Sunday, May 27, 2007


Talk about being on another planet – I don’t speak any French and Marquesan is completely alien to me. Consequently – the communication gap is large. No matter, these people’s smiles are as broad as their shoulders, and they are skilled at pantomime. When going to shore, I find that all the kids ask for bonbons and all the adults ask for whiskey. I think they are conditioned to relate white people with handouts. The French take pretty good care of them.

With children, you’re foolish to pay them before they deliver. Once they have the bonbons they will never “take out the trash”, or “mow the yard”, or in this case; bring the bananas, bread or pamplemousse. When I was a kid, I did the same thing. I tracked 40 year old Jean for 2 days. I needed him to live up to his end of the bargain. He finally did, when the rum was all gone and the hangover had worn off. He even gave me extra as a consolation. You get 1 bunch of bananas per tree so the whole thing gets cut down. It was interesting to watch him wield that machete with expert skill in a remote jungle setting. I’m so glad these people don’t practice human sacrifice or cannibalism any longer.

The really good news is: They haven’t stolen my outboard yet!

They always want to trade. Rum costs $30 a bottle here and it has to be shipped in on the weekly boat. I paid $3 in Panama. I’m so happy I stocked up. That’s not the only thing they will trade for. If they take a fancy to something, they’ll swap. One sailor literally exchanged a paper clip for 3 bags of fruit, another, a whistle. I almost swapped a nearly useless garlic press for a pearl. Then she tried the garlic press.

These islands are so tall they seem to reach up and snag the clouds and create their own weather systems. It rains frequently. Consequently, we spend a lot of time opening and closing all the hatches a few times a day. These towering volcanic columns are so impressive. I implore you to find pictures of the Marquesan islands since it will be a long time before I find an internet connection and can send pics. I can’t seem to transmit on the HF radio from behind their looming slabs so even this form of communication is rare.

Suzi has perfected square pizza and in anticipation of it becoming a hit with all the other cruisers we’ve given it the code name “squeaky pete”. Her dishes are popular and I hate sharing food. I’m just too hungry all the time! Finally I have a use for that pizza cutter I brought.

Today we need to: fix the headsail, patch the dink, kayak the point, and after night fall, snorkel for lobster.

What are you up to?

- Capt Bobby –

P.S./ Forget the snorkeling. I just saw an 8 foot hammerhead shark swimming alongside while I was kayaking.

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