One week in Fatu Hiva

It’s Sunday, and we are still in Fatu Hiva, still apparently out
of sight of the gendarme. Many of the other boats who came in
about the same time as we did are also still here. Guess no-one
is anxious to leave, and the gendarme is not terribly
consciencious about identifying the new boats. Good. We heard
that there will be a customs boat coming here this week, and
they apparently come boat to boat making sure everyone is
officially registered. We are planning to move on in a few days
anyways. Yesterday was the big once a month event when the
supply boat comes in to Fatu Hiva from Papeete. It also carries
about 100 tourists – and offers a very interesting way for
people to visit several of the islands in the Marquesas if they
do not have their own boats. We went to town to watch the
festivities, but it was actually very low key. All of the
tourists from the boat were shuttled in on small launches and
were milling around the dock and most of the sailers were also
milling around. The locals had set out tables with fruit and
passed out fresh coconut milk, and did a few dances, and played
music. The boat unloaded a lot of supplies, including two
horses which someone apparently had bought from another island.
The local artisans were selling their wares, but they are not
that great so we just had a glass of coconut milk and went for a
walk to look for limes and other fruit.
On the way back to our boat we were called over by our friends
on Vera who had prepared a delicious pasta dinner and wanted us
to join them. It is funny, but in some ways it is like being in
Israel where people are always dropping by or inviting you over.
When we eventually made our way back to our boat we were
called over yet again by our friends on Intiaq. They were
holding up a big dead fish for us. Apparently the boat with the
5 young South Africans that is anchored behind us had done some
fishing that evening and knew we were still trying to get some
fresh fish, so they came by to drop one off for us, and finding
us not home, they left it with our neighbors. It was a funny
present to receive – a big silver glassy eyed fish sitting in a
tupperware container. We were excited to get it though, and
promptly put it in the fridge for dinner the next night.
Today, Sunday, was a pretty quiet day here. I am finding I need
to be more creative with cooking as there is so little to buy,
so I baked banana bread and with the help of some yogurt culture
from a friend, started making yogurt ( still waiting for it to
work). We went into town late in the afternoon for a walk and
to try and do some more trading. We walked over to the house of
our blond, toothless friend that had wanted to get hair dye from
us in exchange for some food or honey. We were just about to
complete our deal – a bottle of hair dye for her, plus some
marking pens for her grandson – when one of her daughters (also
toothless) scotched the deal. She started laughing at her mom
for trying to get hair dye that would make her a brunette, when
what she wanted to be was a blond. Too bad, as we were about to
get some amazingly delicious honey. We ended up just trading the
markers for a half dozen oranges and some green beans.
Afterwards we did manage to purchase a couple kilos of fresh
tuna (for cash) from one of the fisherman, which is now nicely
wrapped and laying in our freezer.
As you may have guessed, we don’t have a clue what is going on
in the real world. We have not seen a newspaper or been on the
internet for a month now, so we are really out of touch… the
last several times we looked, nothing much seemed to have
improved in the world, so we are not that anxious even now to
get caught up. And that is pretty strange, given how addicted
we both are to the NY Times. I am sure once we get home we will
get back on track, but for now we are just being vagabonds.