A Frenchman in a French Land

(Bay of Virgins, Hanavave, Fatu Hiva, Marquesas, French Polynesia)

A real plus of finally being here after 19 days at sea, is getting to put a face to the voices we began to know and enjoy on the SSB radio nets while crossing. A daily and pleasant presence on the nets was Paul aboard Arbutus. He was continually kind, helpful, and polite. A person Greg grew to like without ever meeting. So after finally getting to spend an evening with Paul and his girlfriend Sundy aboard Ednbal for another amazing dinner last night, it’s extremely pleasing for me to report that Paul is French! The internal struggle in Greg to go against his racist beliefs was real, though there was no denying it. Greg can be quoted saying, “well shit, there’s a frenchman I actually like!”

Jokes aside Paul is an awesome guy, and his girlfriend Sundy is just as great. She’s quick with a laugh, real easy-going, and from Nanaimo, BC. What’s not to like!

After accompanying Paul and Sundy, and Roger and Sasha on our second successful trip to the mesmerizing waterfall, we learnt just how great it can be to have French-speaking friends in a French-speaking land. During our walk back through town we managed (read: Paul and Sundy did) to coordinate a slew a things we have otherwise been quite incapable of. We met a woman selling local honey and planned to return with things she was eager to trade for. Then we met with Temo and his family. Temo is an incredibly talented wood carver creating absolute works of art in the local custom. While his wife and family make tapa cloth artwork and beautiful flower crowns. We were able to look through all of his sculptures and make a date to return tomorrow with all the things we were willing to trade.

Trading is a common form of currency between the Marquesan locals and cruisers as there are many things they simply can not get on their remote islands and if they can they are at an extremely escalated price. We had purchased some things in Panama for this exact purpose and kept certain household and personal items of our own we knew they would appreciate.

We were excited to spend so much time with Temo and his family in their home, and even more excited when we inquired about the possibility of a pig roast and they were more than willing to put one on for us!

With the help of good friends and proper language skills, in the space of a short afternoon we had the line on local honey, Marquesan wood sculptures, beautiful tapa artwork, and a date for a Sunday evening traditional pig roast!

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This one is for Safety Mo. He asked me to take a picture just for you. No guard, no glasses, electrical cord swaying over the water, all balanced on a paddle board. No reason to write him up eh?

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Waterfall bound! Walking through the village of Hanavave.

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Gregory’s favourite portion of the waterfall trek. He’s his mother’s boy, he loved the flowers.

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Looking up. Straight up.

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Greg likes to jump off things, Evidence #1243.

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Moss, green and mossy. Do you like my hat Dad?

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He’s training to run away with the circus.

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I think that could explain a lot of the things he does.

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The clouds socking in our valley.

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