Saturday, May 24, 2014

Local Dance and Bay by Morning

This top picture is my favorite!! The bottom is the bay this morning as we were returning from the farmer's market. What's the reason that farmers must sell their wares by 5 am?? Does it go bad in the sun?? So at 9 am we have a woman from St. Petersberg Russia coming over to get a photo and meet the family, then we go to Daniel's bay. She writes a blog about families since they are the only Russian family she knows out cruising and they think she's crazy! She says with 6 kids we're a record that she's met. From Daniel's bay, probably looking at Tuamotus, so wanted to send out photos when I could. I'm being pulled away from the Internet area, so off I go. . .

More Local Dance

These dances were hard to get good pictures of, there were bright lights and it was dark, but it was a very nice show. We stayed for some of the concert, but had the whole family, so headed back to the boat. Since it was on the shore, we could still hear it pretty well on the boat.

Local Dance Presentation

Then the big people came out and put on a great show. These guys dancing must be a hunting dance, very aggressive with guttoral sounds. I've got video, will send it to the states with Cassidy. This show would be scary if they were still practicing cannibalism!!

Internet Cafe and Concert

This top photo is our Internet cafe. Like starbucks, only outdoors, rugged, but very friendly. Free bananas while you Internet. Very nice policy. Then we went to a concert in the evening. It started with a kid show. The little boys were playing the drums while the little girls sang and did a little presentation.

Grocery Shopping

Yesterday we went to the store to get potatoes, onions, milk, and baguettes. Innocence carried the baguettes, Integrity had a bag with potatoes. He stopped periodically to check his muscles.

Winding Road Down to Festival

This is our road winding back down through the grass valley. Then as we returned, there was a little welcoming group on the dock. They were welcoming the band who was coming in for their annual music festival. They were dressed traditionally and playing their conch shells.

More Views From the Top

There was a steep canyon, then as we went over the ridge, we came across a grass valley at the top of the island. It was so gorgeous, like Switzerland it seemed. The fog was blowing past us.

From the top of the Island

The water was really clear in some bays. With the steep rocky background, some of the views were spectacular. Then at the top of the island, we entered an alpine forest and it dropped about 10 degrees.

Picturesque Island

This island is steep volcanic with a rugged shoreline with nice bays weaving in and out. Great place for a boat, lots of harbors, the end of many of the bays has a little beach, flat area. Really picturesque. Most of the roads were good, but the backside of the island was a rocky and steep road that we decided not to launch the motorcycle. We wouldn't be able to do much it appeared.

Nuka Hiva Ruins

We found an ancient ruins site with building areas, tikis, an area where they ferment the breadfruit, and even an area for beheading and sacrificing.

Touring Nuka Hiva

No time to write and organize photos, we leave internet at 9 am today (our time). Here are some photos around Nuka Hiva. They post faster this format. These are some bays around the island. Our first day we rented a car and drove on the circular road around the island to see it.

Nuka Hiva Marina

This is the marina in Nuka Hiva where we've been for about 2 days.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Nuka Hiva Arrival

Made it to Nuka Hiva last night (before the big winds). It's also beautiful!! We are anchored in a volcanic crater, so there's lush green hills with steep rock walls behind it. I really like the big steep walls!

Courage has arranged to rent a car with another boat, so soon he and I will go out and tour the island. We plan to launch the motorcycle, so we can get a preview on where to go. 

Many of our friend and kid boats are here, so that's fun and nice to catch up also. There's a little internet snack shack on shore, with reasonable internet!! There's a fruit stand with a farmer's market on Saturday, so most of us are here until Saturday afternoon, then likely to move on. We will go explore the other anchorages around the island Saturday after the farmer's market.


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Photos from French Polynesia

Tikis in Puamau, Hiva Oa.

Here we are in Tahuata at our potluck night!

