Chapter 18: April 26th — May 18th, 2003: LAND HO!!! -- MARQUESAN ADVENTURE 
April 26-May 1, 2003: ISLAND OF FATU HIVA 
As I last wrote, we had just finished our nearly 3,000-mile, 24+ day passage from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico to the South Pacific French Polynesian Island of Fatu Hiva in the Marquesas.  Although squally (high winds and sideways sheets of rain) greeted us at our arrival destination, we were at last in Paradise.  The volcanic mountains 4,000 feet up, surrounding us with their tops always shrouded in a cloud, reminding me of scenes from my favorite childhood movie, South Pacific.  
We ended up staying in Fatu Hiva for 5 days.  Almost the entire time we were there, the anchorage was somewhat scary, in that with a venturi-effect coming over the mountains into the anchorage, we usually had steady 15-25 knots of winds with frequent bursts of over 40 knots of wind.  We swung around on our anchor continually day and night, making for some fitful sleep nights as we worried about how secure we were.  But our anchor did us well and held us securely. 
At least 5-6 times a day (always at the most inopportune time), we had accompanying these winds, huge downfalls of rain.  Although most of the time the rain only lasted 5-10 minutes, at least once a day (and usually more frequently) it came with such speed that we were unable to get to shelter fast enough, and such force and amounts that we ended up soaked!  Well at least it was “warm”.  Having said that, the other side of that inconvenience was the resulting green lushness and fertileness of the island.   Very different scenery for us in comparison to the desert-likeness of Baja and the jungles of the coastline of Mainland Mexico.  I don’t think we saw rain more than 4-5 times our entire previous 18 months of cruising (and that is including the hurricane we were in!)  
There are no real beaches here as most of the shoreline goes straight down to deep depths, as what is visible above the sea line is just the top of high volcanic formations.  What few patches of “sand” there are, are volcanic black sand. 
The Marquesas are on a funny time zone with things being -9 hours and 30 minutes GMT.  Not sure where they came up with the 30 minute idea! Also they have nothing like a daylight savings time here so it gets light in the mornings about 5AM and is pitch black by 5:30 PM.  Although between 85-90 degrees during the days (with 70% plus humidity), this is the beginning of their winters.  
The Marquesan language is a Polynesian dialect of it’s own that is only about 50% comprehensible to a Tahitian with lots and lots of vowels with just a few consonants, thrown in.  However, the population is taught French in school, as it’s “official” language.  Religious wise, it is the only island group of French Polynesian that is mostly Catholic, and every village has at least some type of catholic church in it’s center. 
Because of the island’s remoteness (no airstrip), the island has few tourists except the yachts like us who make this their first landfall.  The village has no bank, or post office.  It has one “store” but is about ¼ the size of 7-11 type store, or about the size of our master bathroom!  It does have a small freezer with some very old looking frozen chickens, but otherwise mostly canned and dry goods.  There is no fresh fruit or vegetables sold there as everyone has their own stocks of fruit, and well, I guess they just don’t eat vegetables.  There is a supply boat that comes in once a month to bring what the islanders need.  As I said in my last writing there are only about 600 people on the island, about 200 in this village of Hanavave, and the remainder in the only other (but slightly larger) village, Omoa, about 5 miles away.   The islanders though are happy and extremely friendly.  Since there is nothing in their store really to spend money on (they have no stores for clothing, shoes, make-up, etc) they love to trade with the cruisers (who are about their only visitors) that come ashore.  And they have 2 things that cruisers want.  One is an endless supply of the sweetest, most wonderful tropical fruits that I can ever remember trying: mangos, bananas, papayas, breadfruit, pamplemousse (a cabbage sized thick-skinned tropical grapefruit), oranges, tangerines, limes, etc. (As you can imagine after 3-4 weeks at sea, most cruiser’s supply of anything “fresh” has long since been depleted prior to arrival here.) The 2nd thing they have, and are quite famous for, are beautiful rosewood wood carvings (tikis, bowls, platters, boxes, etc.).   
