Nuku Hiva, Marquesas
Update- Nuku Hiva-Marquesas-French Polynesia, May 9, 2005

The passage seems like a distant memory—and a pleasant memory.  We arrived in Hiva Oa.  On our
second day, we went into shore to check in with the Gendarme (the local police usually run by the French),
to tour the Gauguin Museum and to go to the cemetery for the view and to visit the graves of Paul Gauguin
and Jacques Brel.    We had brought our dinghy into a boat ramp the day before, without incident.  We
went to the same boat ramp to land the dinghy.  This time it was low tide and had exposed some very slimy
seaweed/moss.  The ramp was so slick (as my Oklahoma kinfolks would say “slicker than snot”) we all
started slipping, sliding and falling.  Martin had a hold of the dinghy line (the painter) and I was trying to
use the line to get back up.  He fell and then when he went to get back up, he fell again—face down and
broke his two front teeth—inverted V fashion.  Damn says Lou.  I just think—we can handle this.   This is
not a huge problem.   We got a ride into town with a nice Belgian woman (an artist), who dropped us off at
the dentist office.  No dentist around.  We then had to start attempting to speak French or communicate
somehow.  When all was said and done, one of the most helpful people was a French man that spoke
Spanish.  Lou was ecstatic to be able to speak Spanish again.  We finally determined that the dentist was
out with a bad back and would not be working for a few days.  Everyone was more than kind to us.  Only
once did we get the French look of “You fools, coming to a French speaking country and not speaking
French and wanting me to speak English to you…”  I’ve seen this look before—in France and now here.   
But, we still have a boy with broken teeth—what should we do?  Although it seemed like the problem is a
minor one - Martin has just a little bit of sensitivity to heat and cold - we decide to take the conservative
approach and head to the largest town on another island, Nuku Hiva (Taiohae-population 3,000).  We read
in one of our guidebooks that there was a dentist in this town.  So, we upped anchor and headed to Nuku
Hiva.  (We had used a bow and stern anchor in this anchorage and the stern anchor wanted to stay in Hiva
Oa.  But, with some pulling from Ace, we finally got her back on board!)  

We planned to motor overnight to Nuku Hiva because we thought there would be no winds.  Well, at
midnight we got about 10 knots of wind from the Northeast and we were able to sail beam reach to Nuku
Hiva. We were able to consult by e-mail with a cruising friend who is a dentist and who knows Martin and
his teeth.  He gave us great advice and we were prepared with adequate information to meet with a
dentist.   As we arrived in Nuku Hiva, we were in radio contact with other cruisers.  One told us there was
not a dentist in town.  I was not going to accept that as the final answer!   We anchored and went into
town.  We found the dentist.  He was a young French guy—barefoot with tattoos.  He determined Martin’s
teeth were healthy.  He is in a public practice and had only one tint (color) for the composite filling
(something that would not match Martin’s teeth).  So, we have opted to wait until Tahiti or maybe beyond to
have the composite filling done.  

Martin looks a little rugged.  His teeth combined with a poor haircutting job I did.  I don’t have proper hair
trimmers and Martin wanted me to cut his hair.  I can’t say no.    Martin is not in any pain.  Initially, he was a
bit chagrined because he couldn’t eat baguettes as quickly as the rest of us—or rather faster than the rest
of us.  He was very concerned that he wasn’t getting his fair share.

We are all eating well.  The pamplemousse (grapefruit) is very delicious.  Much sweeter and juicier than
any grapefruit I have ever eaten.  The limes make yummy limeade.  Bananas fresh off the tree are a
treat.   We have some hanging off the bimini and we just pluck them when we get hungry!   We have a
breadfruit that is ripening on our stern.  I have a couple of recipes for this.    Maybe breadfruit fritters?   
Martin and I ate the best mangos I have ever tasted right off of the tree.  Martin peeled them with his Swiss
army knife!  The farmer’s market opens at 5:00 a.m. on Saturday and everything is sold out by 5:45 a.m.  I
think they do it so the cruisers just are still in a dream state.  And when they say 500 francs (over $5.00)
for a head of cabbage, we just shell out the francs without blinking an eye.  

I took a class in Polynesian dancing with some other cruisers and natives- including the fairly common boy-
girls (Mahus - boys that dress as girls - and I’m using the term boy lightly.  These are 250 plus pound big
boys.  They can be gay, but are not necessarily so).  Just when I got my hips going ways I never had
attempted before—we had to add arms and move side to side and back and forth.  AND THEN--- double
time!  I loved it.  I will go again if I get a chance.  Emily wants to go also—but she wants to go to the class
for kids so she doesn’t have to be embarrassed by her mom.  (Yes, we’re at that stage!)

We went to church on Sunday and, well, how can I explain to you the beauty of the mostly a capella music.  
They say it’s rare to find a Marquesan who can’t sing.  The harmonies were spine tingling.  And the wood
carvings in the church were true works of art.  The lectern even has a tiki face carved into it.  The tiki’s
have large eyes—pretty alien looking.  The tikis were the gods of the natives before missionaries came
and told them to put on clothes, stop having love fests on the beach and not to eat people anymore.  (But
they were invited to come eat the new God in church on Sundays!)  

We left Tahaioe and headed for Daniel’s Bay—site of a Survivor TV series—maybe the first one—we don’t
know—that’s how far out of it we are.  We had a lovely hike up to a beautiful waterfall.  There we swam
underneath the waterfall that was tumbling from 600 meters up.  It was difficult to breathe because of the
wall of water.   

