“Not all who wander are lost.” -Tolkien
On the 13th of June we arrived into Fatu Hiva which is part of the volcanic island group known as the Marquesas in French Polynesia. The first task at hand was not to crack open a beer and relax but to clean the whole boat top to bottom (literally, hours were spent scraping barnacles and seaweed off the hulls. I was tempted to eat it as salad considering my body had not consumed anything green practically for months. Do all sailors think fresh produce is not a necessary part of diet?). Besides this chore, there was a bit of an euphoric feeling after making the crossing and a few other sailors came over for dinner and drinks. Fatu Hiva was so beautiful I have a difficult time finding a better word to describe it. One day we walked across the island to the other village and back again, this gave us 21 miles to take it all in. It also gave us time to enjoy each other’s company and talk through our experience. Using our legs and chatting out of ear shot from anyone else was elating!
We’ve come to the conclusion that we want a very simple lifestyle. Sometimes we talk about buying land in another country (hmm, what worn torn country can we afford – joking!) and more recently a sailboat (maybe we should start with a rowboat), but we aren’t sure how or if this will fit into a simplistic life. Having more free time makes us want to reevaluate our lives back home. Fewer possessions (do I need so many books?), fewer commitments (maybe we should just stop working- this would free up some time) and more time just to enjoy life. We want travel to continue to be a part of our lives and we bounce around ideas of how to do this with a family.
The rest of our time in Fatu Hiva was spent relaxing on the boat, hiking to a waterfall, taking baths in the stream with flowers floating on the surface (you need to take advantage of fresh water when you’ve got it) and trading with locals for fresh fruit. We were invited over for dinner by two of the nicest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting, Anna and Collin on their boat Ithaka. They were a very grounded and kind couple that have really inspiring stories and experiences. They even made us some vegetarian food they were horrified to realize later they’d made with beef broth. Haha. No wonder it tasted so delicious!
Then we stayed a couple nights on Hiva Oa to check in. We visited the French artist Paul Gauguin’s grave and checked e-mail the first time in a month. Woohoo! We had what Ezra called WWWW (worldwide web withdrawal). There was no swimming in this anchorage as we were told tiger sharks were in the area and were relieved when we didn’t have to jump in to scrub the boat some more.
Our last stop in the Marquesas was Tahuata so we could swim with manta rays. It took us a bit of time to find them in deeper water but once we did it was incredible. There must have been twenty of them all feeding on phytoplankatan. They seemed pretty curious and I was a little alarmed when they swam right at me before quick turning away. They were incredible creatures! We took another swim, had a little picnic on the beach and that was our time in the Marquesas.