Author Archives: Lauren Smith

Out at Sea

Well, here we are again underway towards New Zealand. I had mentally prepared myself for the worst (huge seas, lots of wind and rain). We could and probably will get that, but for now we are enjoying a very pleasant sail.

Heading to New Zealand now marks a new chapter in our lives – as we will be living and working there for 18 months. I still feel like it is part of our grand adventure. It will be nice to have the little things again, like laundry machines and water that magically comes out of a tap whenever I want.

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5 Things I will miss about Fiji

Piko will be heading to NZ within the next month.  After living in Fiji for what will be 5 months, here are the things I will miss the most:

1. Bula! (Fijian for “hello” and “welcome”) Everyone is so gracious, friendly and hospitable. The Fijians are lovely people.

2. The fruit – it literally falls from the trees.  Coconuts, papaya, mangoes, bananas all grow by the roadside.  Every time we visited a village or went on a hike with a local, they would find us a fresh coconut, husk it, cut a drinking hole in it and give it to us to drink.  Soooooo refreshing and so sweet.  Look how happy I am!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Inexpensive Indian food – $3-5 US for a plate of curry, rice, dahl, roti (like naan).  Our favorite place to is Chili Bites in Lautoka.

4. Village life – (see no. 1) One of the wonderful parts of traveling in a sailboat, is that you get to anchor in front of villages that cruiseships and resorts will never see. These villages welcome you into their community like you are one of their own – dinners, tea, talking, working on projects together…


5. Snorkeling – there is so much sea life, so much beautiful water that it is hard to NOT have a great snorkeling experience. Our two favorite spots were Alacrity Rocks, by Ono Island (off Great Astrolabe Reef) and the pass south of Manta Bay, in the Yasawa islands (right off the beach of the backpacker resort)

Vinaka vakalevu (Thank you very much), Fiji, for being such great hosts.  We will be back.

 

Categories: South Pacific | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

Let There Be Light

Now that I have been gone from the States for a while, I realize that there are many things that I took for granted — like electricity.  Ever since I was a little girl, all I had to do was flip a switch if I wanted light.  It was magic.  It seemed like it was something that was just always there, like trees and birds and Star Trek.  It wasn’t until we got to an island in Fiji called Rabi, that I saw what it’s like to truly be off the grid.

We anchored in a small bay on the western side of the island called Albert Cove that was inhabited by one Banaban family : a husband, wife, their 20 year old daughter, her husband and their little boy.  They lived off the fish they caught and the vegetables they grew.  There was no electricity.  None.  Which was a pain in the butt when they had stuff to do at night and could only do it by flashlight (that’s when they even had batteries) and the sun set at 5:30pm.

The second day we were there, they invited us to a potluck picnic ashore along with the other boats in the bay.  We brought pasta salad and it found a home on the table amongst fresh crab, fish and taro that the family had prepared for us.  I saw the daughter weaving palm fronds and took a seat by her to see what she was making.  Her name was Paurim.  I grabbed a palm frond and Paurim explained to me that I needed to start with one that had 12 leaves on it.  “What are we making?”  I asked.

“Plates” she said.  “In a traditional Banaban picnic, we eat off the plates we make and then throw them away.”  She smiled shyly and although I could tell that she was slightly embarrassed, I wished she could know how totally cool I thought that was.  She showed me how to weave the palm fronds and we proceeded to eat our food with our fingers  on the plates that we just made with our own hands.  No dishes, no trash, no problem.

Once we were done eating, Paurim’s husband approached Lauren B and Krister with a big float-looking thing.  Apparently it had washed up on shore and they were hoping that it could be useful for something.  They were really hoping that the solar panels on it would work and that they could use it for light after dark.  Since Lauren has an electrical engineering background, and Krister is a mechanical engineer and both of them have a MacGyver complex, they dove right into the project.

The boys got their tools off the boats and we all sat in the shade drinking kava with the family as Lauren B and Krister worked on the mystery device.  It appeared to have been some meteorological buoy at some point and was probably very expensive to lose.

After hours of tinkering, Lauren B and Krister managed to get it to be a charging station via the solar panels that were on the top of it.  Britannia donated an extra string of LED Christmas lights they had on the boat that could be charged by the buoy.  The family was very happy and it felt good to do fix something that we knew would make a difference in their everyday life.

That night as we sat on our boats, we looked ashore and saw the Christmas lights on.  I don’t take electricity for granted anymore.  Maybe it wasn’t as easy as flipping a switch, but to them I bet it still felt like magic.

