Saturday, May 17, 2008
We're now in Nuku Hiva, after visiting Hiva Oa, Tahuata, Fatu Hiva and Ua Pou. We have found each island uniquely different and are enjoying the diversity. The Marquesan people are very kind and generous.
At Fatu Hiva, the girls and I had arranged to teaching English, but the government changed the school schedule and the day we were to start was actually the start of a two week vacation. Oh well, maybe we'll do that somewhere else, the ladies from Casteel were sure disappointed as they had planned out an entire two week curriculum. On the up side, since the kids were not in school, they were outside playing which was really fun to be around. Kids of all ages, as young as 2 were all playing in the water without fear, it's quite different from Canada, about 50% of the boys were in swim suits while the rest and all the girls were just in their underpants, I remember doing that when I was a little girl!
One of our favorite memories to date was a day of trading with the villagers on Fatu Hiva. We went into the village to trade for two Tiki's (Marquesan statues) as souvenirs for the girls and we approached a home where the door was open and looked inside but there was no one there. A lady was walking up the street and invited us to go inside and she found the lady who lived there and we sat on her floor while she displayed her husbands carvings. I guess word gets around quickly in a small village and within about 20 minutes there was a big crowd of local ladies who had all come to visit with us for the opportunity to trade for fruit, tapas (pounded bark with paintings on it) and carvings. It was very enjoyable and we ended up trading 5 tee shirts and 300 feet of nylon line for the two tikis and we traded with another lady, 2 tee shirts for 2 necklaces, and with another, a key chain and a necklace for a stock of green bananas which we will get tomorrow and the best trade of all...a lipstick and a mascara for some PIG!
Before we left Fatu Hiva, they mayor threw a big feast for all the villagers and the cruisers were all invited, this was our first taste of traditional Marquesan food. We were served roasted pig, breadfruit, plantains and something else we couldn't quite recognize, while it wasn't our favorite meal, it was certainly a fun experience.
We travelled overnight to Ua Pou and just before we arrived, we caught a great big whitefish which we shared with Maryke Violet and Hannah who came over for dinner. The kids played volleyball on the quay with the local kids which was a wonderful experience for them and very fun for us to watch. Just before we left, Gerrimae and I walked up to the store for some ice which came in a HUGE bag, probably 20 pounds or more and very awkward to carry, and as we were leaving the store I was saying that we could really use a ride and we had walked no more than about 50 feet when a lady and her two daughters stopped to offer a lift which we greatly accepted. Before she took us to the quay though, she drove us up to her house and gave us a gift of bananas and guavas, we're not talking a Canadian sized bunch of bananas here, we're talking a stock of about 60 of them! Too kind.
At another anchorage on Ua Pou we waked up to a gorgeous waterfall and had a very refreshing swim before stopping at a local Snack (small restaurant) for coffee and (what else) a snack! We had Poisson Cru, which is a combination of raw tuna, lime juice, tomato, onion, salt pepper and coconut cream, it was delicious and we can't wait to catch a yellowfin tuna so we can make some on board. Pierre and his wife were the most gracious hosts who delighted in our curiosity over the preparation of the meal and picked a breadfruit for us and showed us how to prepare it so that it tastes like french fries - we ate the entire thing - the kids, especially, enjoyed the bread fruit fries!
We're now in Nuku Hiva, our last island before heading South to the Tuamotus, a group of Atolls about three days South West of here.