brining us along😃

    • Curious Minion

      I saw Nikki comment somewhere that it’s partly to escape the heat of the day, and partly so that they can share sunsets with their families. Nice!
      Curious Minion

  • Venice Scherer

    how long can you preserve green leafy veggies on your boat?

  • Marilyn Schmidek 🇨🇦

    Nikki I just have to comment on how beautiful you write. But what you just wrote in this post you could send easily do AMA, luxury travel , etc. And make some extra money seeing as how you’re writing for Instagram anyhow and make some extra money. Most to your articles on these places are medium long and to the point in what you can see and a little bit of history and what the people & place is about. Most of the articles pay about $800 a piece. I’m not sure what you make on Instagram unless you add ads & nobody likes those. Just a little piece of advice. I wanted to thank you both for all your cooking tips , fun videos and editing , your laughter and smile And especially your Hardwork. And Jason I give you credit as you have patience of a saint for all the electrical and fix a jobs you have to do.

  • michel paris

    Votre Francais devient meilleur (your French is better)
    Wonderful trip.Take care

  • Robert Dawson

    Thank you so much for sharing.Beautiful island! God bless.

  • Alan Solomon

    Impressive Trees. Great Day of Hiking for You.

    Thanks for bringing me along.

  • Roger B

    What a beautiful island. Are there any sandy beaches? Love the drone shots. Do you purchase local seafood or catch your own?

  • Bahamamamapenny

    Was wondering where you’ve been! Wow. It’s mid Nov and this was from mid June. Miss you bioth.
    We have been back on Island for 6 weeks now. Loving it.
    Love you both!! 😍😍🌴🇧🇸🏝🍷🥖🍾

    • ML

      I have been following your travels for a while…so may beautiful places. I lived in Vero Beach, FL for 22 yrs. so it was fun watching you purchase Curiosity there! But I have to say I find French Poloneisia breathtaking❣️ Thank you for sharing such beautiful videos. Your work is exquisite, albeit frustrating trying to find WiFi. We had the same trouble on our western travels. So many fb friends wanted me to keep posting pics n videos but it was really hard to find WiFi in certain areas. It gave me a great appreciation for your hard work!! 🏔🏝 I am a patreon and proud to support your excellent videos etc.👏👏👏

    • Scott

      Three or more day uploads!? That on top of all the necessary editing time should help people understand the timing of your posts. Do you think that improved connection is a market waiting to be tapped?

      Thanks for making the climb!

  • mary vancompernolle

    Woke up this morning really missing you both and looking so forward to this video!!

    It is hard to believe you all were up so early and missed the baked goods. I can’t imagine that they would taste any better thank Nikki’s homemade bread!

    I enjoyed seeing the winding streets and the landscape the drone captured. The island is beautiful.

    Hello to the Holidays! xxoo

  • Deborah Dvorak

    Beautiful! The ruins were amazing! You all should write a book/coffee table book based on your travels! Again, you both make me smile. Today, I wanted to cry with happiness. Can’t explain why though. In my next life I want to be an adventurer like you all! Or at a cat who goes along with adventurers! Lol. Well, as always be safe, sending hugs and happy vibes from South Dakota!

  • Keith Vauquelin




    Recommend sleeping with one eye open, going forward….


  • jennifer

    The beauty of French Polynesia just keeps out doing itself. Thankyou for sharing this wonderful adventure.

  • Pam

    That was fun. Loved the tikis. Thanks for all your sharing. You all are such wonderful explorers. And good walkers!


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