Ahhh yes, where I left off- the front head making ‘the noise’.
Turns out it was a false alarm much to everyone’s relief, especially Mikes- the chief repair-man and me, the last user!
We are now in the Tuamotos, well one of the Tuamotos, an atoll called Fakarava. Bet you can guess who LOVES saying that name over and over and over again…
I’m not sure I can describe the beauty of this place but I’ll pull out the mini thesaurus and have a crack…next post.
I need to back track to the Marquesas- a place about as geographically and visually contrasting to where we are now. Spectacular doesn’t even begin to cover these vertical land masses that literally and most welcomingly spring out of the Pacific ‘all of a sudden.’
As previously mentioned we landed in Hanavave, Fatu Hiva, also known as the Baie de Vierges or Bay of Virgens. Legend has it that the original French name was the Baie de Verges meaning the Bay of Phally or Penis, based on and I’m guessing, the numerous and large upward rock protrusions that border this area- it’s amazing how often people name places after themselves on ‘discovery’ of a new place! Apparently this offended the subsequent missionaries so they added an i changing it from Penis Bay to Virgin Bay- quite amusing really, in a Monty Pythonesque kind of way.
It was stunning and we would have loved to stay but we headed over to Hiva Oa where we had to check in, or so we thought. Turns out we arrived a day before Bastille Day, so everything was closed, then it was the weekend and check in happened a little later, on a different Island.
All turned out well as we were reunited with our friend Marco, a Brazilian who is on his 2nd solo circumnavigation. We originally met him in Portobello, Panama and spent quite a bit of time with him in the Galapagos. We also met a fantastic Greek couple, Jorgos and Karina, (who we’d crossed paths with in Galapagos but never actually met) and spent Bastille Day with them in Atuona. We watched the local dance groups and enjoyed a wonderful local lunch then wandered up the hill to the cemetery where the residents really can rest in peace. Frangipani trees are scattered throughout and the view is nothing short of spectacular- only rivaled by the cemetery between Clovelly and Bronte in Sydney’s Eastern Beaches- well that I know of, it’s not like I spend a lot of time in these places.
Paul Gauguin (the Painter) is buried here.
A day or so later we left for the island of Tahuata and enjoyed an amazing breakfast with Stephen who lives in the bay where we anchored. He made us coconut milk coffees and attending boats all took something to share. That same evening we got together again for dinner however this time we were significantly greater in number and nations. There were 26 people in attendance comprising of 6 Americans, 1 Brazilian, 5 French, 3 Australians, 2 Spanish, 1 Polish, 1 Israeli, 4 Portuguese, 1 Polynesian and 2 Greeks! One of the Americans was half Brazilian and his wife was half French, our kids were the Spaniards and we could throw in a Brit too if we were looking at passports!
I took my Triple Chocolate Brownies, which went down very well and very quickly I might add! Kids toasted marshmallows, the boys played with sticks and fire, Seb burnt his hand on a stick, you know how it goes!
We moved to a bay a few miles along the next day and walked up a big hill with a breathtaking view of the anchorage. Hibiscus, Frangipani and Gardenias lined the road we walked along, the later two scenting the air so sweetly I wished I could have bottled it, saving some for later, (and for my clothes locker!)
We had many other special moments during our time in these islands. After another brief stop in Hiva Oa, (where we were welcomed onto the private property of a family and given a tour by the girls, guava jam and bread, papaya, bananas and some big smiles) we headed to Taiohae Bay, Nuku Hiva. This was a ‘possibility’ for hanging out during Mike’s next stint of work in August but wasn’t really suitable, (our anchor dragged and it was quite rolly, not wonderful on my own with the kids for 2+ weeks). Here we were reunited with Freya, the Danish boat, (and family) we hung out with in the Galapagos. The kids were so excited to see their 3 children again. We shared a lovely impromptu meal with them on our boat one evening and then a great lunch the next day before they headed off to another bay.
It was also here that we said goodbye to Murray. Yes Murray the Magnificent, Magic Murray, Murray the Moderator, (as I have now come to call him) had served his 4 month sentence and was finally released on good behaviour! There are no words to describe just how helpful Murray has been to this endeavour of ours, although I tried to find some, amusing myself on the passage by composing an ode to him. For anyone that knows Murray personally I hope this makes you smile. For those of you who don’t, he really is a stellar individual! A true gentleman, kind, considerate and as dry as they come!