Au Pou - May 21, 2014

Fishing -

A couple of days ago I went out fishing with our Marquesan friend. We left a couple of hours before sunrise, (at least that is what it felt like!)  The first fish we caught was about a 3.5' Mahi-Mahi, and just as we were landing him he swam under the dingy, and broke the line. The next fish did not even have the courtesy to show itself before the line snapped.  Finally we landed a skipjack, and then promptly lost another lure to some big fish. Our Marquesan friend was super at finding the spot just were the fish were, he would circle, looking at the birds, and the water, then when he would say we should catch a fish, a fish would typically bite!  The next fish we caught was with the tiny fishing rod with the tiny winder, the fishing rod was bent in a 'U' with the end of the rod well under water.  The Marquesan kept telling me to wind it in, but I was not about to lose another lure, and was just going to wait for the fish to get tired, but he finally could not take it any more and just grabbed the fishing line and started pulling it up hand over hand.  When he finally landed the fish, it was only the head of a big Yellowtail tuna.  I 'think' I know why he was telling me to land the fish so fast!! We had been sharked!!


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Man Overboard - Cassidy's Version, 5/20/2014

All was well on board as we motor away from Tahuata.  By the time we had gotten in the lee of the neighboring island the main was up and we decided the spinnaker would be better than the Genny in the lighter winds.  First time with the spinnaker was a flop when the port knot came undone and the sail flapped roughly in the wind.  Under the captain's commands we pulled in the starboard ropes and contained the situation quite well (if I may say so myself). Try two and its up!  While Mama ran around sticking the younger minions in life jackets, Padre and I adjusted the spinnaker ropes to prevent it from collapsing.  At this point in time, I don't remember where I was standing or what I was doing, but -as both parents recall- a loose spinnaker rope had pulled tight and somersaulted Innocence over the life lines. Padre called out for someone to jump overboard and an instant later Mama had made an award-winning dive over the 42" lifelines that she has no memory of performing.  I still had no idea someone had gone overboard and thought she had jumped over for another spinnaker rope that freed itself and went for a swim. Of course, I was deeply confused and just stood watching for Mama's head to bob back up. Padre finally shouted, "Man overboard" as I spotted the extra head in the waves. I dodged the headless-chicken-children, leaped into the cockpit and grabbed the first life jacket I could find, chucking out as far as I could.  It landed farther down wind than I hoped so I shouted and pointed in the direction, making sure that Mama saw and understood.  Padre was about to launch a kayak, but thought better of it since it could drift faster than they could swim.  He quickly reviewed the plan.  The remaining children were to point at the two in the water and keep a constant eye on them. Meanwhile, Padre and I were going to let one side of the spinnaker go and gather the other side, just like we had unintentionally done earlier. 

Without question I quickly released the port line while he pulled in the starboard and I ran around to drop the halyard as soon as he had it more-or-less under control.  Both motors were started and the auto helm turned to standby. Unfortunately, the children didn't quite fulfill their duties and the two over-board's had disappeared into the distance. So while Padre spun the boat back to the island, I ran inside for the binoculars.  It took a few extra seconds to spot them, as they would disappear behind the waves.  No more than a minute later I was on the back step pulling up the shoulder straps on Innocence's life jacket.  I was expecting some sort of injuries from getting smacked by the spinnaker lines, but she was perfectly fine, physically and emotionally.  I don't think the whole thing took anymore than five minutes. Luckily, the weather was right for it. The waves weren't very big and the wind was light enough that we could spare the spinnaker.  We also had a buddy boat less than a quarter mile away.  Over all, it was the perfect experience/drill, but I would much prefer if it never happened again.


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Back to Yesterday, May 19, 2014 -

Courage got up early to go fishing with "Steven", the local man with a long Marquesan name that we can't pronounce.  They'd agreed on 5:00am, but Courage said that he was getting light signals from shore by 4:45am.  We think he was excited to go!

