We dinghied ashore for 6pm in order to meet Laurien for
As we approached the house, it was good to see that there
were other guests having dinner too.
As well as us, there were 3 young people from
America, Erin, Brian and
Brad; a Dane, Ben and a Kiwi, Clyde.
Kathy, Laurien’s mother, joined us at the table,
which was so much nicer than just being served.
She had prepared a typical Marquisian meal(the locals
refer to the Islands as the Marquisas, not the
Marquesas as we do), consisting of chicken in coconut, Poisson cru, breadfruit,
potatoes, bananas and green papaya. They also had bottles of homemade lemonade
which was great.
The poisson cru was absolutely delicious. I asked Kathy
how she made it.
Cut fresh tuna into chunks, sprinkle with salt. When you
are ready to eat it, pour on lime juice and coconut milk and serve
After the main meal we were served fresh grapefruit,
which is so sweet.
Her husband got out his ukulele and began to play and
sing, Kathy accompanied him on the drums.
I persuaded Kathy to teach us how to dance Polynesian
style, boy is it hard on the knees (as I would find out later) .
We had such a laugh trying to get our hips to wiggle like
It was a lovely evening, we all joined in the singing,
and Brad, took over from Kathy on
We also talked about the culture and life here on Fatu
Hiva. One strange fact emerged. Kathy’s husband told us that in the past the
islanders were over 2mts tall, some as tall as 2.20mts (7') but now they
are average size. I told him in the past we were quite short in stature (okay,
some of us still are!!!) but now they seem to be much taller. Completely the
opposite, curious huh?
I asked Kathy if we could buy grapefruit, she said no,
but we could exchange. We asked what it was they wanted, they said, wire traces,
fishing hooks (big ones), fins, 22 calibre ammunition (Kathy told us they are
only allowed a supply of 50 for 6
months) wine, perfume, boat fenders, or whatever else you could find.
Normally, they would not barter on a Sunday, but as we
were due to leave, they said to come by at 10am after church.
It was about 21.30 when we left. My knee had taken all it was going to and
had gone on strike (this was my good knee! Yes, my bionic one!! I guess rock
climbing and dancing in the same day was a bit much?), so Roger dropped me back
at the boat and went over to Bubbles, to have a few drinks with Alex, Ross &
I was a bit apprehensive about bartering the next day, as
it is something I have never experienced. It’s funny how we think in terms of
cost and value. I had a bottle of expensive perfume, which I thought was too
valuable to swap for a couple of kilos of fruit. But then again I never wear it.
Whereas I also have a cheap cologne that I thought of
swapping, but I wear it a lot. So the lower priced item had the higher value to
me. But it took a bit of a shift of paradigm to appreciate the fact.
It is Kathy’s grand-daughter’s 5th birthday on
Tuesday, so I packed a small gift for her, together with some balloons and glow
bracelets for the party.
I also packed the perfume and 2 pairs of fins. I decided
I had to take alternatives in case they didn’t like what I had. The trick, I had
read, was not to put everything on the table at once, or they think it is all
part of the deal.
The fins, as it turned out, were not what he wanted, he
wanted free diving fins, the really long ones. But Kathy tested the perfume and
her eldest son, who was raised as a girl, approved of the brand, Elizabeth
Arden. I got the impression they wanted more, or perhaps something else, they
asked if I had any sunglasses (I hadn’t thought of bringing them) but, when I
said I didn’t they settled for the perfume.
In return we were given 4 huge grapefruits (the size
of footballs. Well almost) a
breadfruit and a hand of green bananas. I was happy with the trade.
As we walked back to the dinghy a man called to us and
asked if we were the people who had lost our curly cord. When I said yes, he
produced it telling me he had found it. I thanked him profusely and asked no
Both Roger and I were most impressed. When we had found
it missing yesterday, we had told one of the fishermen in the boat next to us
and word must have gone round and it had been returned.
The locals had dealt with the matter themselves, with no
fuss from us. A bit like it used to be many years ago in small villages in the
UK, where everyone knew everyone else
and looked out for each other.
We had decided to stay until Monday, as Roger was going
to help the guys on Bubbles with their Monitor windvane and there was also going
to be fun and games on the beach in the afternoon.
We had agreed to have a picnic lunch with Desiree, at a
cost of 1700cpf (US$17), it is very expensive, but that seems to be the
going rate. She had prepared goat as well as Poisson Cru and shashimi. There was
breadfruit, bananas and rice. It
was ok, but eating it with your fingers detracted from the enjoyment and it
wasn’t as good as Kathy’s .
It also transpired that the man who had returned our
curly cord was Desiree’s husband, Jacques.
The dancers were practicing in the hall as they are going
over to Hiva Oa to give a performance to raise
funds for the school there (which is where their children go). Kathy’s eldest
son was the choreographer and Laurient was also one of the dancers. The drums
playing is amazing, so melodic as well as rhythmic.
All the children were playing volleyball on the beach. It
is taken very seriously here and the children are surprisingly
Later that evening, my body decided to reject the goat
and for the next 24 hours I was somewhat incapacitated, so we didn’t leave after
Despite having been a rainy day, the sunset was lovely
and Alex and Diego we jumping off the cliffs into the water and having a great
It was an unusual sight, as most cruisers are how shall
we say, more advanced in years. But this anchorage has quite a few young
cruisers, which is cool.
Now THEY have got it right, never mind waiting until you
are retired and in my case, decrepit (give me a break I’m feeling sorry for
myself) do it while you are young and deal with the work thing