Tahu Ata in the Marquesas Islands

Having left from La Rochelle almost three years ago, Coccinelle’s family crew has sent us this postcard from the South Marquesas, and the island which is perhaps the least well-known in the archipelago, Tahu Ata.

“Tahu Ata is a bit like a deserted paradise just next to a big town. However, things have to be kept in perspective, when the town is called Atuona, with around a thousand inhabitants, and the island is called Tahu Ata with a total population of around 700 souls. Tahu Ata possesses one major advantage, that of offering the only attractive fine sand beaches in the Marquesas Islands, bordered with coconut trees, and above all with a blue sea which, whilst not as clear as in the Tuamotus, nevertheless allows us to swim with the sovereigns of these waters, the Manta Rays. In Anamoenoa bay, a visitor can swim with a whole family of rays, the biggest of which can reach a 4-metre ‘wingspan’, the smallest perhaps 1.5 meters, equipped simply with mask, fins and snorkel. These swimming sessions are magic (Apolline swam with the rays for the first time on her sixth birthday), but you really have to convince yourself that they are perfectly inoffensive when they are feeding, whilst they are filtering the water, beating the sea slowly with their wings and coming towards you. On Tahu Ata, from the north to the south and on the leeward side, three anchorages offer their charms. In the north, Anamoenoa; further south, Vaitahu, the main village, where disembarking can sometimes be a problem when the swell covers the jetty at high tide. And then finally, in the south, the little village of Hapatoni, famous for its sculptors on bone or wood – a place where time stopped a long time ago...”

Apolline, Camille, Armelle and Gilles, on Tahu Ata in the Marquesas Islands.

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