Ka Ohanui, which means “Greetings” in the Marquesas Islands.

The Marquesas Islands form an archipelago of mystical islands. At 7:00 a.m., National Geographic Orion, our sunshine ship, pulled into the bay of the village of Vaitahu on the island of Tahuata. The conditions on the landing dock were somewhat challenging, but guests were able to visit this little village in style. Since it is a Sunday, guests were offered the opportunity to attend church. The service was delivered in the Marquesan language with Marquesan songs in a Marquesan designed church.

After this, we enjoyed a walk through the village and a visit to the museum. The birders set out in search of the Marquesan kingfisher, which is endemic to this island, but the elusive bird was nowhere to be found.

In the afternoon, guests were entertained in the lovely little village of Hapatoni, still on the island of Tahuata. As our Zodiacs entered the mouth of the harbour, a full-body tattooed warrior greeted us. He chanted his welcome and sounded his wooden trumpet, much to the amazement of guests. As we made our way into the harbour, adults and children sang their welcome while beating giant goatskin drums. The villagers were dressed in colourful outfits, and they draped leis, garlands of flowers, on every guest as they stepped on land.

Guests were led on a musical walk through the village. Mamas and children played guitars and ukuleles, enticing guests to follow them to their open-air hall of entertainment with displays of amazing artifacts and handicrafts.

The music, songs, and dancing kept our guests entertained as they enthusiastically joined in the festivities.

Hapatoni has always been a happy place to visit for guests of Lindblad Expeditions. Cultural specialist and writer Jennifer Kingsley has a very strong relationship with the village people.