(Bay of Virgins, Hanavave, Fatu Hiva, Marquesas, French Polynesia)
Greg’s no mountain climber, but if it’s an activity that ends with him flinging his body into the potentially suspect conditions of the water below, he’s in. So when Paul mentioned he’s an avid climber Gregory seized the opportunity to make a date for the cliff sides he’s recently been diving.
Now Delma, it’s not really that dangerous. Gregory did dive each area before they scrambled up, ensuring their landing spots were as near to safe as walking to your local corner store. That’s the thing about volcanically formed islands. They’re high, they’re rocky, and they’re steep to. Sailor speak for they drop straight away into the ocean, disappearing into the infinite depths. Not a lot of shoulders, ledges, or shelves.
With climbing and cleaning done for the day. (Believe me no one wants to hear about my triumphs over the sneaky mould that appears in our floating home. So I’ll just hold my tongue on that account.) We shined ourselves up – meaning we showered and put on something other than boardies and bikinis – and dinghied into town for our much anticipated dinner date.
As things tend to happily go with the cruising community – make a plan to do anything, and the whole anchorage will show up. So when word got around that we were attending a proper Polynesian pig roast, that’s exactly what happened. As the pig was unearthed from its backyard pit, our numbers had steadily grew from the original six to well over 20. Good thing cruisers also have impeccable foresight in such manners, previously notifying our hosts who were more than happy to accommodate our swelling number.
Now I’ve been to a big fancy luau in Maui. It had the pig roasted in the ground, tropical cocktails with festive umbrellas, locally preferred and prepared food, and the exciting entertainment of native hula and fire dancing. It also had about 200 other tourists in various shades of sunburnt looking for an authentic experience that that particular stadium-like venue was, despite it’s efforts, never going to be able to give us.
Temo and family oozed authenticity. How could they not? The pig was hunted the day before and cooked in a pit in their backyard along with local goat and red plantains. Two large banquet tables were set in their recently converted living room, decorated with freshly cut wild mint and lavender, setting the stage for a beautiful and indulgent evening. The amount and variety of food that emerged from their kitchen was staggering and delicious. Poisson cru, whole grilled fish, octopus in coconut sauce, the pig, the goat, cooked breadfruit, papaya salad, coconut rice, and finally grilled plantains, cooked plantains, and mashed plantains in sweet, sweet coconut milk. It was a feast worthy of people far more worthy than us, and if all of that wasn’t enough the ladies of the house ended the night treating us to some beautiful, native dancing.
Finally for anyone keeping score, don’t be alarmed, the festive cocktails were not forgotten. If cruisers know anything, they know good sundowners. Pooling our respective boat refreshments we had rum punch, gin and fresh lemonade, fine wine, and Paul’s homebrew, fireball rum. All in all it was a brilliant evening with great eats, fantastic people, and lasting memories.