I spent the morning doing a little school then visiting our new friends on Carpe Diem mostly. I went back to our boat to get an item and a woman from another boat came by to pick up her camera case.  Cassidy went to get it and this woman went on a rant about local happenings.  The guidebooks indicate the property is abandoned (and the structures support that), so the cruisers are taking some of the fruit from the trees.  The owner is now here (wonderful man), so with the new information, no one is taking fruit (although he generously gives it to us, we try to give in exchange and at least make a trade for something of value to him).  She was going to write an article about how cruisers are raping and pillaging his land and stealing from him because he "doesn't live by the dollar", etc.  I tried to smile and let her talk, but she kept going and I couldn't agree.  With all her talking, it seemed she was trying to engage in a conversation, so I engaged.  I told her that I thought cruisers were wonderful, caring and sharing people and very respectful in general.  Cruisers are also thrifty and scavengers by nature.  We'll eat off the ground what most people won't, including fallen fruit.  We hate to see waste, especially if we have a need.  I think we are going off of misinformation that no one is using these trees.  I thought the article was a nice idea to update and educate, but I would watch the language suggesting that we are taking from him specifically because of his beliefs of the value of money in life.  I thought that was wrong, insulting, and unnecessary in the article.  I think merely educating that someone owns these trees and uses them is enough to keep the respectful cruisers asking and trading for the items or leaving them alone if they are not tended to.  Wow, that sent her into a frenzy!!!  She's made a "private property" sign for him the day or two before and is now stating "fine, I won't write the article and I'll burn the sign."  Wow, hostile woman!  I suggested she ask Steven, an able bodied and minded person, if he'd like the sign or not.  If he thought the article would be helpful, etc.  Why not involve him in the "rescue efforts" rather than try to manage him as if he's not involved or capable?  Anyway, she was all across the board, very labile, I told her I did not understand why she came to argue and I was done with the discussion.  I hopped back in my kayak with the baby and headed to my friend's boat.  She chased me down on her paddleboard yelling, "I want to apologize" and whatever.  I waved to her that it was fine, but didn't look back.  She arrived right behind me at the boat.  I told her education was not bad, I would just watch my wording, then climbed into cockpit and let them engage her in conversation.  My goodness. I've never met another boater that I disliked.  Some that I knew I would not have anything in common with or I may not even like them if I got to know them better, but it's so easy to just let those people be, they let us be, and it's all good.  This woman chased me down to argue and was so labile that she contradicted herself regularly.  I would prefer to not meet up with her on the beach or in an anchorage.  I was right, so I don't mind if she arrives, I've done nothing wrong, but I don't mind never seeing her again!  Their boat is appropriately named "Red Witch"

So, after my "fun" morning, Courage and Steven returned from fishing.  They had caught a 3-foot Dorado that came up next to the boat but escaped with the lure at the last minute.  Sounds like a fish story, right?  So, it gets better.  Then they were reeling in a nice tuna, it got super hard to reel, so they thought it was a giant!!  But then it got really easy.  They reeled it in only to find just a head!!  A shark had taken the rest!  They brought the head to prove this one (and cooked it up on a fire and ate what meat was on it).  Then they caught a nice skipjack.  Beautiful!  They'd had a successful and eventful day.  They also walked through the town a couple of bays down.  Steven got some bananas and a chunk of pig from friends in town, which they brought back.  Steven and Cassidy took over our boat for an hour of so after they returned.  The kids and I were on Carpe Diem and they kicked Courage out also.  Steven cooked up some rice and the skipjack and some bananas for us!  It was so nice.  I'm glad he was feeling comfortable enough to make himself at home on the boat.  So when it was ready, we and 2 other boats all came and ate a great lunch in our cockpit!  It was a lovely impromptu lunch party.

Shortly thereafter, he cooked his pig on a fire onshore and invited all the boats in for some.  We brought one of our left over Galapagos watermelons to share with everyone.  In the video we showed Steven the night before, he pointed out the watermelon.  It seemed he liked them and I haven't seen them here yet.  Hopefully it was a good share!!

Then I made up some lasagnas with carrots, onions, potatoes and even snuck some quinoa seeds into it.  Courage and I went to have a date night dinner on Paje with our friends from Brazil, and brought a lasagna and key lime pie to share.  The kids also had lasagna on the boat, and then watched a movie. Our friends invited us for dinner, but they've had charters for the past 2 months, so I told her I'd bring the food so she didn't have to host all the time, also she didn't have to use up her supplies.  She said they weren't catching as much fish as usual, so she's really used up her meat supplies more than she'd planned.  These things happen.  We had such a nice relaxing night over there.  Candle light dinner, table cloths!!, background music, and adult conversation!  It was lovely!!  And hopefully not too much work for them on their part.  She'd made a nice salad, appetizers, and cheesecake for dessert.  Impressive.

