Sometimes I can shake the feeling off early in the morning, sometimes it lingers all day. Yesterday I woke up with this negative feeling flowing strongly (this morning I did not because I woke up with a tummy ache from eating too many mangoes, but that is a different story). I tried to cheer myself up with a game of Scrabble on the IPad and a nice cup of tea, but the IPad beat me. It was too rainy to sit out on deck and the cabin was hot and stuffy and humid because the hatches are closed to avoid rainshowers inside. Long story short, I was not digging the South Pacific.
Our little fleet of boats that we have been cruising around with has moved from Fatu Hiva to Tahuata a few days ago, and we are now anchored in the bay of Hanatefua. It is supposed to have the best snorkeling in the Marquesas but it has been raining so much the visibility is only 20 feet or so. Yesterday, even though I was not feeling so energetic, I went into the village with the folks and friends. When we got to land a guy, Fred, from the boat Songline, said, "Wow, Corie, I am really surprised with your patience with all us old people and not getting to surf all the time. I am sure you will find a great wave soon." I hadn't said anything- maybe I looked bummed out or something- but I appreciated his words.
We walked through the village and came across a little market in a thatched, open air meeting space. The tables were filled with carved tikis, jewelry, and ceremonial paddles. All of the crafts are made right here in the village. Dad bought a paddle, I got a tiki amulet, and mom got some jewelry. Seeing as how our group were the only buyers in the place, I think we made the villager's day.
After shopping we walked down a stone path with tall palm trees lining it. The path soon turned into jungle and we climbed up the hillside of black, rich soil and lots of detritus to get to the road above. I was keeping a sharp eye out for centipedes but fortunately I did not see any. Sometimes the jungle smells wonderful, like fresh flowers, rain and trees. Sometimes the jungle smells like your garbage can because so much fruit falls out of the trees and rots on the floor. As we were hiking up to the road I must have stepped on a hundred rotting mangoes.
We finally got up to the road and were swarmed by huge mosquitos. These are no ordinary mosquitos. These are huge blood-sucking demons with big black and white striped bodies that roar in your ear (as opposed to buzz) and leave a huge blood splat when you smash them on your arm. Fortunately we have very toxic bug repellent/sunscreen that keeps the bugs away (and could probably kill a small child). After slapping tons of the stuff on, we took off down the road. Then it started to pour again. Normally rain showers last a few minutes at the longest, but it rained pretty much the entire time we were walking. Big fat drops. And lots of them.
The road was lines with mango, banana and papaya trees, so I collected and ate mangoes the whole time we were walking. We were far enough away from the village that we didn't feel we were taking their mangoes. And besides, the road was essentially paved with thousands of mango pits that nobody picked up. The trees are so plentiful that I could throw a rock in a tree and fruit came tumbling down to my feet.
It is a practice in self control not to eat too many mangoes... but how much is too many? With them rolling ripe to my feet, how can I resist? Same goes with the bananas. The stalk we have on the boat is now perfectly ripe- all 30 or so of them. They are so sweet and delicious and pretty small that I can eat 4 for breakfast without thinking about it. Then I get a tummy ache. So maybe we will have to make banana bread, banana pie, banana... any suggestions?
Being here is kind of a practice in self control in general. I feel so fortunate to be here; it is easy to get lost in the beauty and adventure of this place; awe of the towering green mountains over the deep blue water with the brightly colored fish and the birds circling high above looking for their dinner. It is also easy to get caught up in my bug bites, the heat and humidity, the lack of people my age around. It is easy to become desensitized to the beauty of where we are, wherever we are. But it helps to take a deep breath, look around, and smile.
At 4/21/2011 7:53 AM (utc) Rutea's position was 09°57.71'S 139°07.16'W
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