Saturday, April 16, 2011

Local Hospitality

Well I really thought that Puamau on Hiva Oa was the most remote place that I had ever visited but now I know that Baie Hanavave (Bay of Virgins.... well... formerly the Bay of Penis's until the Missionaries got a hold of the name...) on Ile Fatu Hiva is the Most Remote place that I have ever visited! If you didn't know it was here, you would never find it from the ocean! All you can see from the anchorage is a church and a waft or two of smoke going up the valley. Once ashore there is a long, steep, windy road that travels up a narrow valley with thatched sided houses and kitchen gardens set above a creek that flows down from a magnificent water fall. Every house has chickens running around, kids peeking around corners and often a pig staked to a post in the yard. Fruit trees (papaya, pamplemousse, bananas, coconuts) still abound and the backdrop is a brilliant, deep green forest against spires of black lava (hence the penis image). Breathtaking! The quintessential tropical paradise!

However! This does not mean that we do not have anything in common with the lovely people we have met here! As we were dropping our anchor yesterday afternoon we got a call on the VHF that one of the families in the town was hosting a cruiser's dinner as a fundraiser (see something in common already- fundraising!) and we were invited! At five p.m. the entire anchorage went ashore to witness a roasted pig wrapped in palm leaves being pulled out of a pit. It was pulled apart and soon accompanied by huge platters of roasted goat, poisson cru, breadfruit, boiled bananas, roasted chicken, grilled fish and coconut milk sauce! Another thing in common- too much great food at our get togethers! We ate family style with people from boats all over the world- many having just arrived from the Galapagos via the Panama Canal! We were hardly finished with dinner when the drums began, the guitars were pulled out and traditional songs were performed (including happy birthday and kum-ba-ya! (which we could sing along to!) The girls performed traditional dances as did a few of the older women, and the boys told traditional stories to the beat of the drums. These people love to eat, to dance, to share their history and are very proud of their kids! Mucho commonalities!

At the end of the evening, as we thanked our hosts, they thanked us for coming and said that the fund raiser is to help send some of their kids on a tour of French Polynesia and Hawaii where they will hopefully get a sense of the larger world and also possibly meet someone they can marry. Hanavave is a community of perhaps twenty five families and they are very conscientious of their gene pool and of trying to keep it healthy. They are not only trying to keep their offspring healthy but also trying to keep their culture alive and thriving which is very complicated once you introduce the outside world.

After hiking to the water fall where we swam in a pool of very cold water (inhabited by crawdads that nipped at our toes and 3-ft. fresh water eels....) we are relaxing on the boat. It is raining off and on but a very comfortable 83 degrees in the cabin. On the return trip from the hike we stopped by a house where a traditional carver lives and bought a little carving and seed necklaces. All the women want to trade for fruit but most of their requests are for mascara and perfume!

Tonight it's our turn for being hospitable. It's Fred from Song Line's birthday so we are having several boats over for hearty hors d hors. Once again we will probably have too much food, tell our stores and boast about our children!

R of Rutea
Fatu Hiva

We will post pictures as soon as we have internet!
At 4/16/2011 5:40 AM (utc) Rutea's position was 10°27.93'S 138°40.10'W

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1 comment:

  1. I guess we're not all so different after all. Thanks for the great description. So how much did they charge for all that food?