As soon as you tie up your dinghy to shore, kids come running up to you asking for bon-bons (candy), as I guess throughout the years, cruisers started handing out candy, and now it is expected.  If you reach into your bag to bring out candy, one or 2 children yell out at the top of their lungs: BON-BON’s! And then within seconds, you are surrounded by at least a dozen or more little (and some not-so-little) kids with their hands reaching out.  Good thing I had a whole mega-sized bag of Costco Jolly Ranchers and lollypops for our stay there!  Shortly after the supply of candy is out, the kids dissipate and then you are approached usually by at least one local who asks in French (we learned the word quickly) for “exchange” — wanting to know if you wanted fruit… and in exchange, they asked for lipstick, nail polish, perfume, t-shirts, sunglasses, etc.  Everyone had fruit to exchange, and for a dollar tube (I stocked up at “dollar stores” before leaving San Diego) of lipstick and nail polish, you would receive bags, and I mean wheelbarrows full, of fruit.  They would cut a stalk of bananas with probably 30-40 green bananas plus all the afore mentioned fruits and literally put it in a wheelbarrow to help you get it back to your dinghy to take back to your boat.  But after only one trade of fruit, I had more than we could possibly use in a month, so I told the ladies (and guys also approached us) that I would only trade for woodcarvings.   
The trading went something like this: Joe and I were invited to one the “master” carver’s house and asked to lay out what we had to trade. (We had packed up and took ashore a 2 huge bags of old t-shirts, plus some new ones --again I bought some $3.00 “I Love San Diego” t-shirts from a “4-for-10$” store before we left SD--, plus a bottle of $4.00 Mexican rum, plus a partial bottle of perfume, several pairs of $4.00 Mexican sunglasses, some vegetable seeds, a coloring book and crayons (they all have children) and some fabric for our booty.)  Within about 5 minutes, 5-6 other ladies arrived to the house to see what I had brought, and bringing with them what they had to offer.  The previous day, I had already traded items (such as the above) for 2 wooden carved tikis…However, on this particular day, I was on a mission to “bid” for a particular intricately carved piece and I was primarily only wanting to “deal” with the master carver’s wife.  Anyway the process took over an hour — I would just lay out a few items, but they would keep pointing to my bag and asking me what else I had.  (Note, we don’t speak any French and the islanders do not speak a word of English… so communication was a challenge of hand signals.) Eventually, we struck a deal and we both got what we wanted.  Plus the lady also ended up giving us MORE fruit, so again we had to get the wheelbarrow “taxi” to help us get our goodies to the boat.  In total, we got 4 pieces of carved wood that they were selling for over $500.  According to our guide books the $100-$150 dollar piece carvings sold here on this island (such as I got) sell in Tahiti for 3-4 times that much.  So I felt I got some great trades for several pieces of beautiful art carvings, and in return, they got things of value to them.   
On another day while we were there, I went on one of the local’s outrigger canoes (with an outboard) along with another couple on a ride to the other island village, Omoa about 5 miles away.  It is a little larger (with a population around 400), but still tiny — again, as above, no fuel/gas stations, no post office, no restaurants, -- and also as above, just a tiny mini-mart type of store.  Instead of woodcarvings, this village is famous for its tapa cloth paintings.  So that was the “mission” of the other couple and I (Joe decided to stay with the boat, still unsure of our anchor holding!)  This village on this island is one of the last places in the South Pacific where tapa is made.  (Tapa cloth is the ancient technique of making non-woven fabric from the bark of a tree — usually mulberry trees.  The stripped bark is soaked in water to soften and then spread out flat on an anvil and beaten with ironwood for hours and hours until the bark becomes thinner and gradually stretches.  When the piece is finished it is then dried and painted into traditional designs.)  Anyway, our outrigger driver took us to the houses of several tapa makers (always women) and although we could not “trade” for these items, we made our purchases and returned by sea to our anchorage. 
The people in these 2 villages may be remote, but they are not poor.  The houses we went into (trading and making our purchases) had satellite TV with big screen TV’s, DVD players, CD players, etc.  We don’t know how they support themselves as other than their woodcarvings and tapas, there are no real businesses there (other than the 2 tiny mini-mart type stores).  From what we hear, the Marquesans are not real fond of the French, nor being “ruled” by the French, but there must be a lot of subsidizing going on as we saw no real way of making a living there. (We were told the French give each family “a house” and money for a vehicle.) There were some outriggers ashore that are used for fishing, but it appeared the fishing was for personal use and not to be sold, as were the huge supply of fruits.   
The island is also full of tons of ugly, and I mean big-eared, ugly skinny dogs.  When we mentioned this observation to one of the local women who spoke English (She was the “vice-mayor” and a school teacher at the one school), she said they have no way of “fixing” the female dogs so the population keeps growing.  She said at one time, it was so large, they put hundreds of dogs on a boat and took them all to the Tuomotos (next island group on our route) and left them there as they eat dog meat there, where-as the Marquesans do not.  (Guess we’ll have to be careful of where we eat once we get to the Tuomotos!) 