So it was a great and fun day for our last in Tahuata.  It's been such a great experience, but for other reasons than the mantas and diving which made the place so great the first time.  This time, the exchange with Steven was so nice!!  His personality, hospitality, generosity and wanting to teach about the sea, the land, his culture, his language, etc.  He was such a happy teacher; it's a great way to experience a new island, country, and people.  He's a great representative of his community!  A reminder to us all of how we each represent who we are, where we come from, what our values are, etc. whether we intend to or not.


Innocence Overboard - May 20, 2014

So, we set out early this morning (6:00ish) to head to Ou Pau (or something, pronounced Wa-Poe).  Off to a nice start, our friends on Paje were going also; we circled each other under sail and took many pictures of each other's boats while under sail.  They were definitely moving faster than us and left us in the dust (spray).  We decided to raise the spinnaker to try to get a couple extra knots to catch up.

First we raised it and a knot broke free and it was up there flapping in full glory.  So, we brought it down, tied it up tight and sent it back out.  Shortly thereafter, I was putting a life jacket on Vitality on the port deck when I saw Innocence get smashed up against the lifelines.  Apparently the spinnaker had become slack, at that moment she walked between the rope and lifelines (a pinch zone).  As it filled with air, it was smashing her.  It was so fast, I couldn't say anything or do anything when the air let out, she went back down, and then it totally filled.  At this point she was lifted off the deck, smashed into the lifeline and thrown headfirst over the lifeline into the water.  Courage and I both saw this.  I had milliseconds of thought - "she's a swimmer, but she has no life jacket, we're underway, so it'll be a little bit, maybe she got hurt in the ropes, but it looked relatively smooth, I need to go with her."  Somewhere at this point of conclusion, I also heard Courage say, "You have to go."  And I went. I was focused on where I needed to be, where Innocence was, how I was going to find her in the water, etc.  Not so much in how I was going to get in.  Later in review, apparently I jumped straight from the deck, over the 42-inch lifeline, and head first into the water.  Good to know that's an option.

So, I came in pretty close to Innocence.  She had a look of surprise or slight concern on her face, but not distress or panic.  She was not injured and was swimming to me.  Cassidy then threw in a life jacket, so we began our swim in that direction.  We didn't need it, but it was a nice goal and a bonus to have floatation.  When we got to it, we put it on her.  She was swimming toward the boat, I told her to save her energy, they can move so much faster than we can.  She said, "Yeah, save your energy for splashing."  So, she remembered some discussion that you splash so the boat can see where you are.  That was good. 

She said, "I think they'll bring the big boat back for us."  I told her they would.  I explained to her as they dropped the spinnaker, then turned the boat around.  We splashed a little bit, but it did appear that they were aiming right toward us, so I figured we were in good shape.  We would have done more splashing if they went past us or were aimed away from us, but we liked their course, so just held tight.

As they came in, they were moving and the mainsail was still up.  There was a wake!!!  I was hoping there was a rope or something to grab onto.  Apparently Cassidy was going to put one out, but it was vetoed so that it didn't get in the prop.  I grabbed onto Innocence's hand and said "Hang on."  My plan was to keep my right hand free and grab onto anything I could.  Then pull Innocence in with my left.  Cassidy was on the back step with a hand out and braced.  She, on the other hand, had Innocence as the priority, so grabbed onto Innocence.  This was all good and well, but now I was towing behind Innocence who was the middle link.  Not perfect!  I swam or pulled up and grabbed onto the kayak handle, which was tied on the back swim steps.  Now I could let go of Innocence, push her while Cassidy pulls her, and we were all set!

We reviewed our man overboard plan throughout the day.  Overall it went fast and well.  There was no distress or panic or injuries, etc.  We taught the boys to push the man overboard on the GPS that leaves a waypoint wherever you push it.  We put the life-ring at an easier place to find/throw (but everything that isn't tied down gets moved around).  But in general, we followed our plan.  I have been nominated as the "woman overboard" when a child goes in.  I don't mind being in, I'm probably the least valuable adult crewmember, and I’m the most valuable swimmer.  So it works well.  They sent floatation, they came back as quick as possible, they found us in the ocean, and they pulled us in.  Not ideal, but better practice than any drill could ever be.  Great learning by experience.  It was broad daylight, relatively calm seas (but the whole boat would disappear as we dropped between waves), warm water, etc.

