|These nearly psychedelic pink flowers outside Hiva Oa’s|
Gaugin museum in Atuona are fragrance free.
It’s not surprising “Tahia, the Fragrant Girl” is the Marquesas story featured in “Pacific Island Legends: Tales from Micronesia, Melanesia, Polynesia and Australia.” Hiva Oa French Marquesas smells better than anyplace else on I’ve traveled to date.
|Also outside Hiva Oa’s Gaugin museum, these fragrance-free flowers|
reminded me of coral.
Considering that sailing alone in the last 3 years, we’ve covered over 6,000 miles to date, with other travels taking me throughout North America, to Central America, Europe, New Zealand and Australia, that’s saying a lot for Hiva Oa on sniffer satisfaction.
|The kind woman in Hiva Oa’s Gaugin museum|
gave me the seeds to these indigo beauties.
Truth be told, a keen nose is far more often a curse than a blessing, as ‘tis seems far more scents in the world a malodorous rather than pleasant.
|Don’t let tiare’s modest appearance fool you –|
this tiny gardenia’s fragrance is heavenly!
Classic American writer E.M. Forester, not known for his good hygiene habits, felt compelled to correct a train passenger. “You smell!” she complained in dismay to Mr. Forester. “No, Madam,” he responded, unerringly. “You smell. I stink.”
1. Domestic livestock (cows, horses, pigs and their ecosystems)
|Another delightfully scented Hiva Oa island flower.|
We came across it hiking.
For those of us with keen noses, we know the vast majority of scents are not pleasant. Thus, Hiva Oa is the place my nostrils believe they’ve died and gone to heaven.
|These electric Christmas-colored beauties|
were tucked behind a section
too muddy to sniff out. I suspect their color
was their draw; that they were unscented.
Tiare, French Polynesia’s national flower, a small gardenia that pack a big perfume-y wallop, grows prolificly on Hiva Oa. It’s the primary flower used in leis for its welcoming island fragrance; the cruise-supply ship Ara Nui’s lobby and several Marquesas churches we entered were anointed with tiare leis and bouquets.
|Vibrant red, these petals appeared almost|
waxy.The blossom cones were hefty, about
nine inches from base to tip. One decapitated
blossom was effectively used
as a trail marker!
|Fragrant plumeria – also known as frapangi – blooming in Hiva Oa’s Atuona. These were|
also blooming everywhere in Hawaii
when we honeymooned there, though
in Polynesia they are used in funerals and
thus associated with death.
|These fuzzy floral wonders growing along Atuona’s roadside|
reminded me of pipe cleaners.
|Starry little yellow flower clusters with dense|
vine-y foliage, their appearance was popular
in established Hiva Oa gardens.
|These hibiscus-like blossoms came from trees, not hibiscus shrubs.|
These were on the rock at the dinghy / outrigger canoe ramp
at Hiva Oa’s Tahauku Bay.
If you like these images, watch for upcoming blog post on the flowers and fecund foliage from our 17 km Fatu Hiva Marquesas hike.