|What a welcome sight, after 23 days at sea!|
|Growth on side of hull from days/weeks heeled over|
Well, we've been happily settling into our new reality of life in French Polynesia. After our landing at Fatu Hiva, we eagerly took the dinghy ashore the next morning to explore the remote, stunningly beautiful setting. This is the only inhabited island in the Marquesas with no airstrip, so it is the least spoiled by tourism. The little village at the head of the bay was sweet indeed. Kids swimming at the dock, a handful of tin roofed houses, 1/4 mile or so of paved road, 1 church, and a primary school...no stores, hotels, restaurants, or businesses of any kind.
Friendly natives would all stop us with a wave and a "bon jour" as we walked around in awe at the fruit growing everywhere, the beautiful flowers, and the rocky peaks all around the valley. We learned that money isn't the currency of choice here (a good thing, as there is no ATM, and we had no Polynesian francs). Instead, trading is the name of the game. They have fruit....lots and lots of fresh bananas, pamplemouse (a tasty grapefruit like item), limes, and coconuts, and we have, well, just about everything else. Eager for some fresh stuff after 23 days at sea, we began negotiations with one woman at the pier. We ended up with a large stalk of bananas, 20 or so limes, and about 1 dozen pamplemouse in exchange for one pair of earrings and a pink highlighter pen. All parties were thrilled with the results!
They all wanted to come out to visit Bravo, so we took 2 out for a field trip. The two boys, Felix and Joseph, scrambled aboard, and right away made themselves at home, opening all cupboards, drawers, and nooks and crannies. It was a bit intense. They wanted us to give them everything, so we finally settled on a fishing lure and hook for each. Both seemed really happy with that, and proceeded to play video games on our iPad (they had obviously played before!!!) Finally we headed back to the dock, with more aggressive Joseph driving the dinghy. At the dock, things got strange. Felix had turned away and was crying. It seemed that Joseph was keeping all of the gifts for himself, and not willing to share. He was apparently the town bully, and though we explained that the bag was to be shared by them, he was unwilling. The twit!! We spoke no French, which didn't help. Finally, we realized that we were unable to change the social hierarchy of the group, and headed back to Bravo, a bit saddened by the unintended results of an otherwise sweet afternoon. Even in paradise, being a kid can be a tough line of work....
|Felix, Joseph, and iPad|
One evening we heard of a family on shore who enjoyed making a bit of $$ by hosting cruisers for dinner at their home (and yes, they would take US$) So along with the crews of the other 6 boats in the anchorage, from Finland, Germany and the US, we headed over to Serge's place for our first Marquesan meal.
|Serge, the Marquesan Clapton, teaches Andy from s/v Murar's Dream a few new chords|
|Just another tiki in paradise!!!|
|Swordfish speared from the beach (!!!) delighted the kids|
Unfortunately, several days of rain had rendered the trails on the island impassable according to the locals, so we were unable to do a couple of recommended hikes before departing for Hiva Oa to clear in to the country officially....ah well, hikes await on other islands..... More on Hiva Oa (our current location) in the next post....stay tuned!
Finally, some photos from the passage from Galapagos...
|After 6 months, our Ecuador flag was looking a bit tired. Do ya think???|
|A typical morning on "suicide alley"|
|Heading west into a night of squalls|
|Typical sail combo...main and poled out genny (often without the main!)|
|Bravo surfing toward Fatu Hiva, shortly after the cry of "LAND HO" was heard!!!|
|A happy pod of dolphins came out to welcome us to French Polynesia!|