Categories: South Pacific | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

Snorkeling in Viani Bay

Piko and our friends have been anchored in Viani Bay for a couple days.  It is a large and deep bay that is inside the reef and surrounded by local homes.   Jack – a large friendly Fijian who always wore a smile and a brimmed hat – rowed over and asked if we would like to go snorkel the reef the following morning.  Of course it was an offer that we could not refuse, so we gladly told him yes.

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The next morning we woke up to a clear sky.  It was 8:00 and already the sun was burning hot.  “Sun seems extra hot today.” I said.  My shirt had already begun to stick to my back even though I had just put it on 5 minutes before.  I wiped my brow.

Lauren B. looked up. “The sun hasn’t changed.  It is just like it is every other day” he said.  “Maybe if there are some solar flares.” Why I expected a reaction that was not technical and literal, I do not know.

Jack rowed to our boat from across the bay and brought us fresh papaya and bananas his family had picked that morning.  “You like papaya?” he asked.  If there was an answer other than a resounding YES, it did not belong in my universe.  We all dinghied over to a catamaran named Resolute who had kindly agreed to tow our dinghies out to the reef pass so that we only had to motor back.  Resolute was a huge boat, and shall henceforth be referred to as “the mothership”.

After anchoring the mothership near the reef we put on our gear and got in our dinghies.  My gear included my mask, snorkel and a wetsuit.  Even when the water is warm, it can still get cold if you are in  for a long time and I didn’t want to miss out on anything if I got cold.  Lauren B.’s gear consisted of snorkel, mask, shorts and that’s it.  He never gets cold.  Ever.  Jack led the way in the front dinghy while towing the rest of us behind in our dinghies.  He motored until we were outside the reef pass in the ocean part.

“Are you ready?” Jack asked.  “Once you get out, you swim to the shallow side of the reef.”  He pointed about 50 feet from where we were.  “Then you will swim and go back and forth.  You follow the bommies.”

We were excited and ready.  The overhead sun was even hotter (I don’t care what Lauren B says!).  I was fully zipped up in my 3 mil wetsuit and was quite certain that if I didn’t get in soon, I might pass out.

“Ok, go. Go!” Jack said.  He was smiling big and I could tell that he was enjoying himself too.  We got in the water and I could tell we were in about 50 or 60 feet of water.   Jack had timed the snorkel so there was a gentle current that carried us through the pass (called a drift dive or drift snorkel).  Drift snorkels are great because you conserve energy – letting the water do all the work.   I could make out coral and fish but it was still a bit deep, so we continued to swim to where Jack had pointed.

When we reached the shallow part of the reef, I saw what all the fuss was about.  The sea life was rockin’ and rollin’, with coral and fish abuzz everywhere.  It was the most colorful reef I had seen in the South Pacific.  The artist in me was going nuts.  There were turquoise fish swimming in front of orange coral, and yellow fish swimming in front of purple coral.  There were green fish with black and white stripes, and pink fish with yellow and orange spots.

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I stopped to take a look at a beautiful coral bed that had pieces shaped like large cabbages and mushrooms.  Not the mushrooms you put in your stir-fry, but the big, wide, flat mushroom that the caterpillar from Alice and Wonderland laid on and smoked his pipe.  A beautiful regal angelfish caught my shadow and swam underneath the lip of the mushroom coral.  It was so cool – Lauren B. had to see!

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The incoming current finally placed us inside the reef and although there was more snorkeling to be done, my ankles were tired from my crummy fins.  I hoisted myself up into our dinghy and removed the wetsuit.  The sun was still beating hard, and it felt good.  I leaned back in my bathing suit across the dinghy – soaking up the rays and thinking about how good life is.  I felt someone tap my shoulder – it was Jack.  “You are soaking up all the sun.  Did you have a good snorkel?” he asked.

“I had a great snorkel.  Fiji is beautiful.”

Categories: South Pacific | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

So, you want to be a Hobbit?

WARNING:  This is a tale of how I dragged my beloved to the movie set of Lord of the Rings.  Leave now if you are not a fan – author is not responsible for any boredom that might ensue due to non-love-for-all-things-Lord-of-the-Rings.

Still here?  Great!