Speaking of eating… on our last night at anchor we and 13 other cruisers from the anchorage were invited to eat at a Marquesan family’s house.  A French lady arranged the invitation and went around to all the boats at anchor and gave us the details.  We first went to shore that evening and watched the locals practicing their dance routines.  [Note, the first 2 weeks of July, and ending on the 14th, Bastille Day, there is a huge celebration in Tahiti, in which all the island groups participate by sending their dance troupes for competition.  Now and for the next 2 months all the islands are practicing and practicing for the event.  This particular evening we got to watch one of these “practices.”]  Both men and women, about 24-30, were dancing with fancy footwork from the men, and swaying hips and expressive hands from the women to the beat of hand carved tall drums, guitars, and other ukulele type string instruments.   After about an hour of that, we went to our Marquesan host’s house for our feast… and what a feast it was–about 9-10 courses of native dishes, some of which included marinated “raw” fish in coconut milk, pork, green papaya salad, steamed breadfruit, chicken in coconut sauce, fried bananas, and something gooey in tapioca.  We tried a little of everything and had seconds on many items.  Even with stuffing ourselves, there was enough food for probably twice as many people!  We had quite an international crowd and all enjoyed ourselves, telling sea stories and making new friends. 
Unlike sailing in Mexico where 99% of all the boats are either from the USA or from Canada, in the anchorage here, we have boats from Israel, Great Britain, Germany, South Africa, New Zealand, and France.  And I thought WE came a long way!!! I really respect the distances these boats have traveled to get here.  It makes our journey REALLY seem like just a hop over a “puddle!”  We have also run into a few boats already from our “Puddle Jump” group.  It is nice being able to put faces now with a boat name and voices we have heard on the radio networks now for over a month. 
May 1st - May 2nd: ISLAND OF TAHUATA–Hanamoenoa Bay 
2 days ago, we left Fatu Hiva and headed to the next island, 45 miles away called Tahuata, where we are now. It is also a fairly sparsely populated island with only a few villages.  We are anchored in a bay with no buildings, houses, and no population though.  It is gorgeous in a totally different way than Fatu Hiva.  It has a white sandy beach, and since it is sand all below our boat, the water is that beautiful aqua colored that you picture in a South Seas paradise.  No more wind tunnel, but blue skies, and with one exception (last night) no rain squalls, so Joe for the first time in a month has finally gotten a couple of good night’s rest.  There are about 6 other boats here and again some more familiar names that we knew voices from the radio nets.   
Yesterday, we attempted to go to shore to the beautiful white sandy beach, but after only about 20 seconds of hitting land, we were covered with the famous inhabitants of the islands here, the “no no’s”.  No nos are a type of biting gnat that unlike a mosquito that attacks you with surgical procedure with it’s needle withdrawing blood, these wonderful Marquesan creatures chew and tear at the flesh to “drink the blood”, leaving ragged wounds susceptible to infection.  Usually you do not know you have been bitten until the next day when you wake up with severely itchy welts that take 1-2 weeks to disappear on most individuals.  We had come to shore we thought prepared and quickly sprayed almost an entire can of bug spray on our bodies and clothing, but saw that these no-no’s were not disappearing.  Joe then proceeded to totally immerse himself in the ocean water while I got the dinghy ready to make a quick exit out of there!  So much for our afternoon of “exploring” the beach!   
But otherwise, we have had a relaxing 2 days and it was time to move on as we still need to get to one of the “bigger” islands that have a gendarme so we can do our official island check in and be here “legally.”  So tonight we are off (overnight trip) to our third island, Oa Pou (pronounced wha-po) for an arrival tomorrow morning sometime.   
Just prior to pulling anchor, our Pacific crossing “buddy boat” Wind Spirit, pulled into this same bay set anchor here.  So although for just a few minutes of chatting, it was nice to see them for the first time since our departure from Puerto Vallarta, and to share tales our adventures on land so far… They are heading to Fatu Hiva after here (where we just came from) but perhaps our paths will cross again in a few weeks. 
May 3rd- May 7th: ISLAND OF OA POU — Hakahau Bay   
We had an uneventful (that means “great” and that nothing went wrong!) overnight passage from Tahuata to Oa Pou and arrived early the morning of the 3rd, greeted upon our passage into the bay by a large (4 ft. across) man-a-ray swimming along beside our vessel.  
