139* 09.1' West
Hiva Oa, Marquesas, French Polynesia
April 26, 2010
I have fallen into bed the last couple of nights because our days have been so jam-packed. Yesterday, Tim, Behan and I rode into town early in order to catch the farm truck. We were rewarded with fresh lettuce, melons and passion fruit! Being Saturday, the baguettes were a little later than usual, but when Behan picked them up, they were still warm. I would call that a good thing. Brad had wanted to check out the Gaugin Museum and so, upon finding out that it was only open in the morning, he and Jamie, hoofed it into town with the boys. We only managed about a half hour, but it was worth it. What a collection of Gaugin's art - very impressive. A local young man, about the boys' age, took great pleasure in sharing a book full of traditional Marquesan designs. After a quick snack of soft ice cream (buy it when you can-it might be gone if you come back later), we headed to the local snack shack, Snack Make Make (pronounced: snack-makki-makki), for hamburgers. We ate with some other folks from the anchorage. One of the families had three young kids and we heading back to Sydney, Australia from buying their boat in Croatia! They had crossed from the Galapagos to the Marquesas. The boys pushed the bikes up to the top of the hill while I made a quick detour to the local carver's house - his wife had targeted me in the post office parking lot while I was trying to send the last blog post. They were a great couple with beautiful carvings for sale. Cruisers must provide one of the better opportunities for selling their wares - yes, we now have a small tiki protecting CAPAZ. Upon our return to the boat, we quickly grabbed water bottles and jumped back in the dinghy to meet most of the crews of Totem and Mulan for a hike up the valley above the anchorage to see some petroglyphs and a swimming hole. The rock art was impressive and the swimming hole was cool. The took great pleasure in holding very still so that the fresh water shrimp would come and give them an exfoliation treatment.
Today, we woke up and Brad decided we should rent a car and see the rest of the island. This activity came highly recommended by both Oso Blanco and Mulan. I rode to the car rental place here by the anchorage which was locked up tight. I then, continued on to the one in town. David, the owner and his wife, were more than happy to rent me their truck (the kind with a full back seat). Unfortunately, it required about a 45 minute tune-up before I got headed back to the anchorage. Brad and Tim made sure our anchor was secure and pulled together a picnic lunch and we were off. For the most part the roads here are great, but along the coast, going to the Tiki site on the other side of the island, Andrew best describes them as "good old country roads like back home" (he's from New Zealand). Did I mention the goats crossing the roads on some of the hairpin switchbacks? We are talking narrow and clinging to cliffs. All in all, it was worth it. The Tiki site at the end of the road was well worth it. The other place that we checked out was an idyllic community down a beautiful, lush valley that opens into a small bay. The whole mouth of the narrow valley is a community park with a soccer field, outrigger club, and swimming hole (the river is dammed up before it runs into the sea). There were locals picnicking and playing bocci ball. Even though it was a steep, rocky beach, I still managed to find a few good shells. The only gas station on the island was not open today, so we were sweating our fuel situation and coasted most of the from the 2700' ridge down into the anchorage.
We plan to get ourselves packed up in morning and return the car before we headed to Tahuata for a couple of days. Then, we will be heading northeast to Nuku Hiva for a rendez-vous with Tim's wife and my college roommate, Kelly!
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