It turns out we hadn’t really hadn’t got the full Marquesan flying experience until we landed on Hiva Oa (last resting place of Paul Gauguin). The airport is up on a plateau surrounded by mountains and the runway is, well, I would call it short. You kind of dive down onto it; and taking off you don’t get any of that long slow revving business. The engines roar into life and, whoosh, you’re in the air. Very exciting! Our pictures of the airport (where we waited about a half hour so they could refuel before flying back to Tahiti) seem to have vanished, but here’s one of the bigger (!) airport on Nuku Hiva:
And here is a look at one of the planes:
We’ve now made a number of flights in these interisland beauties and I’m actually getting quite used to them. It always gets a little choppy right after they serve the pineapple juice, but the Air Tahiti flight attendants are marvelously adept. One of them managed to balance an entire tray of hot coffee and pineapple juice while extracting Seven’s tray table from the armrest. Extremely impressive.
We are now returning to the heart of French Polynesia: Tahiti, Mo’orea, Ra’iatea, and so on. But before we bid adieu to the Marquesas altogether, I thought I should post a few more pictures. I became quite fond of the place in the end, though I’d have to say it’s not for the Intercontinental crowd.
Here’s another look at lovely Anaho from the ridge above:
Looking up from down below….
Ancient stonework at Kamuihei:
And the four of us at Atuona, Hiva Oa (out of focus, but hey, at this point, who cares)…