After anchoring again, we were surprised at how many more boats from our Puddle Jump fleet we keep running into (some we’ve now seen at previous anchorages and some we are meeting for the first time.)  It is almost like a club where we’ve all passed our rites of passage and initiation and because of that will have lifetime friends.   
There actually is a “town” here (population on entire island is around 2,000 — but largest group of people live here) that has a small store, a bakery (that closes at 5AM — so we never got to buy from them), a post office, a “city hall” (actually just a thatched roof building, but it did 4 walls, real floors AND air-conditioning!), a bank (for our first time to exchange our US Dollars into French Polynesian Francs) and our first encounter with a gendarme.  So visiting with him was our first piece of business.   
For those of you who have been following our past adventures… you may remember me writing about the panic all of us Puddle Jumpers went through when we found out several months before departing Mexico that the French we only granting 1 month visas (with supposedly no extensions upon arrival) for boats visiting the French Polynesian islands.  That was a huge change from previous cruising seasons when upon arrival boats (and persons aboard) were given automatic 3 month visas with probability of getting another 3 month extension if applied for.  Anyway, supposedly all of this was changed and the new requirements were for cruisers to be able to stay more than 30 days, they had to obtain a 3 or 6-month visa IN the United States PRIOR to leaving (and for sure prior to arriving in French Polynesia).  Many of the people on our “fleet” of boats had to fly back to the USA from Mexico to obtain these visas at great expense (airfares, lodging, plus the costs involved of having an agent translate bank statements proving financial solvency and other documents from English into French PLUS several hundred dollars processing fees for the visas themselves.)  Note: not everyone could afford to do this, so their solution was to do nothing and to wait and see what happened once they arrived in French Polynesia. Anyway, Joe and I (being residents of Mexico now instead of the United States) were able to do our Visa paperwork in Guadalajara Mexico instead of flying to LA or San Francisco, but it took us several days worth of traveling back and forth, over 30 long distance phone calls, faxes, much frustration plus around 400$ to get the 2 3-month French visas.  So that’s the background on the visa situation. 
So everyone was anxious on the radio nets while crossing to hear from the first few boats that arrived ahead of the rest of us as to what happened when they checked in.  Were these difficult and expensive to get visas honored?  Were they needed?  It appears that they were NOT needed after all as the boats that did not have them were given 3 month automatic visas, while those of us who believed what we read, what we heard, what we were told by French Consulates, were the fools in this case.  And on top of that, I forgot to mention when Joe and I finally GOT our visas, they made the start date for our 90 days for the day before we left Puerto Vallarta (April 1st) instead of the day (which we did not know what exact date that would be) we checked in (May 5th).  That means that by the time we arrived already over a month of our 3 months had expired!  Oh well, the Gendarme in Oa Pou was as nice as could be and told us not to worry about it (famous last words)-- that we could get an extension once we arrived in Papeete, Tahiti in June.  At this point, we are NOT going to worry about it.  After all we’ve been through, if when it expires and if they were NOT to extend it, well, we’ll just leave and go somewhere else where they welcome our stay. 
By the way to depict how layback these islands are, when we met the Gendarme, he was outside his office in a tank top and shorts and flip-flops washing his bicycle.  At first he said the office was closed — (despite the sign saying we had arrived during office hours), but then he changed his mind and said he’d be right with us.  He dried off his hands and walked in his “office” and in about 5 minutes, we were done and out of there.  Very different from the usual half day of our time run-around we were used to in Mexico when checking in from port to port.  
Unlike Fatu Hiva, there were no children asking for bon bons, no people approaching us to do trades.  On this island like the others of the Marquesas (as we were informed Fatu Hiva is the only one that likes to trade), if you wanted to obtain woodcarvings, big amounts of Money is the name of the game.  So we were feeling quite lucky we had gotten what we did on Fatu Hiva. 
On the 4th day we were here a large ship called the Aranui pulled into our tiny anchorage.  The Aranui is a 350’ half passenger/half cargo ship that does 15 annual trips between Papeete and the Marquesas on a 16-day voyage stopping in the Tuomotos and then several islands in the Marquesas before returning.  It delivers the much-needed supply to the islands here plus returns with copra (dried coconut) and fruit… plus carries about 100 paying (and a dear price they pay) passengers.  Although not as luxurious as the mega cruise liners today, the Aranui has the usual onboard nighttime entertainment, buffets of food, plus tour guides for their planned shore excursions.  Also once the ships pull in, many of the locals rush to the docks to watch what is being unloaded: palates of cement, crates of beer, timber, fuel drums, and even cars and motorcycles.   