I asked Innocence, "Were you scared when it threw you in?"  She said no.  "Were you scared when you were in the water?" She said no, but followed with, "but I went under."  So that was her main concern.

Obviously no photos, but I can play it again and again in my mind's eye pretty vividly.

So, again, we certainly weren't winning the race.  You can see our backtrack on the GPS, we settled things down, enjoyed a nice snack of our newly ripening bananas, and went to dry off and play indoors.  Pretty soon, we were right back out with dolphins on our bow.  I was getting some gorgeous pictures where you could see the dolphins under the water.  Weather is beautiful, seas are relatively calm, we sailed for awhile, but are going to be getting in just near dusk/dark, so have turned on motors to try to beat the sun.  We have fish left over from yesterday's catch for dinner and are looking forward to seeing a new island.

We are going to Ua Pou.  It has the tallest spires of the islands, a white sandy beach with no waves for landing your dinghy, as well as reported to be the "best dinghy dock in the Marquesas."  Not something we worry about, but sounds lovely. 

Tomorrow the local office of tourism at this island is putting on an event to encourage cruising and tourism to their island.  There's supposed to be free local food, probably dances and crafts??  We really aren't sure, but there's quite an entourage of boats going in.  Looking forward to it, probably a nice reunion with all of our buddy family boats who have gone directly to Nuka Hiva and we haven't seen them in a couple of weeks.  Looking forward to one of the more beautiful islands here, the local cultural show, and seeing all of our friends!  Sounding good.  We can get some information about Nuka Hiva (our following island) from people with families who have just done it, so it's perfect!  This island also has a French bakery and maybe even Internet.  And so we sail off into the sunset with some hope of arriving before it actually sets.  Think we'll be anchoring out of the bay based on the amount of radio traffic and people we know are coming.

Bon soir from a now more experienced crew,


Overboard -

So as we were leaving we started racing a Lagoon 55' catamaran. They were clearly faster, so I decided that we were going to need the spinnaker! We hoisted it and quick as a flash the bowline that I tied with my 'new fangled technique' flopped right off and the spinnaker was just flapping in the breeze without a care in the world. We managed to get it back under control with correct non-fangled bowline, but after just a few minutes it collapsed. Now there was this little girl named Innocence who unfortunately stepped over the spinnaker rope with just one foot.  As soon as the spinnaker caught the wind again, the rope yanked up between her legs/body, spun her upside down, and drug her right over/across/up the 42" of lifeline and tossed her unceremoniously into the ocean.  Both Shannon and I saw it, and I shouted, "You got to go!"  Somehow Shannon jumped clear over the lifelines with room to spare and did a nice swan dive.  I looked for the life-ring but it wasn't anywhere. By now Cassidy was aware of what was happening, and I shouted that we needed to throw something, she found a life jacket and threw it. I shouted for Shannon to get it.  Maybe 10 seconds had passed by now. We needed to get the spinnaker down so that we could turn around. 

We released the downwind side of the spinnaker and Cassidy and I drug/hauled the rest of the spinnaker behind the main. Then Cassidy ran over and started to lower it.  Intrepid was asking what he could do to help, and I told him to point where Mama and Innocence were.  We finally got the spinnaker down, but we still had some of the spinnaker ropes in the water.  I considered having Intrepid calling the other catamaran to heave-to in case we needed help, but as I did not have a radio with me I decided the time for the call was not worth it.  As I hauled in the ropes I had Cassidy start both engines, and Intrepid turned off the auto-helm.   I ran back to the wheel, and shouted "were are they?"  Nobody knew!!!

I looked straight behind us and memorized the shaped of the mountain that was straight behind us, and then bringing the engines up to 2/3 speed I spun the boat around until we were heading at the mountain that was straight behind us. 

Cassidy grabbed the Binoculars and started scanning the horizon for Shannon and Innocence.  After what seemed like forever she shouted, "There they are!”  I told her to point at them, and to keep pointing at them.  I followed her pointing, and they came into view.

What we learned was that as soon as someone falls overboard we need to press the Man-Overboard button on the GPS.  Everything else went well, and there was no panic/crying/hysteria.  We have discussed what we are going to do, and specifically what to do if the spinnaker is up.

