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Thursday, May 15, 2008

May 9-11, 2008 - Hanavave, Fatu Hiva

Hanavave on the island of Fatu Hiva is a wonderful and needed respite for those cruisers who just made a long, arduous passage. Its small bay, Baie Hanavave/Baie des Vierges has had several names. According to legend it was originally named "Bay des Verges" which translates, Bay of the Phalli because of the suggestive shape of the rock pillars that line the entrance. Missionaries in the area disapproved; therefore, an "I" was added to the word verges, transforming it to vierges (from phalli to virgin). The village rests between two steep mountains, and reminds us of Maui because it is so lush and colorful. It is overrun by chickens, crowing roosters and cats. Each modest home has a yard that looks professionally landscaped, and is full of chickens, most have at least one pig and a dog or two and dozens of cats. Unbelievably, with all these chickens running around there are no eggs here. Hibiscus trees tower overhead, as well as wild citrus trees (limes, lemons, oranges, and pamplemousse which resembles a large green grapefruit), banana trees and coconut trees, breadfruit trees, mangoes and papayas and exotic flowering plants of every color grow rampant throughout. You are cautioned not to pick the fruit because the islanders own them. We found out quickly that we are expected to trade for the fruit and for local handcrafted items. Women typically ask for perfume, make-up, earrings, shampoo and clothing. Men ask for bullets, t-shirts, fishing gear, sunglasses. Children follow us everywhere dancing all around us shouting "bon-bon" and "bo-bo", begging for candy and gum. We traded a t-shirt and 3 hotel-size bottles of shampoo to a woman for 7 pamplemousse and a hanging bunch of bananas. We walked to the local policeman's home to report our arrival and to ask permission to stay in Hanavave . Because we had not yet checked into the country in Hiva Oa, he told us (in French) that we could stay until Monday. We do not speak French and he does not speak English, so using hand gestures and stumbling around with the few words we knew, including some that Frank made up (he does that and always gets away with it), we asked the official if there was anything that he needed. He indicated that a shirt would be nice and a pair of sunglasses. I whipped out a colorful t-shirt from my bag and told him we had an extra pair of sunglasses on the boat. He grunted and agreed that we could stay a few extra days until our sister boat Imagine, arrives from Manzanillo. Then he invited us to the village festival to be held on Saturday. We then walked around and took a short hike up the mountain to where the pavement ends. My energy is slowly coming back, thank God. In the afternoon several more boats arrived. We now have 14 crammed into this .5 mile wide bay. There are now 2 German, 1 Canadian, 2 French, 2 Austrian, 2 Dutch, 3 American, 1 English and 1 from Bermuda. The Canadian family, Jay and Marg are cruising with their teenage daughters Jenny and Jocelyn on their 48 ft. Tayana sloop called Malachi, and are anchored next to us. We've met several of the others here and feel a real sense of community.
Saturday, we got up and did some more maintenance on Destiny. We've got water leaking in down the mast into the interior, and along one of the bulkheads on the starboard side behind the settee where we store food. We found the mast leak - Frank tightened the seal around the mast, but can't find the source of the other. So we went to the feast on shore. By the time we arrived the fish and pork had been eaten but we got some excellent roasted chicken. We tasted "coco" - yuk! It is a drink made form coconut that tasted more like garlicky ranch dressing. Frank tried to discreetly put his in the trash. I poured mine over the rice and it made a nice sauce. The islanders gathered under a hut and sang songs in their native dialect. We met some of our fellow boaters and then went on a long hike up the steep mountain. We made it all the way past the cross that is on top. I was amazed that I had gotten past the ills of the last several days and had managed this feat because at times it was so steep we worried about falling backward down the mountain. It was a beautiful hike and took us about 4 hours up and back. We saw panoramas that took our breath away!
Sunday we took it easy and tied our floats to tethers and jumped in the water for some swimming. We were as lazy as possible! Then that evening I made a key lime pie and we went over to have dessert and coffee with Malachi, the Canadian family. What a joy they are! Marg showed us the tapas and carvings that she and the girls, had bought and traded for, while Frank and Jay talked about man stuff up in the cockpit. They were leaving early Monday morning for Tahuata, and we vowed to see one another again down the way.
while at sea:
Skype ID: frank.barb.gladney

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