April 23, 2009

The new boat that arrived yesterday, a cat called Zen, called us to ask for local knowledge. We said we were going in for bread & offered a ride. Only Monique joined us. Tom has a sprained ankle, so he stayed with Cameron, 11 & Cole, 9. We showed Monique all the important things in town. I asked at the dive shop about the buoys outside the pass since we had seen people diving from there, & Brigitte happily answered all my questions.

They were decorating the church grounds in the same fashion as for Heiva. Palm frond weavings, bougainvillea flowers, bamboo greeting on the arch.... I asked what the event was & was told it's a first communion mass. The monseigneur would be arriving at 3, or 4, or maybe 5 by plane, there would be a procession around the village with the special bible, then there would be a mass, which we were welcome to attend. Since veggies were supposed to arrive on the same plane, we all planned  to be there. Unfortunately the procession & the unpacking of the veggies took place simultaneously - our choice was clear: veggies arenít available every day!

When we returned to the church & learned that the mass wouldn't be until 6, I asked if we could go up in the steeple, which we've been trying to do ever since our first visit to Makemo last year. Monique & Cami joined us on the climb up the dangerous spiral staircase, & the even more dangerous very skinny crumbling concrete steps to the small platform with a cupola on top.

 The view was spectacular! In the evening light we could see to the edge of the whole atoll, the town, the pass, the 3 boats at anchor... We stayed up there for an hour taking pics, videos, & getting to know each other. We remembered to descend before the unlighted stairway became totally dark, since we had no flashlight.

Monique & Cami wanted to see the mass, but it was only 5:30 and they decided not to wait. BB chose to leave with them to start our dinner. I stayed, cuz I was anxious to hear the singing; many people have said the singing in the churches in Marquesas is wonderful. Sadly, it is not here. They used a synthesizer & electronic keyboard as accompaniment & the singing was very shrill, especially from the fat little boy who had bullied his way into sitting next to me, shoving out the adorable little girl named Tuya who had taken the flower from behind her own ear & put it in mine. The bully kept poking me & instructing me when to sit, stand, kneel, hold my hands in prayer, etc., so I left after only half an hour.

As I was pulling Plover into the water, a fishing boat was coming up the ramp. They had 2 huge tuna, probably about 100 lbs each, that they were unloading from the boat. I asked if I could buy some, & they said, "of course not, but if you wait until we clean & filet it, we'll give you some!" I held the flashlight as they worked (it was pitch dark out), peppering them with questions about where they get such huge fish, what lures they use, etc. They asked an equal number of questions about the sailing life & about our strange-looking dinghy. A kid ran to get a bag, which wasn't nearly large enough for the 1/8 of one of the fish that they gave me, a piece probably weighing 15 lbs. I thanked them profusely.

BB had prepared a lovely black bean sauce chicken Thai dinner for us, but when I handed him that fish, he said, "shall we have a sashimi appetizer?" There was so much fish that we called Zen & asked if we could contribute some of it for the potluck dinner tomorrow. They had planned to have pizza, but fresh tuna is always welcome!

We went to Zen after dinner to do an info exchange Ė Tuamotus & Marquesas, knowing we wouldn't wanna do it during the party tomorrow. BB brought his books for the kids to read, but they sat & talked to us instead. Cami is a very poised 11-yr old. We talked about ballet, learning French, sailing, snorkeling, books.... Cruising kids are great. We really enjoyed talking to all the family. It's been a while since we met a boat where we felt so at home. Actually, itís been a while since we met any new boats at all!

says ADR