You see, I am a fan.  No wait…..I’m a serious fan.  Don’t ask me how many times I have seen the movies because I stopped counting after 15.   Before we came to New Zealand, I knew that I could not leave without visiting at least one of the Lord of the Rings movie filming locations.  We made a trip down to Rotorua and I insisted upon asked Lauren B. if we could go see Hobbiton, aka The Shire.  Despite his lack of love for the franchise, he said “yes”.

We took a bus to the farm that Hobbiton is on.  The farm belongs to a private citizen who has leased the land to the LOTR.   As the bus neared the property, I could instantly see why this place appealed to Peter Jackson – lush green rolling hills for as far as the eye could see.  I had originally thought that there were only a few hobbit homes built for the movie.  Boy was I wrong.  There are around 30 – and they are everywhere!  It truly is a little town.

When we got off the bus, we met our guide – a spunky young kiwi gal whose love for her job made her an awesome guide.  She rounded us up and we commenced our walk through Hobbiton.

“You had to be shorter than 5’2 to be a hobbit,” she said.  “One time we had a guy who was at least 6’2 come to Hobbiton from Germany.  He was dressed like a hobbit and when the tour was over he refused to leave!  He said ‘This is my home, I will not leave’.  Eventually they convinced him that he had to go.”

We walked a dirt path along the little hobbit homes of the Shire.  The first one we came across was the location of the opening scene of Fellowship of the Ring where Gandolph is in the carriage and Frodo runs up to him.  We walked up to the hobbit home and our guide pointed to a little sign on the mailbox. “See this?  This symbol indicates what trade this Hobbit does. “  For example, if the hobbit that lived in the home was a carpenter, then there might be a hammer painted on his mailbox.

Each home was exquisitely detailed and thought out…just like the mailboxes.  There were bunches of herbs laying outside, and miniature everything.  Someone asked if we could go inside, and we learned that there is no inside.  In each home, there is only enough room to go in and close the door.  The scenes that took place inside Bags End, Bilbo’s home in the movie, were filmed in a studio on Wellington.

About midway through Hobbiton we came across a large tree.  I recognized the tree from the part in the movie where they have Bilbo’s party – when he disappears. It is known on the set as “party tree.”

It was a fine day – Lauren B was a champ.  He survived with only a few scrapes and bruises.  And best of all, we went just a couple days after they lifted the copyright restriction which means we get to share this story and these photos with you!

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We swam with the whales!

 

Every year, a group of humpback whales migrates to Tonga from the Northern Pacific.  There are around a 100 or so in this group.  The mothers will give birth to their calves in the deep waters outside of Vava’u, and then they will around the islands until it is time for them to go back to the northern ocean where they will feed.

 

Tonga is one of the only places in the world where it is legal to get close enough to humpback whales to swim with them.  And last month, that’s just what we did.  And yep, it was worth it.

 

After doing some research, we decided to go with a group called Dive Vava’u, which was run by a husband and wife teach – both of who were marine bioligists.  We had Paul as the skipper of our whale boat.  Along with our good friends from Brittania, Dilligaf and Eden (who took these photographs- thanks Eden!), we left early in the morning aboard a small powerboat and ventured towards the outer islands of Vava’u in search of whales.  After motoring for a couple of hours we slowed down.

 

“Whale!” said Jesse, the friendly whale guide who was on Paul’s staff.

 

Paul throttled the motor down further and we slowly creeped toward the flute (whale tale) that was spotted.  “We’ll time him to see how long he’s down.  If he’s down for much longer than 16 minutes, then that means it is most likely a singing male which means he won’t be at the surface much”, he said.

 

We waited for more than 16 minutes and moved on since we didn’t see him resurface.  20 minutes later we spotted another whale – a mother and her calf…even better!  Only 4 people could be in the water at any time with the guide and the whales so Piko (us!) and Dilligaf went first. Paul instructed us to get in our wetsuits and be ready to get in the water at any moment.  We stayed with the motor on near the whale for about 10 minutes, giving her time to get used to our sounds and presence. 

 

Lauren, Bill, Sue and I all sat on the stern of the boat with our fins trailing in the water and our goggles on our face.  We were giddy with anticipation.

 

Suddenly Paul shouted behind us, “Ok go!”

 

We jumped in the water and swam towards the whales.  As we were snorkeling, our eyes were facing down.  All the sudden I saw a patch of white amidst the deep blue of the water below me and realized that this was the whale.  She and her calf ascended and surfaced – about 20 feet in front of us.  We could see her eyes and I was amazed how laid back she was considering we were so close to her young.

