In my last post I told you that I am covered in bites from mosquitos and no-nos. I do not think that is a sufficient description. I have fourteen bites in between my ankle and my knee on my right leg. I also have bites on my ears, neck, arms, hands, other leg, and feet. I could really use some freezing cold Santa Cruz ocean water to numb the itching, as the 83 degree air and water does little to relieve my pain. It is the worst at night when I am trying to fall asleep, with a fan pointed right on me and my sheet wadded up at the foot of my bed. It's pretty hot... although the other day I saw it get down to 72 degrees- and had to put a long sleeve shirt on!
Aside from horribly itchy bug bites, things are going well. We decided to circumnavigate (sail around) Nuku Hiva, so yesterday morning we left Daniel's Bay and were faced with 30 knot winds right out of the East, before 9 A.M.! We ended up bashing into weather for a few hours before we arrived in Hatiheu, on the North side of the island. I was not super amped on the whole thing, but we ended up having a very nice time.
After asking directions from 5 different people, we found the mayor's house and restaurant, Chez Ivonne, right in the center of the village. We made dinner reservations and then set off to find some tikis and ancient ruins up in the valley. After more direction asking we found the sites, which were very nice. The ruins do not look like so much (as most ruins don't) although there were some big rock platforms still standing, and some cool tikis. There was a stone carving of skulls in a basket because the ancient Polynesians used to do human sacrifice at this particular site (and were well known cannibals). I suppose if I were to be killed and eaten I would have wanted FUCK! I JUST KILLED ANOTHER GODDAMNED MOSQUITO! Sorry. If I could eliminate one species from Earth without huge negative repercussions in ecosystems, I would eliminate the mosquito. We have a love/hate relationship: they love me, I hate them.
As I was saying, if I were to be killed and eaten I would have wanted it done at this sacred site because it is surrounded by beautiful fruit trees, huge banyans, tropical plants and a nice green lawn and chickens and horses running around. Chop me up with some of that wild ginger growing over there... we already know I am delicious.
Sorry, I am being silly. Walking back to the village we met Pierre, a French archeologist. He offered to open the museum for us so we could look around, and we accepted. It is a dangerous thing to be shown around a museum by a person who is absolutely passionate about the subject of the museum, in this case Marquesan archeology- especially when hungry- but the museum was small and Pierre told us all sorts of interesting things about rituals, tatooing, and culture.
Dad asked him to join us for dinner, so he and his wife Marie Noelle entertained us with stories of living here in French Polynesia for years. It was interesting to hear their perspective on the politics and socio-economic repercussions of Polynesia being French. Apparently it is very expensive to have colonies. They talked about how all the Polynesians are selling their family land to the banks so they can buy new Ford F-150s and Range Rovers. We talked about the lack of industry here, and how the Polynesians prefer it that way. They do not want to work 5 days a week, they do not want to cater to tourists. They do not have a strong sense of credit and debt. It is a sticky situation, but for the time being, so long as the French keep pumping in money and the land is productive, they are doing alright.
Enough politics. Today we moved to the next bay over, Anaho, and there is tons of live coral here. I found a little wave in the bay and surfed it, but it was small. The water is pretty clear so I felt like I was surfing in 6 inches of water, just barely skimming over the coral heads and urchins, though it was really a few feet deep. Just practicing for the Tuamotus.
So, is this paradise? No. Paradise is a state of mind. One day it can be paradise and the next day it can be hell. Such is life. C'est la vie.
At 5/1/2011 6:14 AM (utc) Rutea's position was 08°49.56'S 140°05.13'W
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