Entry Date: 08.04.2018, at 13:36:33 hrs (local)

Hiva Oa, Atuona - Ua Pou

The church of Vaitahu


PRID: 11473
LegID: 309
LegNo: 58
Latitude: S009°56.20'
Longitude: W139°06.69'
Day#: 730
Log (Leg): 198 nm
Log (Total): 42799 nm
The Spaniard Alvaro de Mendana was 1595 the first European explorer anchoring in front of Tahuata on his second expedition to the South Pacific. He named the archipelago Marquesas de Mendoza.

But the first contact between Europeans and Polynesians ended in a disaster. Robust, light-skinned islanders with long, loose hair paddled naked, covered with blue tattoos, in their outrigger canoes over to the European ship and boarded it. When the natives became overly curious and bold, Mendana ordered a gun fired. This ended in the most murderous and shameful event of European entries into the South Pacific Region. In a camp on Santa Christina (Tahuata) the Spaniards hang three bodies on shore as a warning. They left three crosses, syphilis and 200 dead behind.

Captain Cook visited the islands in 1774. Admiral Abel Dupetit-Thouars took possession of the Marquesas in 1842 and established a fort despite strong resistance of Chief Iotete.

Today visitors find a beautiful catholic church in Vaitahu. It was built 1988 to remember 150 years of Christianity in the islands. This octagonal church has the largest stained glass window in the Marquesas and a huge wooden Virgin carved from a 400 years-old temanu tree.