After spending so much time in quiet, remote areas, Taiohae, the little maintown of Nuku Hiva, seems like a bustling metropolis to us. Suddenly we have to look for traffic before crossing a road, the range of goods in the ‘magasin’ (almost big enough to be called a supermarket) seems mindboggling, there’s several hotels, restaurants and a daily veggie market with local produce.
The island’s also much bigger than what we’re used to. We took a walk to the entrance of our bay and that alone took more than an hour. Despite frequent rainfall this side of the island seems rather dry with mainly acacias growing on the volcanic rocks. Yesterday we wanted to take a look at the interior, but the ridge behind the bay’s 800 metres high, the road winding up in steep serpentines. We quickly gave up hiking in the boiling heat and hitched a ride instead–the first car stopped and the family let us squeeze in with them. Up in the mountain’s the vegetation’s much lusher and we were actually freezing in the cool, humid air the fringe of the clouds reaching almost down to us. Our walk took us through pine forests and pastures With lots of cattle and horses grazing–a completely untropical atmosphere, even though we’re only 9 degrees away from the equator…

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