ODE TO MURRAY
The One the Only Murray Spence
No man of greater Countenance
Could willingly join the Slice of Life
With Mike, his kids and reluctant wife!
You joined the SOL way back in March
And now it’s over 4 months past
You’ve helped us all beyond belief
T’was from ourselves we craved relief
You’ve lived with me, you’ve lived with Lilly
Our hormones making us awfully silly
You’ve lived with Mike, Mr Do-it-this-way
You’ve lived with Seb, who just wants to play
To play, to wrestle and play some more
He seems to like it on the floor
“That’s two” you cry, he shouts “again.
Now wind me up if you think you can!”
“Your manners Sebastian, say please” we cry
and then we give a longish sigh,
Thank goodness Murray’s here to play
And get us through another day!
Yes Spence Moo-ray as you’ve been known
You came aboard our floating home
You gave us things worth more than GOLD
You filled our Kindles, till they bulged!
You gave us music, you gave us film,
Murray’s Movie Monday was just the thing
Wallace and Grommet and Mr Bean
And Johnny English have all been seen.
A Courageous Captain was amongst the viewing
I didn’t see that one, I was probably spewing!
The Life Aquatic left questions asked
“Do you really think there are Jaguar Sharks?”
You sat with Lilly and made boat cards
Then taught her knots that are quite hard
You don’t do games, but that’s OK
You do the dishes EVERY day
You’ve spliced, you’ve patched, you’ve fixed some things
And even bought the fishes in
Your photos leave us all agape
Leave only footprints and photos take
You wake a lot at Sparrows Fart
Enjoying your coffee before we start
Your cool and calm and quiet manner
The perfect antidote to all the chatter
A bee down your throat
A bug in your tum
Both left you feeling slightly glum
But only slightly glum I say
You did your watches all the same!
With heartfelt thanks for all you’ve done
We hope you too have had some fun
It’s hard to do the family thing
But somehow you’ve just fit right in
You’ll miss us Muzz we know you will
But not as much as we’ll miss you!
May your thongs stay strong, camera bag endure
May they share your many future tours
In life the certainties are few
But I see steak in your menu
A tart Framboise, choc cream of ice
And anything but more white rice!!!!!!
I guess you had to be there but it was fun to write and it will provide us with some memories. Oh just FYI, if you are not Australian, thongs are actually footwear known as flip flops, jandles or chanclas in other parts of the world. Murrays were sturdy, tried and tested and took him and will take him, everywhere!
I know this one is getting really long but I just have to mention Hakatea or Daniels Bay where we met Paul. His family have lived here for generations. A bigger smile I’ve not seen for some time. There are 2 forks to the bay and you anchor in the more protected of the two, then dinghy across to the other and up a river to get to the property. It’s stunning but alive with ‘noseeums’ or ‘nonos’ as they are known locally. Nasty, vicious sandflies, that you never see but whose presence can be felt and seen for days, even weeks afterwards! Here we joined the Danes on a walk to an impressive waterfall and sadly met with the Nonos!!! Argh!
We did share another pretty special meal organized by Paul, then bid Freya au revoir as they headed to the Tuamotos and we headed off to Anaho Bay on the other side of Nuku Hiva. This was the calmest anchorage we had during our whole stay in the Marquesas and was again, visually stunning. We did another fantastic walk across the hill to a very special little village, then moved on to Ua Pou where we had a funny encounter trying to obtain provisions in the form of fruit. There’s so much of it in peoples gardens, it doesn’t seem to be sold in stores. Anyway we obtained some bananas from a couple whose niece we’d asked in the town. Turns out Keith is a fair dinkum Aussie married to Margarete, a Marquesan, who’d lived South of Brisbane for 20 years! Funny old place this world sometimes.
It’s on that note that I’ll leave it- hopefully you’ve not lost interest yet. Today was the first real chance I’ve had to use the internet properly. I’m not complaining about the internet, it’s actually quite nice not having it on tap BUT I will say I was able to collect some Whatsapp messages that I haven’t been able to get for weeks and some emails. It’s really hard to get any time to reply,(I know that must sound ludicrous to most) but please don’t think we’ve forgotten any of our friends. Your messages mean so much to us. We love hearing about what people are up to. Even if you think it’s same old same old, it’s news to us.
Fingers crossed this gets sent out in the morning,
Slice of Life off to bed.