For us it was quite an exciting show to see how this huge ship could enter this tiny bay filled with about a dozen sailboats, and maneuver itself alongside a dock.  We watched from our decks in awe for about an hour.  Mi Gitana, ended up being only about 2 boat-lengths away from the cruise/cargo ship when she was finally in place.    
The other fun thing for us was “joining” in with the passengers of the ship for their shore excursion.  The passengers were walked in a group (and we cruisers just sort of “blended” into the mass) to an outdoor stage in a park where a table of fruits and marinated fish and coconut milk were set up for them.  Then they had a show of the local dancers demonstrate in full “costume” their traditional Polynesian moves.    From there a luncheon was catered for them at a restaurant (later we found out that this “restaurant” is ONLY open when the ship comes in… so in actuality is probably more of a caterer, than a public restaurant).  So we, along with about 8 other cruisers were allowed to join in with the ship passengers to participate in another feast (similar to the one we had in Fatu Hiva) trying more of the local culinary treats.  We sat at a table with some German passengers, but it seemed as besides a few scatterings of Americans, most of the passengers were French.  After the luncheon, the passengers were able to view at an open-air (Note: most everything in the Marquesas is “open-air” with prayers for a breeze, as otherwise you would suffocate from the high heat and humidity!) large meeting place, arts and crafts from the locals that were laid out for viewing and purchase. 
Later that afternoon, Joe and I were walking along one of the streets and saw in an abandoned lot a huge mango tree, with mangos the size of my head.  There were quite a few mangos on the ground that I picked up and looked at but put back down.  In our guidebooks, it emphasizes that ALL the coconuts and fruits on all of these islands are assumed to belong to someone privately and are not to be picked, even from the ground as that is considered stealing.  So having laid the fruit back down on the ground, we were about to walk away when a little girl who was watching us asked if we wanted some fruit.  I said I’d love to have one of the mangos that was on the ground and she took us to her house (adjacent to this “abandoned” lot) and soon her mother, grandmother, sister, etc. were all trying to get mangos down from the huge tree.  They wouldn’t let me have the ones on the ground!  They climbed up on a folding table and then up on their rooftop, and with a 12 ft. stick with a net “basket” on the end, they tried to coax loose mangos from the tree.  We kept telling them thank you, and they kept trying to get more and more for us.  With lots of “merci boucoups” and smiles, we walked away with Joe’s arms hanging stretched a few inches closer to the ground-- laden with 2 bags of probably 20 pounds of giant mangos.  Joe tried to pay them for the fruit, but they would not accept anything.  We returned the next day with a bag of candy for the little girl who first offered to help us. 
One night while at the anchorage, one of the cruisers suggested we have a “potluck” on shore so we could get to meet each other.  Almost all the crew from the various boats (and various countries) participated, so we had a great time talking and getting to meet new people.  We set our “dishes” on some pylons on the breakwater/dock (where the big ship had previously tied up) at sunset.  We were also entertained by several of the locals practicing maneuvers and races in their outriggers — we assume also preparing for the contests that go on in Papeete for the Bastille Day celebrations.  The outriggers they had were quite hi-tech looking–very sleek and made of fiberglass instead of the traditional carved out wooden ones. 
So that was pretty much our highlight of our visit at Oa Pou.  We again prepare to leave for our final island visit here --which is about 25 miles away — a half-day sail for us. 
May 8th — May 15th:  ISLAND OF NUKA HIVA: Taiohae Bay 
Nuka Hiva is our 4th (of a total of 8 Marquesan islands), island to visit, which is the biggest, the most populated, and the government “administrative center” and economic “capitol” of the Marquesas. Most of the islands 2,000 population are centered here in Taiohae.  The island was formed from 2 volcanoes, stacked one on top of the other, so as the other islands, the view from where we are sitting in the anchorage is gorgeous.  This is the largest bay, and hence the most populated with cruisers.  I count about 40-50 sailboats here (in contrast to the 6-12 other boats we have had at the previous locations we’ve been at so far). 