 

The calf was very animated and playful – doing twirls in the water and swimming laps around its mother. At one point the calf left its mother and swam towards us.  It got so close that we all had to move back for fear we would get smacked by its enormous tail.  “Amazing” is such a bland word to describe the feeling of being so close to such a large animal, but that’s the word I’m giving – because that is what it was.  I could see all the lines and textures that moved liked wind-blown sand along the length of the whale’s body.

 

We swam for the whales for about an hour and then got back in to the boat to head home.  Paul told us that they adhere to a policy of only swimming with a particular whale for a certain time period so to not stress it out.  If you are ever in Tonga, please go do this while you still can.  I promise you that when you and a whale stare back at each other, that you will not forget it.

 

 

 

 

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We made it to New Zealand! Top 5 quotes from the crossing…

Well, we made it here! The Bay of Islands are beautiful. Here are the trips top 5 quotes, in no particular order.

1. “Lauren, wake up…the headsail is falling off the boat.” – Lauren girl
2. “&($(@&$&&&($$#@&*$!!dammit!” – Lauren boy
3. “Are you awake?” “Yeah” “Ok, I dreamt I woke you up three times already and I needed to make sure this is reality”
4. “Looks like the granny bars are leaking – there’s water coming down that might drip on your face.” – Lauren boy
5. “The rougher this trip is, the more awesome it will be when we get to New Zealand.” – Krister quoting Lauren girl back to Lauren girl. Thanks for the reminder, Krister!

We are so happy to be here and can’t wait to explore the islands

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Grand Theft Scooter: Raratonga Edition

The day before we left wonderful Raratonga, I decided I wanted to hitchhike to the other side of the island to see about getting some pearls drilled. Hitchhiking in Raratonga was extremely easy – the people there are quintessential friendly Polynesians and the island is super small so it didn’t take long to get around anyways. A friendly Kiwi man gave me a ride from the harbor to Tokelau Jim’s.

When I was done I crossed the street, stuck my thumb out and no sooner than 4 seconds did a guy on a scooter pick me up. I climbed on and he took off – flying down the winding road. He wasn’t going all the way to Avatiu harbor so he took me to where he worked and told me to wait – that he would get his friend to give me a ride the rest of the way. I went into the adjacent store to grab some fresh eggs and when I came out I stood by some parked scooters to wait for his friend. A big Polynesian kid about 20 years old came out and introduced himself. We hopped on another scooter and rode towards the harbor while talking about travel, island life and other things.
We pulled into the harbor and he stopped the scooter and turned around.
“So is this your scooter?” he asked.
Huh?
“Um, no. It’s not yours?”
“Nope.” He paused. “Hmm…must belong to someone at the store. Well it was nice to meet you!”
Off he went, my partner in crime. Together we heisted some stranger’s scooter. Oops. But as I found in island life, people are laid-back and friendly and I bet everything worked out just fine.

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An Atoll Love Affair

Have I told you yet that I fell in love recently? She speaks French, she always says hello to me when we pass each other by and her soul is the color of turquoise. Oh, and her name is Makemo and she is an atoll in the South Pacific.

We’ve been here for a week, and I have yet to tire of glassy blue-green lagoon that surrounds us. The snorkeling is the best I have seen yet. Even the 6’ deep water directly under our keel is a melting pot of colorful fish. The other day we threw some rice overboard and 40+ fish came from everywhere to get in on the action. We, along with our friends from Ceidlyh, Brittania and Whatcha Gonna Do went for a drift snorkel along the large coral reef through the entrance to the lagoon. The outgoing current carried us as we meandered along the walls of coral and we saw sea cucumbers, fish and even sharks. The largest shark we swam with was around 5-6 feet – definitely larger than me!

In the mornings we walk into the small town and visit the bakery to get fresh baguettes. They are perfectly done with just the right amount of crustiness on the outside to encase the yummy-fluffy goodness on the inside. I eat mine plain with butter and Lauren B eats his with pate.

We are tied up to the wharf by the village now and apparently provide entertainment to the local children. One day Krister invited one of the kids aboard Brittania and the next thing we knew, there were 20 children climbing aboard, jumping overboard and having the time of their lives. The kids are very curious about our lives and there have been days where they come and sit right by the boats and just watch us do mundane things like laundry. They learn a little bit of English in school but it’s mostly “Hello, How Are you, I’m Fine, Thank You”. Sometimes they will come to the boat and say just that. Tomorrow we all leave for another atoll, and I have a feeling that another infatuation is just around the corner.

