Saturday, June 17, 2006

June 11, Fatu Hiva, Marquesas

After a slow start this morning my back – which went out a few days ago - is feeling much better. I am stretching a lot and the boat beside me brought me to shore today for a hike. I was with two German boats. They spoke English well and some spoke French well. All are very pleasant people. We hiked to a 200 foot waterfall along a trail that was reminiscent of wet Western Washington. The path was rocky and mossy with limbs hanging across. We hiked along a stream that babbled among boulders. The waterfall was similar to the one on Isla Coco, cascading down a volcanic rock face into a small pool. After four days at anchor at this new island, it was great to get off the boat.

The people in this little hamlet are used to visitors. Some wharf rat kids greet the dinks. Other youths play soccer wherever they can, in the lane, on a soccer field across the stream. Money is of little use here. Trading is the language spoken. They want perfume, rum, cigarettes. I don't have two of those and won't trade the third. But I heard from another boat that soap, colored pencils, and Chap Stick were tradeable too. They have fruit to trade: bananas, coconuts, papaya, breadfruit, and pomplemousse, a large grapefruit. The kids want candy.

The wind that has been gusting down the valley has eased somewhat, though the boat continues to swing wildly, dancing a jig at anchor. None of the boats have had trouble with holding so that gives peace of mind. There is only one boat upwind of me. Last night was particularly windy, so windy that I tied off the wind generator because it was pinning the ammeter and applying the brake. I have managed to locate some radio nets and listened in today. The wind is strong all over French Polynesia, though it is supposed to be decreasing. I think I will just wait for it to settle down before heading somewhere. I do want to be in Papeete for about a week before Bastille Day. I understand it is a hoot.

My days have been spent doing a deep cleaning of various parts of the boat. I take everything out of lockers, rediscover what I have, and sponge out with vinegar to kill the mildew that is starting to creep around.

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