Cruising and sailing in The Islands of Tahiti
Elisabeth Easther and her son booked a passage on a freighter to explore the far-flung charms of French Polynesia’s Marquesas Islands.
Sitting 1300km northeast of Tahiti and 4000km from the west coast of Mexico, the Marquesas are what you'd call far-flung. Comprised of 12 islands, only six of them inhabited, they marinate in something like 700sq km of ocean with a population that doesn't quite reach 10,000.
We will call it extreme sport for retirees.
We're on a 3200-tonne ship anchored in the sublimely named but geographically formidable Invisible Bay on the northern edge of Ua Huka – one of the tiny islands that form the Marquesas archipelago in French Polynesia.
Technically, the oceanic white-tip shark is the world's deadliest shark, and yet it draws so much less coverage than that alleged man-eater, The Great White (whose PR, admittedly, was managed by Steven Spielberg). It's been known to feed on shipwreck survivors in open ocean; in one notorious incident – the torpedoing of the USS Indianapolis at the closing stages of WWII – 800 American sailors were consumed. Jacques Cousteau called these "the most dangerous of all sharks".