Wednesday, June 22, 2011

As Good As It Ever Was

So this was our view from the decks of Galactic in Baie Hanavave, Fatu Hiva, where the mothership came to rest after our twenty days at sea.  This was only the third time that we had every anchored this boat - once in Sausalito, once in Half Moon Bay, and then here.

Elias and I taking our trusty dinghy Smooches for a spin at the end of the day.

I love the Marquesas in an unreserved way.   I love the way that the islands are so remote, so that you reach them after weeks at sea, your senses completely deprived of the reassuring sights and sounds of land for all that time, so that when you reach these islands you are so ready to enjoy everyday things like the sound of the surf on the beach, or the taste of fresh fruit.  I love how clear the light is here, and how forbidding the rain clouds that hang over the mountainous islands, and I love the tradewinds that are always blowing, ready to carry you away when it's time to leave.

I love how friendly the people are, in spite of the fact that there are so many of us yachties anchoring in their bays and walking through their villages.

We spent 42 days in the Marquesas on our last trip across, and Alisa and I were very happy to find ourselves immediately back in the groove once we arrived at Fatu Hiva.  Of course there were pressing jobs to address on the boat, and the killing daily round of child care, and a mountain of passage laundry to wash.  But we ignored these things as best we could (except the child care!) and enjoyed the feeling of being back on land, but in such a foreign place.

The first coconut of the trip!

Hiking to the waterfall - cruising the Marquesas largely seems to boil down to trading for fruit and hiking to various waterfalls - so much so that when locals see yachties wandering around in the bush they immediately ask 'Cascade?' and point you in the right direction.

Jacques is a carver and we traded him for the tiki carving he's holding in his left hand.

Jacques' son gave Elias another carving as a gift - it's wrapped in paper here.  Generosity is a big part of the Marquesan mystique - a woman gives you some fruit just because you are walking by her house with your two boys, and then you come back the next day with a toy for her grandson.  Or you trade a carver for a tiki carving and his son gives your son another carving as a gift.
We began to explore the recreational possibilities of Galactic - here Elias prepares to take the plunge off the jupe.

Elias and I ventured in to the village one night (Alisa drew the short straw and stayed on board with Eric) and we found that holy grail of travel experiences - people practicing some ritual aspect of their culture, not as a performance for visitors, but for themselves.  These eleven drummers were providing the music for a meticulously-choreograhed dance by about thirty villagers.  What a joy that was, to stumble upon Polynesian dance in our first anchorage of the whole trip.  And it was LOUD - I was wondering if it was really responsible for me to expose Elias's ears to so many decibels.

I've always considered travel videos to be the bailiwick of those time-rich souls who are sailing without small children.  But who knows, I may be able to post some footage of the dancing.  For now, though, time to go - we're currently in the 'big city' of Atuona, and, having obtained water and internet, it's time for us to be somewhere else!

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful pictures! What a happy time for you. Glad to see Tree (the little stuffed panda from the San Diego Zoo) accompanying Elias on his adventures. Love to all, Joan