As with the other islands, the first westerners (sandalwood merchants and whalers) to visit these islands was not until almost the late 1700’s.  This is the island where Herman Melville (author of Moby Dick) jumped ship and spent 3 weeks in one of the small villages here, later, making it the setting of one of his earlier books, Typee, named after that village. Taipivai.  
[I might as well back up here as I haven’t thrown in too much of history yet in this journal chapter, so thought I’d include a little here for those of you who are interested, since most of you have not even heard of the Marquesas before I started writing my journal chapters:] Pre-European contact, the Marquesans were fierce warriors, with intricately tattooed bodies, who practiced ritualistic sacrifices to their gods and even cannibalism.  The Spanish in 1595 were the first to “claim” the islands as their possession in 1595 and promptly brutally shot hundreds of natives on site.  The Spanish, not wanting the English to take possession of them, kept their existence concealed form the world for another 200 years.  Later, not until 1791, an American trading vessel “discovered” the northern Marquesan islands and with them brought firearms, disease (smallpox, syphilis), and alcohol–significantly reducing the island’s population.  From a population of 80,000 in the early 1800’s, the population dropped to around 15,000 when the French “protectors” arrived and then was devastated to less than 1,000 by 1926.  Today the population is back up to around 8,000.  [Note, cannibalism was not officially outlawed until 1867!] 
During the 20th century, the experiences of the famous French painter, Paul Gauguin (who eventually settled, died, and is buried on the islands here), and the French Singer Jacques Brell as well as writers such as Melville (above) Robert Louis Stevenson (who visited the Marquesas and eventually settled in the South Pacific), James Michener (who wrote “Tales of the South Pacific” on which my favorite play/musical/ movie, South Pacific, is based) and even Jack London (“South Seas Tales) -- drew world attention to the Marquesas.  Then with the addition of airports (and frequent flights from Tahiti) on several of the islands now, and better telecommunications, the isolation of these island groups has decreased. 
Today in the Marquesas there is a sort of renaissance to try and regain their lost culture, which was wiped out by loss of their population as well as from the the missionaries.  The early missionaries, broke the tiki idols, disallowed future tattooing and made the natives cover up their existing tattoos with cloth, banned their rhythmic and “erotic” dances, and replaced their language with French.  Today most young men and many women even, display elegant tattoos on their arms, ankles and legs, and even sometimes on their faces and necks.  A lot of money is being spent to restore and preserve the 300-400 year old archeological ruins on the islands.  But also in contrast, the youth dress in t-shirts with American football logo, the houses have satellite dishes, radio stations play Polynesian chants mixed with reggae and Brittany Spears, and there an amazing amount of Land Rovers and Toyota pick-ups.  (In fact, in our visits on the islands here, we have seen not 1 car — only 4 wheel drive SUV’s and trucks!)  It also seems like most of the people (especially on this more populated island) have cell phones! 
I had been wanting for us to get off the boat for one day to take some type of guided tour, so Joe and I went in search of a tour guide.  We had a name that had been supplied to us, but no phone number and so just started asking people.  It seems that everyone knows everyone else on this island, so several people started giving us directions on how to find Andre’, or “Andy,” as he liked to be called.  Eventually one person told us his house was too far away for us to walk and told us to jump in the back of their pick-up truck and they would take us.  Joe and I complied, grateful for this example of Island hospitality that we had come to experience everywhere first hand since our arrival.  They took us up the mountain to Andy’s house but he was not there, so then took us back down the mountain to where Andy’s wife worked, and then she called him (on his cell phone!), he drove to where we were, and introductions were made.  Andy, a very husky colorfully tattooed Marquesan, proudly showed us pictures of when he was hired to work on the TV production of Survivor that was filmed here a little over a year ago — and said he could be our guide for the next day.  We in turn told him we would try and find another couple of people to go along with us to make his day trip more profitable for him.  [We asked 2 single guys that are sailing on the boat, Patriot, and they were grateful to join in for the opportunity… so arrangements were made for an early start the next day.] 
Our trip the next day was absolutely spectacular.  Andy’s 4 wheel drive SUV took us up over the high volcanic ridges through lush jungle-like vegetation, with several stops along the top to unimaginable panoramic views, some looking down over our anchorage, some looking down into other beautiful bays on the other side of the mountain, waterfalls and tiny villages below.     