All is well now, and where you see our course reverse itself is where Innocence fell overboard.


Monday, May 19, 2014

Code Blue – May 18, 2014

There's one boat here named "Code Blue."  The husband named the boat, apparently completely oblivious to what a Code Blue was until he met his current wife who is an ex-nurse.  So anyway, I was just minding my own business making popcorn on our boat when I hear the radio go off "Code Blue, Code Blue."  That got my adrenaline going for a brief moment until I re-oriented to my surroundings and realized that was a) not a true code and b) not my issue.  Happened one other time this afternoon.  At first I thought, oh, what a funny name.  Now, I'm not sure I like it . . .

On that note, my leg is healing well.  I can't help but go in the water here, but clean it off and put Neosporin on it when I return to the boat.  No signs on infection.  May even take the stitches out soon!  So there are no significant issues there.  I think it'll scar.  Will likely have a "Marquesan tattoo."  Not uncommon among the cruisers, even those with no other tattoos to go home with a new one.  They are pretty nice tattoos here, but I was planning to hold off for now.


Wind and Fire – May 17, 2014

Last night one of the boats dragged out to sea, we had pretty strong winds a lot of the night. I put a blanket on for the first time in months!! Probably only second time in a year!! Felt nice to be cool and cozy all at once. We also made wind power all night, which was great. The overcast kills our solar production. Another boat lost part of their bridle system overboard sometime last night (expensive and irreplaceable here). They were pulling out dive gear after a couple of failed attempts to get down to it. Courage went to see the commotion (they are right behind us) and he free dove down and grabbed it. They were quite thankful!

This morning we woke up to many fires on the beach, Steven was doing some brush clearing. Then he cleared a big area with trees. The flames were over the tallest coconut tree with ashes, loud crackling, and lots of smoke!! We were already in the dinghy, so we aimed for shore. The family on Elena grabbed some buckets and came in. Another boat also kayaked in to help. He reported that all was well. He waited until we were awake for that one since he knew those trees would crackle pretty loud. He says he was just "waking the trees up." We could still see fire out of a top branch of a dead tree and made sure everyone stayed clear, as it would likely burn through and fall. We put the kids to work helping rake leaves, put them in buckets and throw them on fires. I don't think they realized it was work!

He gave a big burlap sack of fruit to the Swiss boat and a pile to us!! The Swiss boat brought him some beer and rum. He appeared to be eternally grateful. Alcohol is notoriously expensive here. He had the 6-pack with him all day, progressively getting lighter. We gave him a new machete. He's been on a mono-hull, but not a catamaran, so Courage invited him out. He came out this afternoon and we gave him a tour. He was called back in to shore. He'd told another boat that if they catch a fish, he could advise them on ciguatera and if it's good. Apparently they got some form of a parrotfish. I believe it was deemed as OK. We shall see tomorrow?? I know parrotfish eat coral?

They all hung out onshore while I made dinner. I made pizzas. Today is another boater mom's birthday, the one we did the kid swap with. We made her oatmeal raisin cookies this morning and went over to sing happy birthday (when the fire began). Well, apparently she gets anaphylaxis with eggs, unrenowned to me. So, she noticed it and spit it out quickly, but we tried to poison her on her birthday! That's not good!! So, I told her I'd make an extra pizza (egg free!!) and they could stay on shore all afternoon and play, then swing by and pick up the pizza on the way home, like take-out, so she didn't have to come home an hour and a half early and cook, then do dishes. So, I made a bunch of pizza and hopefully it was good for them.

Steven came back out with Courage to look through lures. They've arranged to go fishing at 5 am tomorrow, so organized their fishing gear. He stayed for pizza and key lime pie, then we watched our Galapagos family video to show him the Galapagos as well as where we've been and what we do. He seemed to enjoy it and Innocence cuddled up on one side, Intrepid on the other. I had Valiant and Integrity cuddling. Courage took him home afterwards and said he really seemed to have enjoyed it. He said he doesn't get to do that with his family really. He has nieces and nephews ages 20's down to our guys' ages. It sounds as though there's some riff about this property, which is owned by the family. He wants it pure and natural and native. The family would like to sell it to a developer for income. So they are upset if/when they need money, because he won't allow the sale. He is upset that they would trade the family heritage and nature for money. Difficult situations exist when people have different priorities. He definitely seems to make the most of it here, eating the fruits from the trees and meat from the sea. He collects rainwater for his fresh water supply and to water the trees he re-routes the rainwater. It's all very nice, and goes with his attitude and hospitality. He is so gracious and generous and appears genuinely happy. His hospitality, interactions, and education about local life has made this an excellent stop over once again, but for very different reasons. This was a totally different experience.