Categories: French Polynesia | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

Who goes hiking in a skirt? Apparently, I do.

This is the story about how we ended up hiking a mountain in our Sunday best church clothes.

Today we’re meeting up with 4 other boats to go hear the Marquesan Church music at 10am. Supposedly all Marquesans can sing like birds and their choir music is some of the most uniquely beautiful in all the islands. I make a pot of coffee (sweet, life-giving nectar of the gods, how I’ve missed you!) and put on my Sunday best, which consists of a white blouse, skirt, and bonafide shoes. This will be the first time I’ve worn real shoes – not flip-flops – in six months. We were told that the women all wear white to church, so if we want to fit in, wear white.

We meet up with our friends (from Dilligaf, Britannia, Whatcha Gonna Do, and Ceilydh) at the dinghy dock and as a group with purpose, we 10 adults and 3 children set off to find the church. As we walk, we start to see people dressed in white heading the opposite direction of the church.

“Um, I think we missed church service”, says Diane. Doh! Judging from the funny looks we are getting from the locals, I think she might be right. Given we are a motley crew of agnostics, atheists, Christians and Jews, maybe we should have seen it coming. But we refuse to be all dressed up with no place to go, so onward we march until we reach the church. Indeed, we have missed it. The locals are outside sitting and chatting as a cool breeze blows upon the area. We walk into the small courtyard and become surrounded by the masterfully carved Marquesan Christian wooden doors and statues. The building is made of stones with a technique of masonry I have never seen before. The stones are various shapes with hues of grays and tans. I run my hand along one of the larger stones and it feels smooth like a rock weathered by centuries of river wash.

We leave the church and decide to make it a day of exploration. Barb, from Whatcha Gonna Do, tells us that there are ruins up the mountain and we all agree that we want to go see it – in dresses and Sunday clothing no less. We leave the main road and start hiking up a side road. I hear a clip-clop-clip-clop behind us and turn around to see a native in full tribal tattoo riding a horse up the road. Now, I know you would like to see what he looks like, but I can’t bring myself to take a picture of him. I feel like I can’t be in the moment of acknowledging each other with respect if I have a camera in front of my nose. He passes us and smiles. We hike on.

Let me stop here and paint a small picture for you. Here we are, walking up a road that is nothing less than full vegetation – mango trees, breadfruit trees and farm animals galore. We are walking past homes of local families and farm animals that are as plentiful as pigeons are back home. We see many horses, cattle, pigs and chickens. Tons of chickens. So many that they are essentially wild; in fact the chickens have got to be the largest population of bird on the island! So, we are walking through a jungle-farmland road and the locals are home doing what they do on Sunday, the day of rest (remember they are Christian) and they look out their window and see 13 foreigners in dresses/dress shirts hiking up the dirt road!

“Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrmmmm”. I hear a vehicle hum getting louder. “Truck coming, kids. Out of the road.” Barb says. The three children leisurely stroll to the side – no hurry, right? An extended cab, short-bed truck drives up (by the way, 99% of vehicles on this island are this make and model) and stops.

A Marquesan man pokes his head out of the window and gives us a smile laced with bewilderment. “Where do you go like that?” he asks in English. Ha! No doubt we look funny.

“Archaeological dig”, we say. Simple and to the point. And yes, we Americans and Canadians do all of our mountain hiking in church clothes. Nothing strange going on here.

“Ahhh” He nods and tells us that it is 100 meters further up the road on the right. We thank him and keep hiking. We reach 100 meters and see nothing but what looks like the local dump on the right. Hmm, it has to be close. At this point we are ¾ the way up the mountain and decide to just keep going. I feel sharp pain on the insides of my feet. I lift the strap of my shoes and reveal a ripe blister on each foot. My wonderful MacGyver-esque boyfriend tears up one of our boat cards so that I can put them against the strap to keep it from rubbing against the raw skin. Apparently my feet have “spread out” from not wearing shoes, and these shoes are suddenly too small for me. I suck it up though and keep marching, readjusting the cards every 100 or so steps.

We reach the top of the small mountain and are arrested by the vibrant view of the entire bay. Totally worth hiking, even if we missed the ruins. The light breeze picks up and I inhale the smell of soil and the sea air. The clouds fly low here and the mountain peaks are all dusted in a cloudy haze. I see three small white dove-like birds flying up and down along the curves of the landscape – they look so small against the backdrop.

