Steven told us of watching large numbers of dolphins “herd” schools of fish into the bay towards the northern wall where they would be trapped and easy pickings for the dolphins. He spoke of the animals and flora with a special reverence that heralded back to the days of his ancestors. As we were leaving he asked us -- with a small smile on his face -- if we wanted any bananas. We returned the next day with a special plastic canister for his sugar container, which had melted in the sun.
|The anchorage at Hapatoni was very deep and you had to anchor quite close up to land.|
Hapatoni is a traditional Marquesan village with a small boat harbor, a cement ramp for the fishing boats, one road through town, a town hall, and a beautiful Catholic church. We walked down the road, built nearly 100 years ago called Queen’s Road in honor of the Queen. It’s been described as one of the most beautiful paths in all of Polynesia, lined with ancient stone walls and over arching palm trees.
When we had docked our dinghies several young Marquesan boys offered to help us tie up. We learned from our friends Chuck and Linda on Jacaranda (old Pacific hands) the local greeting of kaoha (ka oo ha) which we used to greet the boys. They walked with us for awhile and then said something to me in French with the word “bateau” to which I replied oui (learning later I had given them permission to go play on our dingy).
|The Queen's Road.|
|The men play a very competitive game of petanque on the church lawn.|
|The object of petanque is to get the steel balls as close as possible to le petit chochon.|
On the perimeter children ran everywhere on the lush green grass and women sat making the beautiful flower head dresses for the next day's service. It was a picture postcard setting of tranquility at its best.
|Some of the village boys were obsessed with my digital camera and wanted to have their pictures taken and then view the results.|
|An island artisan displayed the carvings and jewelry produced by other island artists.|
We wandered back up to the church and found they were serving lunch and enjoyed a huge plate of wild pig, rice, and vegetables. We found the Marquesans love to eat well, and to eat a lot.
It was a great day just hanging out and felling totally accepted by the locals. While we loved the Caribbean, it’s a totally different vibe here where life is good and everyone seems happy all the time. I can understand why some cruisers come to the South Pacific and never leave.