Paul Gauguin Cruises
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Hiva Oa/Atuona, Marquesas

Above the steady rumble of the Pacific surge, the sharply sculpted mountains of Hiva Oa hide their summits in the mists of rain-filled clouds. The largest and most fertile island in the southern group of the Marquesas, Hiva Oa has deep valleys, lush plateaus and thickly wooded forests. The town of Atuona is the administrative center for the southern Marquesas. Framed in a theater of mountains with the Bay of Traitors providing safe anchorage, Atuona is a favorite port of call for yachts and copra ships. Atuona has a gendarmerie, small hospital, post office, banks, weather station, Ait Tahiti office, pensions, restaurants and snack bars, stores and chops, telephones and TV. There is a Catholic mission with a boarding school and a Protestant church. A path up the cliffs behind the village leads to Calvary Cemetery - the site of simple graves of two men who chose the Marquesas as their final home and resting place, the French painter Paul Gauguin and Belgian singer Jacques Brel.

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