We turn back the way we came and head back down the road. Barb takes out her guidebook and realizes that the ruins aren’t right on road, but rather on a side road that we missed. I see a man on a horse coming our way. Maybe we can ask him?

He stops and says something in Marquesan. After 13 blank stares, he repeats his inquiry in French and I think he asks us where we are going. Barb knows some French and is able to communicate with him that we are looking for the ruins.
“Oui”, he says and points us towards the side road by the “dump”. He says something else in a mix of Marquesan and French that I can’t understand. They I realize he wants us to follow him. He is going to lead us there! He leads us up the winding dirt road another ½ mile.

“Maybe he’s taking us to lunch”, someone says.

“Maybe we are the lunch”, says Michael. “This was the last island to give up cannibalism.”

We are all sweaty, huffing and puffing trying to keep up with this man on his horse. The sun is beating down on my neck and I’m sure I haven’t sweated this much since I don’t know when. And also, where is that breeze we had? It sure did not follow us into this dirt road.

This area that we are in is the most diversely lush tropical terrain I have ever been in. There’s bamboo, banana trees, more breadfruit trees and a canopy of towering jungle trees whose names I have yet to learn. We continue up the winding path and I can hear the whooshing of a river nearby. We come to a large clearing and it is evident that we have reached our destination – ruins at last! The Marquesan gets off his horse and motions for us to give him a pen and paper and writes his name for us, which is Roo. He says something else in Marquesan and holds up eight fingers. I think he is trying to tell us the story of the ruins. Is he saying 8 centuries ago? He then puffs up his chest, makes a gorilla stance, and shouts “Ughh, Oooh, Ooh”. I think he is imitating a chief. Or a gorilla. I’m going with chief. Barb confirms via Guidebook that this place was an old chief’s home and a place where the natives would congregate.

We thank Roo as he says goodbye and we walk into clearing, which is sheltered by massive banyan trees. There are stone platforms and tikis scattered amongst the clearing and we all take off in different directions to explore the area. I walk into an area and come across 5+ banana trees. Jackpot! I look to see if there are any ripe ones, but alas there are not. Ugh. Who am I kidding though? I’m 5’3” and my short self would need to be Shaquille O’Neal to be able to reach them anyway. I love bananas but I am denied bananas. You see, my incredibly logical, reasonable boyfriend abandons all this when it comes to one silly superstition: No bananas on the boat. “They’re bad luck”, he likes to say. Of course I think it is silly and I always reply with “Well it’s supposed to be bad luck to have a woman on board, and you don’t seem to have any problem with that!” To which he always retorts, “Yes but that is a risk I am willing to take!” And it is at this point that I can do nothing but huff.

“Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz” I hear the all too familiar buzz of my arch nemesis – the mosquito. Don’t tread on me, you annoying bitey disease-ridden air-pigeon! I feel a bite on my foot and look down to see four mosquitoes chomping away at my skin. Smack. I missed them all – they will live to suck another day, no doubt at my ankles in about 5 minutes.
We all decide to head back as we are getting eaten alive out here. We find a star fruit tree and pick some fresh fruit to remedy the need for food we are all feeling. We pick the ripe fruits from the tree and eat them right there. I’ve had star fruit before, but nothing compares to the sweet, tangy goodness of this juicy star fruit. We keep walking and run into Roo. He is picking pamplemousse (a type of grapefruit that tastes like the blessed marriage of a grapefruit and a lime – yum) from a tree and cutting it up.

“Bonjour!” we say, happy to greet our new friend. As we get closer, he starts handing us pieces of fruit to eat. This guy is awesome! For the next ten minutes, we all stand around Roo as he feeds us this fresh citrus fruit. When we are all done, he reaches into his burlap saddle bag and pulls out a huge stalk of green bananas. There must be 30 bananas on this stalk and he is giving them to us. We part ways and promptly cut up the huge stalk so that no one person has to carry all 40 pounds of it.

Maia holds some bananas up to Lauren B and me. “Bananas?” she asks. I look at Lauren with my best longing sad puppy-dog eyes and he takes the stalk from her. He looks at me and says, “You carry them!” Fair enough. I’m so excited – we’re taking bananas on the boat!

After 6 hours of walking and hiking, we end our adventure back near the dinghy dock. I look down at my clothes to assess the damage. Not bad, only one star fruit juice stain on my white shirt. A small price to pay, wouldn’t you agree?

Categories: French Polynesia, Marquesas Islands | Tags: , , , , | 9 Comments

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