Adventures on Land
We finally got 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep our first night at anchor, except for poor Captain Diana who wanted to sleep outside due to the heat and kept being woken up by intermittent South Pacific rain... She therefore decided to hang back while the three of us climbed into the dinghy at 7:30am for Easter Mass at the local church.
What an experience that was! There were perhaps 100 people in the little church, and a little under half of them were other sailors visiting from their boats. We were all welcomed graciously. The Marquasians mostly dressed in white - the women with beautiful floral crowns, and delicate lace sleeves. Four men who appeared to be priests ran the show, but women were often called up to speak - the whole sermon seemed to be shared among them...especially the music! They rarely went more than a few minutes without bursting into a joyful upbeat song, accompanied by guitar and drums. The whole sermon was in Marquesian (which in itself is beautiful) so we especially loved the music. Afterwards, a few of the locals greeted us and asked to trade goods (offering fruit in exchange for perfume, makeup, shoes and clothes).
That afternoon we went to lunch at a local family's house. They make much of their living by inviting tourists to come for lunch. We paid $20 each, for a grand feast - bread fruit, pasta, papaya salad, various fruits, grapefruit juice, rice, and various meats that Diana and Emma didn't partake in, but Connie and Anne greatly appreciated. Even better than the food, was the opportunity to chat with the family. We asked them in French what the sermon had been about that morning, what family life was like on the island, where the kids went to school, etc. What friendly people! Before we left, we traded them clothes, jewelry and cosmetic items for a ridiculous amount of fruit. Our favorite fruit here is grapefruit (bigger and sweeter than grapefruit back home). The family gave us about 20 of them, that we lugged back to the boat. We love blending them up for grapefruit smoothies!
The next morning we took a (very difficult) hike straight up to a beautiful lookout point far above the bay, and another through the jungle to a spectacular towering waterfall with gentle trickling water and a small pool to swim in at the base. It was a perfect way to wrap up our time in Fatu Hiva. We had to get to Hiva Oa next to check in with immigration - and see our buddy boat Agatha!
Hiva Oa is the second most populated island in the Marquesas (though only 1500 people live there). It had the basic resources we needed for provisioning -a couple little grocery stores (veggies!), fuel, very slow wifi, a hardware store, and the local police station for immigration of course.
As nearly everyone stops there after puddle jumping, this was a great place to meet people from around the world that had recently arrived, and to catch up with old friends that we knew from Puerto Vallarta.
We spent a total of 4 nights there usually spending the mornings at the "Internet cafe" - a little hut on the point with a spectacular view where one can buy a coffee for a dollar in exchange for wifi that'll sometimes allow you to download a picture or two. We also visited the Paul Gaugin museum (consisting of replica paintings of the famous French artist who spent much of his life living on Hiva Oa), tried Tahitian beer at one of the town's two restaurants, and worked on various boat projects. On our last day, we found our favorite person ever - Momo, a young German mechanic, who managed to fix our auto pilot aaaand our aft toilet. We will be forever grateful.
We just arrived at another island (much more remote this time), so there are certainly more adventures to be had! This place is exactly what we imagined the South Pacific to be like. Clear waters, picturesque beaches, and green towering hills. We plan to spend our time here snorkeling, lounging on the beach, and exploring the beautiful jungle hills.