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Tahuata: A Protected Educational Marine Area

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Tahuata: A Protected Educational Marine Area

The sister island of Hiva Oa, Tahuata lets you, within an hour by boat you if you are always looking beyond the scenery to find your happiness. The island marks the dawn of the legend of the Land of Men it is noticed at first by its shore, with dreamlike beaches one after another and cliffs torn by the waves. Thus, from Hiva Oa, this boat trip leads the visitors to the only bay in the Marquesas with a small reef and two passes: Hanahevane. Then are many white sandy beaches, well sheltered from the swells of the Pacific in the “Bordelais” channel.. The large Vaitahu bay, the main city of the island, will soon host the first marine protected area (MPA) for educational purposes in the archipelago. The Marquesas are indeed currently working to establish a high GPA throughout the archipelago, with several versions of protection and operating within it.

Tahuata and its rich historic past

Tahuata is the first island in all of the South Pacific to have witnessed the encounter between Europeans and Polynesians. All this played out in 1595 when Álvaro de Mendaña decided to go to the Solomon Islands, which had been discovered 20 years earlier. He left to build a “New Spain” in the South Pacific. However, after a month and a half of sailing, the ship started to run out of water. Luckily, an island appeared on the horizon, but approaching its shores was impossible. The natives greeted the foreigners through assailing them with rocks. This Spanish captain didn’t insist. He tried unsuccessfully to let down anchor at Hiva Oa.

Following a great scientific expedition to study the marine coastal flora and fauna Te Pakaihi o te Moana, Vaitahu’s primary school students wanted to classify a rock wall as an educational MPA: “I asked that the children be included in the scientific mission’s reports of. Thus was planted the seed of ​​the protection and observation of a dedicated area, “says Felix Barsinas, Mayor of Tahuata. Further south of the island, the majestic Hapatoni Bay is renowned for the quality of its wood, bone and marlin rostra of its craftsmen. Finally, for the most adventurous, a short detour to Point Tekeho, will with its austere shore with many lines of lava, remind the painful event that was the genesis of each of the islands in a volcanic roar.

He found what he was looking for in Vaitahu on Tahuata: a large protected bay with a fresh water source on the other side. Mendaña stayed less that a week on Tahuata. He left once he realized he had made a mistake and that he wasn’t in the Solomon Islands, but not before holding a Catholic mass on land, the first in the history of the South Pacific. It wasn’t until 170 years later that Tahuata would again see Europeans on its shores. The chronometer had been invented, and Captain James Cook could finally place the island on the world map through specifying its longitude and latitude. Vaitahu bay is important in French colonial history. In fact, Tahuata was the site of a ceremony in 1842 when King Iotete agreed that the Southern Marquesan Islands become a French territory. Admiral Dupetit-Thouars took this prize back to France, which had attempted to take over New Zealand, but the English had gotten there first…

Tahuata: A Protected Educational Marine Area
Tahuata: A Protected Educational Marine Area
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