He is missing a diving mask that was sitting out the first time we were here. I think we've all read the same guidebooks indicating that the place is abandoned. So one of the cruisers made him a sign saying private property, please ask permission before picking fruit. (Not worded quite as nicely though I thought). Anyway, letting people know that it is occupied property so don't take things. He has been gifted dive gear and a Hawaiian sling. He does not seem to have a grudge against the cruisers in any way. As a matter of fact, he seems to enjoy them. He seems to be living a peaceful life, at least here. He says he can't spend more than a couple of weeks or so in Hiva Oa before needing to come back and relax here.

So, we shall see what the dive brings tomorrow. In the Galapagos video we are eating watermelon more than once, and he seemed to love it (and we haven't seen any here), so we have one left, we thought we'd crack it open after they return, send some back with him, and maybe a couple other boats who indicated they have no fresh fruits left will get some. It's a little old, so hopefully it's OK and we can spread some generosity. One of the other boats here came by to visit today, toured our boat and mentioned no more fruit, so we shared some mangoes (with the warning that they aren't quite like the ones we're used to) and the grapefruit that Steven had shared with us. They seemed pleased! They'll be high on the list for watermelon tomorrow. Cassidy made it all around the anchorage today exchanging books and DVDs with other boats so everyone has fresh supplies.


Some Local Flavor

The guidebooks report this place as abandoned, but it turns out one of the owners was here. He's probably in his 30’s; the property has been in his family for generations. He has a Marquesan name that none of us whities can grasp on to, so he called himself Steven, as do we. He has lived in Tahiti and lives in Hiva Oa, but likes to get away and live here instead. He's a very generous and gregarious guy. He loves interacting with the boaters and sharing his land, citrus trees, coconuts, and skills with sea life. He's a very active and hard working person! - -Always moving and doing. He loves the kids and calls them "Champion," which they love being called. Except Innocence, he knows her name and really likes her. He made her a shell necklace and shares everything with her. She endeared him when he gave her an orange and she began to swim to the boat with it. She treasured it and swam with it above her head. We saw her swimming and went and picked her up in the dinghy. She climbed in and continued eating her orange. He said it reminded him of himself when he was a kid.

He catches crabs on the shore and cooks them in lemon juice. - - - Lots of them. And he shares them. So, I've eaten a few shore crabs. So little meat, he showed me how to squeeze it out of the shell and out of the legs. Doesn't seem worth the effort to me for such a little bit of meat, but maybe it's a delicacy just lost on me?? He cuts open green coconuts and gives you juice, then cuts it in half, slices the side and makes a scooper and you can scoop out the meat to eat. Today he cut open a pamplemousse and gave some to each of the kids. Just generous!

Last night we had a potluck on the beach with him and all the boats. One of the boats made homemade bread and some pesto from fresh basil that he grew here and gave her. She also made him a key lime pie with his limes from the recipe I'd just given her. Everything works out nicely. At the potluck, he cut open some sea urchins, spread limejuice on them and was sharing them. Cassidy tried it, but ended up throwing it up. Well, nice try, at least she's trying new things.

He told us stories about his village in Hiva Oa. There's a beach town and mountain town, they were rivals, and when they fought, they ate each other. I asked if he was a cannibal, and he reassured me no. He said it was about 200 years ago. He is easy to talk to and has a good sense of humor. He is teaching us Marquesian, I try French, but he does pretty well in English, so communication isn't too hard. But some concepts are beyond me. I can't communicate them. But that's OK. It's been good French practice, but he's excited to teach us Marquesan. It's fun to learn phrases, more Hawaiian than French. But even the southern Marquesan islands have a different language than the northern ones! These language skills aren't going to get me far, but it's fun and he really seems to appreciate even the littlest communication in his native language!

