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Ua Pou Letter

Hi Everyone,

It's Sunday morning after the "Music Festival".  Sue is making a nice Sunday morning breakfast pastry and blended fruit drinks.  The sun is shining, Ua Pou (Wa Poo) is lush, the breeze is soft, and the towering mountains and volcanic plug pillars behind us are magnificent.

The intrepid foursome amidst the spires of Ua Pou, Marquesas
The intrepid foursome amidst the
spires of Ua Pou, Marquesas

Yesterday the cruise/freight ship was in so we followed the tourists around and watched the shows put on for them.  I actually preferred the men, who did short but very energetic "haka" war dances to the pounding beat of big (4' high) drums with tiki carved legs.  Good fun and nobody seemed to mind much that we weren't actually from the ship.  Apparently, new freight or passenger only ships aren't financially viable, so they're trying a combo deal, but only 66 of the 220 spaces were occupied for the 2-week round trip from Tahiti.  Thursday a smaller and older freighter pulled in (why did they come so close together?) and the first thing off the ship was a small 1/4 container "office", from which locals could buy gas, diesel, frozen chickens, canned whatsits, beer, etc.  It was like a wholesale store, except that the prices were high enough that we passed.  Even the diesel, at $200+/55 gal drum was more than I wanted to pay.  We'll try to hold out until US Samoa, where it's reputed to be closer to $1/gal.  We still have about 40gal of the 100 we left the Galapagos with, and the winds should be pretty constant now.

Life here is very slow and casual.  They make croissants only 1/wk, and don't care that they sell out instantly.  Since everyone has their own garden and fruit trees, nobody has a market to sell fruits and veggies.  It would be hard for us cruisers except that we can just go to any house and ask if we can buy stuff.  Soon, we're piled high, and they won't take any money.  We try to return the favors when we can.

Ocelot at anchor under the spires of Ua Pou
Ocelot at anchor under the spires of Ua Pou

The music festival started about 7pm and was a bit amateurish, but good fun.  The band(s) were mostly electric guitars, with 1 keyboard and a couple of guys with small 8-stringed instruments about the size of a ukulele, but without the hollow sound-box.  Strangely, they had no percussion section at all, so they used karaoke disks to fill in drums and bass (and who knows what else).  The singing was nice but the women dancing were the best.  I think it was the same group (about 12?) several times, but they came out in different costumes.  Like all dancing, it was fun to watch the ones that were really into it.  The whole thing was held in a big building on the waterfront that seems to be reserved for just such events.  Outside, people were selling melons, small kabob's with special sauces, waffles(?!) with chocolate or Nutella sauce, small meat and rice meals, and nameless bags and pots of other stuff that we didn't try.  Later, they put on more modern dance music and one of the girls from a boat next to us (I think she's 8) pulled me out on the dance floor, which allowed Amanda to join us without being too embarrassed about dancing with dad.  But when they started playing African music all the seats cleared out and everyone was dancing.  Good sweaty fun.

We'll probably stay here today (Sunday) and then tootle the 27 miles across to Nuku Hiva Monday.  Apparently, there's more festival there, as well as many boats we know.  I kind of like our small cozy anchorage with only 5 boats, but 1 bozo like the Frenchman who pulled in yesterday makes things difficult, as there's not a lot of room behind the breakwater.  We're so close that everyone uses a stern anchor to keep us lined up.

All our love -- Jon et mob

s/v Ocelot in Ua Pou, Marquesas

Click here to go to the Ua Pou Destinations page.

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