Originally settled by Polynesians believed to have come from Tonga around 300 AD, the islands were first spotted by Spanish navigator Mendena in 1594 and visited by Captain Cook in 1774. Many artists and writers have been inspired by the Marquesas, including Paul Gauguin, Herman Melville and Robert Louis Stevenson. Stevenson wrote in a letter to a friend: “The climate is delightful; and the harbour where we lie one of the loveliest spots imaginable”. The 3,000 mile passage from the Galápagos takes about the same time as an Atlantic crossing, thanks to favourable Tradewinds and currents. The islands enjoy steady winds and no tropical depressions. Beach landings can be challenging due to swell but there are lots of lovely, sheltered bays where you can drop anchor and soak up the beautiful scenery and tropical heat.
The Galápagos Islands to the Marquesas is the longest passage sail on the rally, at 3000nm and approximately three weeks at sea for the fleet. The Marquesas are one of the world’s most remote island groups and if you look at the map you can see why!
The fleet were pleased to have the daily SSB Radio Net in operation to keep in touch with other rally yachts, not only for safety but to hear stories, swap jokes and even have a singalong.
The fleet arrived into Nuku Hiva, the largest of the Marquesas Islands to an incredible welcome from the local people, with a full day of festivities arranged for the Oyster World Rally fleet. Everyone was invited to learn local handicrafts, experience horse riding along the beach and dance the Haka, followed by a traditional feast cooked in the Marquesan oven (in the ground). The tattoo school gave a small speech about the importance of tattooing in Marquesan culture and how they are working to keep this symbolism alive in future generations. The day concluded with an amazing dance performance from a local group which attracted many locals as it was the first time they had been able to perform since the pandemic.
Fresh food is in short supply in the Marquesas so our local representative organised fresh food deliveries so the yachts could stock up for their onward journeys. Receiving fresh food in a location this remote really is something special.
The rally fleet spent just over two weeks exploring the lush islands dramatic volcanic peaks, archaeological sites and meeting the friendly local people.