He was telling us that he's had ciguatera a few times. He catches the fish and tries them before sharing them, so he's the one who gets sick. He's spent 3 days in a hospital in Tahiti for it. This bay is known to have ciguatera. He was telling us that if you wait 20 minutes after killing the fish, if it's limp it has ciguatera, but if it has rigor and is stiff, it is OK. Interesting. Why have I not read that before if it's accurate? That would be nice if we could tell??


Back to Tahuata – May 16, 2014

We came back to Tahuata because we love it so much, and the bay is one of the few clear water, coral, white sandy beaches, etc. in the Marquesas. We wanted some more shore time! And it was only 2 hours away.

We met another kid boat in Hiva Oa, so we did a kid swap. They have 3 kids, 9 (boy), 4 (girl) and 3 (boy). So it was a 2:1 ratio. We gave them 2 boys and they gave us 1 girl. We headed out. Coming out of the bay was getting a lot of bounce back waves and we were really rocking and getting a bit nauseated. Once we hit the channel, things got smooth. Apparently both of our boys got sick doing that ride on a mono-hull! Poor guys. But they enjoyed being with their friend, although they said they would not like to do that again. The girls on our boat had a fashion show with new swimsuits every about 5 minutes. I didn't go down due to nausea, but feared how the living room might be looking! But they were cute and having a great time.

We arrived in the bay, with many boats here, including our friends on Elena with the 3 boys. Yeah!! A gaggle of boys. We launched our kayaks and got to shore!


Sunday, May 18, 2014

Stephen -

At this wonderful bay of Hanamoenoa there is a Marquesan who lives here.  He is a wonderful giving man who loves life and showing people his wonderful island.  When I arrived at the island he climbed a coconut palm, chopped some coconuts off, whipped a big one open for me to drink, and a little one for me to eat the flesh from.  He also prepared some of his grapefruit and oranges, and as I thanked him, he said the stars dancing in our eyes were gratitude enough.  (He has a very special way with words!). Today we had him out to the boat to show him our way of life.  What a wonderful evening, we watched a video of our trip to and in the Galapagos, with the children all cuddling around, and as he left he said his heart was beating with joy, and filled with happiness.  You really have to meet him to get the true warm way he expresses himself.

All to soon we will head off to the next island!


Motorcycle -

The concept was good; it was just the wet muddy roads that were the issue.  So there is this place on the other side of Hiva Oa that has Tikis from long ago. The only way there is by 4x4. All we have is a 2-stroke 100cc motorcycle, so off we went. The first 3rd of the trip was easy and on a nice paved road. 

When the road turned to gravel, I actually turned the motorcycle around, but Shannon flashed her puppy eyes at me and said something to the effect of "I really wanted to see the Tikis". So I turned the bike around and off we went up the gravel road. When we came to a super steep portion of the road it was paved!  Perfect, they pave the steep parts. As we are going down the road the bike stalls, and will not re-start.  Not to worry though, we will start it at the bottom of the hill. After we get to the bottom of the hill, we are able to motor for ten minutes at a time, and then push the bike for ten minutes.  The quality of the road goes from bad to worse, and the rain starts to fall harder and harder. On the real steep muddy hill the motorcycle just slides out from under us. Shannon walks down the hill taking pictures while I surf the bike down the hill with my feet dragging in the mud. This strange nagging thought keeps going through my mind "how are we going to get back up these muddy hills?"  After making it to the Tikis we realize it took us over 4 hours to make it and we only have about 3 hours of sunlight to get back home.  Not the best situation!

As we go back the stalling problem keeps plaguing us, and the hills are so steep that the motorcycle can't start with the both of us. So Shannon walks ahead trying to find a semi-flat place where I can pick her up again. As we fight our way up the hills I have to lean over the handle bars with Shannon climbing up my back just to keep the motorcycle from flipping over backwards. It is first gear all the way. Finally the motorcycle just won't start. We coast and push it most the rest of the way home, but finally a truck passes us, and we flag it down, and Shannon jumps in the back to let the family know that we are ok. I continue with the pushing, and finally get it running.

This is a trip that we will not forget! What an adventure.
Now if we could only fix the stalling problem!