Captain James Cook set up his observatory at Point Venus, one of the loveliest spots on the island. The transit of Venus, which happens maybe once a century, lets observers here see the planet move across the sun. (That’s the official reason for the name, but there’s no doubt Cook’s crew, after months at sea, had a different Venus in mind when they saw Tahitian women.) Now the point's a windswept corner of the island that feels like there’s nothing between you and another world but the sea. The lighthouse here, Phare de la Pointe Vénus, was built in 1868, 99 years after Cook's visit.