With Joe’s arthritic knee and my bad hip, we had told Andy in advance that we DID want to see some of the vast number of archeological sites on this island, but none that involved a lot of hiking.  We stopped at the side of the road once, and he said to us — “can you walk perhaps 5 minutes?” and we said sure.  [Note: we used to make jokes about a “Mexican Minute” — but quickly learned the “Marquesan Minute” must be measured similarly!]  Well we walked up and up and up through a jungle with a narrow muddy path.  And then up and up some more.  We were beginning to breathe hard (which was a challenge not to get the swarms of bugs along the path inhaled through our nostrils or mouths!)  Finally after about 20 minutes with my face beet red, all us soaked through all of our clothes with sweat, I sounded like a kid with “are we there yet?”  Of course Andy (who’s main love of life is hunting wild pigs in this terrain), was barely perspiring and not breathing hard at all, replied, “just another few meters…”  Well another 15 minutes went by (still with us going up and up and up) and we came upon a clearing with huge ceremonial stone platforms surrounded by several carved stone tikis.  One of the stones in the center was curved, supposedly and alter where heads were laid across to be chopped off in sacrifice.  We rested (tried to return our breathing rate to “normal), took in the beauty and solitude, and took photos before starting back down retracing our paths back to our vehicle.  We continued down into the village of Taipivai, (as per above where Herman Melville wrote about in Typee), and then continued over the mountains to the North side of the island.  Enroute, we stopped at 2 more much larger (and MUCH easier to get to!) archeological sites (Hikokua, Kamuihei and Tahakia).  These are vast sites spreading out fairly large distances with ancient homes, burial sites, more stone tiki carvings, amphitheater type ceremonial grounds where dances, human sacrifices, and rites of passage ceremonies took place.  There were 2 banyan trees (considered sacred) on the sites one of which was the largest I have ever seen in my life.  We ended our exploring in the seaside village of Hatiheu at a “famous” open-air (naturally) restaurant’s called Yvonne’s.  Earlier in the day (before we left our tour) Andy had called the restaurant and ordered in advance our lunches.  Actually it was like a feast!  We EACH had 2 very large and 1 small lobsters, with fried breadfruit fritters, and fried plantains — all cooked to perfection.  This was followed by caramelized fried bananas and wonderful strong French Coffee. We also must have consumed several liters apiece of bottled water due to our dehydration and excessive sweating from our “5 minute” hike!  Our lunches were not cheap though!  $40 a piece — but not a bite was left on our plates, and it was a great ending to a great tour.  After lunch, we walked around the village and along the shoreline for a bit and then Andy retraced the path back over the mountains to return us to our anchorage and where we started.  Oh yes, enroute back, Andy with his machete cut down several stalks of green bananas, and got us coconuts for our boat supplies.  He also stopped at his house enroute back to town and loaded us up with bags of fresh limes.  It was a wonderful day! 
We’ve also had some not so nice days while here on Nuka Hiva.  One day we decided we needed to take advantage of the fuel dock here and reload up on our diesel.  That was not an easy process, with a concrete pier, huge swells and wind with rocks all around… anyway, it ended up being a stressful, strenuous and nearly a day project!  That day I also had had the worse diarrhea of my life and was quite drained.  Joe eventually got the same thing and the next day we both were down flat — drained (literally) dehydrated, and exhausted. The following day, we felt alive again, and went to shore.  When we dinghyied back to our boat around noon, we noticed that our boat was not in the same place we had left it.  Our anchor had dragged.  We had 2 anchors out at the time (a bow and stern to keep us pointing into the swell so we would not roll so much), but eventually got the 2 of them wrapped around each other.  6 hours later, many cuss words later, one man overboard later (to increase tempers even more, Joe slipped when trying to get into the dinghy and fell in the water–and since hammerhead sharks are frequent occupants of this bay — that added to the panic), plus with the help eventually of some other cruisers, we got the stern anchor up and the bow anchor re-set shortly after sunset.  Joe said he was going to get on the first plane back to the states the next day!  (But actually the “next day” happened to be our tour day with Andy, so it was a much needed rejuvenation of our spirits, and you can see why it was wonderful to get off the boat for the day!) 