We met Daniel (of  Daniel’s Bay)  and his wife, Antoinette.  We can’t pronounce their real Marquesan
names.  Antoinette has not had the use of her legs for 5 years.  Emily and I had noticed in the morning that
she was wearing a plastic rosary around her neck.  So, when we returned, we brought a beautiful rosary
that Lou’s aunt, Sister Theresa Dietz, had made.  I prayed the Our Father and Hail Mary for her in English.  
Then she prayed them in Marquesan.  Her English is pretty good and she also knows how to use words
and gestures to communicate with language-challenged cruisers.  We also gave them some carrot cake I
had made in a box that came from the monastery where Lou’s brother, Raymond lives.  When Antoinette
found out that Lou’s brother was a priest—her eyes just sparkled.  We left Daniel’s Bay laden with limes,
breadfruit, bananas, pamplemousse, and coconuts.  Martin was astounded with the generosity and was
very concerned that we had not been as generous with them as they had been with us.  

We met up with some friends in another bay, Anaho.  This bay is also on the island of Nuku Hiva.  I met my
women friends at the water spigot and we did laundry.  I had not had laundry done since the Galapagos.  
Imagine almost four weeks of laundry for a family of four!  But, it was great having this “at the well”
experience with some wonderful women friends.  

We hiked to a village on the other side of a mountain.  We found a tiki site and were amazed at the
immensity of the site.  This was also a site where the next entrees for the cannibal feast were kept.  

We are still having our challenges of trying to live together 24/7.  This morning, I caught Lou lusting after a
sailboat leaving the anchorage.  It is a small simple ship with a junque rig, no motor and only one person
aboard.  I know that the weight of the responsibility of keeping Ace and her occupants safe makes it
difficult for Lou to let his hair down.    
Too bad there isn’t another Pacific Cup race this year.  Lou loves to crew on other people’s boats!    And
me, well, yes I would like to have some time away from cooking and tending to the family emotionally and
physically.  I had planned to go trekking with some of my friends to Macchu Pichu, but that didn’t work this
year.  I know there will be another opportunity.  I’m not whining—I promise.  Sometimes, I realize how
fortunate I was to have all the wonderful friends I had in the States and beyond!   And I miss having those
more steady, rather than erratic, relationships.  And I think not having a plan is not my style.  I like to live
with goals.  Although, the lesson of living each day and staying flexible has been good for me!    

So, what are our plans, you may ask.  Here is our dilemma in a nutshell:

Emily wants to return to Mountain View by the Fall of 2006 (or so).  She wants to go to Girl's Middle School
and dance ballet and basically have the life we had before with all of our friends.  

Mary agrees with Emily and would love to return to Mountain View.  The political climate gives her concern,
although she thinks that this cruising experience will make us better citizens and able to help steer the
school district, city, county, state and country in a more caring and holistic manner.  On the other hand, we
will have a difficult time coming back to Silicon Valley with the price of housing continuing to increase.  
Although we have learned to live small, I don't know if we'll be able to afford anything.  Mary also wants to
continue to be within easy travel to be with her parents or vice versa and to have Emily and Martin
continue their excellent relationship with their grandparents.   

Martin wants to be where there is surf and maybe where there is someone to provide him food.

Lou wants to try living in New Zealand for a while.  He is more pessimistic about politics in the US and the
rat race in Silicon Valley, and might want to stay away for a while.  He is not anxious to re-enter corporate
life.  He has expressed interest in starting up a company that installs solar panels for homes.  (We certainly
have been able to live nicely off of our solar panels, albeit simply).  He is very capable in problem-solving
mechanical things and I think corporate life just wears him down.  

We should be thankful that we have some options.  But, in a way, I envy the islanders here.  They were
born here and they enjoy their simple life.  They eat the wonderful fruits of the islands and don't crave a
Starbuck's cappucino.  

Reading has subsided quite a bit since we arrived in the Islands and have each day dawn with a new
experience, so the reading list will wait until next time.
Martin with his generous friend, Daniel
in Daniel's Bay.   Daniel taught Martin
how to get the milk out of coconuts and
other tricks to living off the land in the
Mary, Emily and Martin with sweet
Antoinette.  Her serenity was a
blessing to be around.  .
We encountered this "bridge" on our
way up to the waterfall.  Everyone
successfully traversed it both ways.  
Mary was grateful (again) for Lou's
long arms!    Emily was proud that she
didn't need such assistance!
Augustine carving a drum.   Martin was
so struck by his generosity that he dug
into his coveted candy bag to share
some candy with Augustine.  
Augustine's children go to school in
the largest town on the island and only
come to stay with him during vacations.
A glimpse of the waterfall in Nuku Hiva.
 This pool was refreshing!  But, the
crawdads nibbling at our toes were a
little disconcerting!
The magnificent landscape on the trail
to the waterfall.  People no longer live
in the interior.  But, there were many
signs of previous inhabitants.  And we
saw many wild goats!
Martin hanging out with his good
friend, Warren from Scud.  Warren is
Martin's idol.  He is a surfer and a
guitar player.
The carving over the baptismal font at
the church in Taiohae, Nuku Hiva.  
This work was done by a local artist.
The Ace crew overlooking Anaho Bay.  
One of our favorite stops so far!