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Saturday, May 17, 2008

May 12 2008- Fatu Hiva, Marquesas

We decided to go explore some more of the island around Hanavave. First we took our empty jerry cans to shore to fill with the indigenous spring water. The children all immediately rallied round us, grabbing our containers and running to the faucets to fill them for us. This frenzied activity made Frank a little uneasy, and when later in our visit we had wanted to do more of the same before heading out for Hiva Oa he vetoed the idea, saying he didn't want to be bothered by all those children.
They are a little over the top with enthusiasm so I readily agreed. Anyway, one of the older girls named Priscilla convinced us to accompany her to her home to see her mother's tapa cloths and carvings. Tapa cloth is made from the inner bark of trees; the lighter cloth is from the mulberry tree, medium brown from the breadfruit tree and dark brown from the banyan tree. The women tap the bark into a flat"cloth" that looks like a mat-like material. Then they create pictures of animals, tikis,
people, scenery, etc., on the cloth. The result looks tattooed. Although we didn't see the process firsthand, these creations are very time consuming, thus very pricey to the consumer. This is the only island where the tapas are still hand made. We had no local currency so we took along a pair of reading glasses, candy, gum, perfume and a Steamboat Springs cap for trading. When we arrived, we looked at several tapas and chose two smaller, less intricate designs; one of turtles and one of a tiki
statue. We traded a small bottle of perfume, the hat and the reading glasses for both. When leaving, Justine (the mom) asked us to take some pictures of her children for her with our camera. We took several, telling her that we would return the next day with the prints. We then went for a hike up the other mountain side of the village. It seems there are 2 cows in the village and we saw them both. There are also a few beautiful, delicate looking, fancy stepping horses around the area. Finally,
feeling pretty wiped out we returned to our boat to do some tidying up, when the generator stopped working (ugh, again!). Without the generator we had no power because it was cloudy out and the solar panels were of no use. Frank got into some pretty intense troubleshooting with that while I printed out several 8x10 pictures of the tapa lady's children. By nightfall we were still without the use of our generator so Frank turned on the engine for a couple of hours to charge the batteries. We settled
in to a restless night. This bay boasts of rolling surges and at times we experienced wind gusts of over 23 kts.

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