Amidst the joys and beauty of where we are… as above, shipboard life is usually far from easy and everyday brings new challenges and more than our share of frustrations.  Something is always breaking, and the unexpected problem is always there-- just under the surface waiting to show it’s ugly head.  I have been trying to find the source of something somewhere on the boat that is making the interior smell like something died.  So far no luck.  We also have a mysterious rotten egg smell coming out of our galley sink drain, which we cannot get rid of.  Today, Joe went to get a can of oil for the engine from under one of our settees (“couches”) and found that 2 huge gallon cans of bright blue bottom paint (anti-fouling paint used to paint the bottom of boats — at about $250 each can!) had corroded through, so not only have we lost the paint, but it is literally all over everything under the settee and floorboards… his engine spare parts, tool boxes, tools, etc.  What a mess.  He has been working on that now for hours, something that was NOT on his project list for today! {One thing of note though, the strong smell of the spilt paint has now replaced, at least for now, the smell of the “dead” in here!}  
Plus of course we still have things that need to be repaired that broke on our voyage over here (nothing so essential that we cannot sail out of here — but important things).  It was hard enough to deal with and handle these repairs, frustrations, and problems when tied to a dock in Mexico.  But we now know how easy we had it.  We at least spoke a little (me, that is) of the language — here we speak no French.  Along the Mexican coastline that we traveled, we at least were in an environment of commercial fishermen so there were at least SOME marine products and boat repair facilities and parts in most towns and villages we were in, and since we spent most of our cruising in Mexico in fairly large populated resort towns, with lots of other well networked American cruisers — someone always knew how to help you get what you needed (parts or service).  On top of that, to get repairs done, we usually had a dock at a modern marina to work on, not a rolling boat, with electricity (not solar and battery power), and at the end of the work day, we could stroll down the dock take as long of a hot shower as we wanted, before going for a margarita, and an unlimited choice of restaurants to eat out at — should we desire.   
Life at anchor does have some of the romance that you may picture: we do have starry nights, but they are more often than not, interrupted with high winds and torrential downpours which in minutes will soak the inside of your boat — your settee cushions, your bed, your clothes, your books, unless you are extremely fast at closing all portholes and hatches.  More often than not, the gentle swaying you think you would have aboard at anchor is more of a rock and rolling making sleep, taking showers, working on projects, and eating cooking difficult. To go to “out to eat” (which in Mexico we did about 3-4 times a week!) means a dinghy into town, getting your bottom wet on the rubber “inner-tube” sides, getting sprayed with salt water, jumping out of the dinghy thigh high in salt water and mud (not making it conducive to even partially dress nicely!) and walking around town wet and soggy with muddy feet.  Then here, when we went into town to eat (first town where there actually IS a restaurant), we found out that it was not open during the day, but only after 7PM — 2 hours after it is pitch black, making it difficult for us to return for a much anticipated “French —Marquesan” cuisine meal.  So after nearly a month at sea, and now 3 weeks in the islands, we are still mostly eating aboard. 
May 16th — May 17th: Back to Oa Pou Island — Hakatau Bay 
This is our last anchorage in the Marquesas.  We doubled back to this island (where we visited but on the other side of the island prior to Nuka Hiva) as it is a little bit closer to our next destination in French Polynesia…the Tuamotus, therefore, supposedly a good position to take off from.  We had hoped to have a relaxing couple of days here before leaving for another 4-5 days at sea traveling another 500 miles.  It probably wasn’t our best idea.  The anchorage had a lot of wind tunneling down over the mountains (with gusts over 20 knots) and the swells were very large and because they were coming in at a 90 degree different direction from the wind, we were taking them broadside so had huge back and forth rolling on the boat day and night.  For sure we did NOT have a restful couple of days.   
However the view onshore at this small (<200 people) village were almost as breathtaking as at Fatu Hiva with huge finger shaped spires and lush green mountains.  We went to shore for a couple of hours and met the “mayor,” Etienne, who is known to cruisers as being friendly and helpful.  He and his wife, Yvonne took us up to their house up on the side of one of the mountains for us to see the view and to sign their guest book, which had photographs and signatures of boats that have visited for years gone back.   
Otherwise, we had an uneventful stay here, mostly just getting the boat ready to go out on a big passage again… and mentally preparing ourselves for the same.  
May 18th, 2003: Departure from the Marquesas 
We left this morning from Hakatau on Oa Pou beginning our voyage to our next destination, Tuamotu Archipelago.  This is a group of 78 islands, all but 2 being coral atolls, lies spread across 1,000 miles.  Normally, in the past, setting off for even an overnight passage, let alone a 4-5 day/4-5 night one, would have seemed to be a big deal… but after our Pacific Crossing, this seems small potatoes.  Anyway,  I will save tales of our passage there and explorations for another chapter and end this one for now. 
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